This week consisted of much of the same- hand feeding, preparing food and formula, cleaning cages, and preparing enclosures. We got in a large amount of opossums and skunks over the weekend. We began doing enrichment for the older red fox kits, which consisted of hanging pieces of meat in a paper bag, encouraging them to jump for their food, as well as providing entertainment and a mental challenge. While it did not go as we initially expected, in the end the foxes learned that the bag contained meat. Hopefully next time we get to see them jump for their treat!
On Wednesday, we cleaned out another groundhog cage for a youngster in the nursery that is scheduled to be brought out this week. Because opossums were housed in the enclosure this past winter, the top few inches of the soil had to be removed, as well as all the bedding and one of the nest boxes.
Two groups of squirrels began their release process with a “soft release”- small holes in the fencing that were previously covered with a piece of wood were uncovered, allowing them to leave the enclosures at will. This way the squirrels will venture out and explore their new surroundings, learn to forage and avoid predators, and interact with new squirrels and other animals while still being able to retreat to the safety of their enclosure. They are also still provided with food and water in the enclosures.
On Thursday night, two young rabbits that were attacked by a cat were brought in. One only had one cut on its back end (one could assume it was from the cat’s claw). Granulation cream, a substance normally used for burn victims, was applied, and the rabbit was put in its cage. The second one on the other hand, was severely injured. Shockingly, its intestines were partially protruding from its side. The intestines were placed back into the rabbit using sterile applicators, and the area was disinfected, treated with the same cream, and bandaged. Even though it was unlikely to survive, part of the job of a rehabilitator is to give every animal that comes through the doors a fighting chance.