Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Lonesome Louise from St. Louis

One day early this spring a nice man called about a baby Eastern Grey Squirrel he had found in a hotel parking lot. Although he had inquired at the hotel for a local rehab center, couldn’t find one. So he had been caring for the squirrel for several days before he contacted the Center. When I asked where he was, he told me he was in Racine County. Since it had been so long, I knew re-nesting this baby with its mother wouldn’t be an option and since there isn’t a rehab center in Racine County, I suggested he bring the baby here. Once he got here, I found out that the baby was originally from St. Louis, Missouri!

The “little girl” was not so little. Just as spring occurs earlier the farther south you go, so do breeding seasons and the arrival of babies occurs earlier. Louise, as I called her, was a good two weeks older than any of the babies we had. Her eyes were open and she had a fuzzy tail; she was already old enough to want to climb and play. All of my other babies were eyes-closed or just opened and wanted to do nothing but sleep, eat, and repeat. Louise would just have romped all over them. So, she was alone. Baby mammals including squirrels aren’t meant to be alone and so she begged for company and got some extra people attention. As expected, we never did get any other babies her age. But, as my other babies grew up, I held Louise back, and she did eventually get two buddies to play, sleep and socialize with as siblings. Although she was very clingy as a youngster, once she and her friends were in outdoor, pre-release caging she could care less about me. Louise was lonesome no more.

The DNR really doesn’t like wild animals being transported across state lines. This is to prevent the spread of disease and to maintain healthy gene pools. Advance permission and in some cases vet exams and certificates would be required. But as the squirrel was already here, we took it in. We regularly get calls from our members on vacations who find animals needing help. We also get phone calls from all over the country because of our website. I’ve had many a conversation to determine an animal should be brought to a rehabber only to ask where the person was for directions and say “where is that?” We always try to refer people to the nearest rehabber in their state. If you are looking for a rehabber in WI, you can go to the DNR’s website for a list of rehabilitators:
Rather than bringing an animal from up north back with you to us, please consult this list or call us and we can find someone closer to your location. We appreciate the loyalty of your business, but animals are better off if cared for locally and released locally where they originated. Other states’ websites often list state rehabbers as well, so check there if you are outside of Wisconsin. We can also look rehabbers up in our National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association directory ( This is a voluntary organization so not all rehabbers are listed. We should be able to find someone within the state however, and rehabbers know other rehabbers in their state so even if they don’t work with that species or aren’t in that town, they probably know someone who is. Rehabbers within a state network constantly on animal issues, it’s the only way to ensure the best care for our wild neighbors!

So, while this story will likely have a happy ending, keep Louise in St. Louis next time!

Guest Blogger L.R.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thank You for Helping Wildlife

Do you know how to rescue a Bald Eagle with your finger or and orphaned Gray Squirrel with your wireless mouse? We say it a lot around here at the Wildlife In Need Center and it may sound cliché, but our members and supporters really are saving lives with each donation. Whether it’s an hour of their time, a bottle of green cleaner or a dollar, they all add up to what we need to get the job done.

In-kind donations are a way that we get a tremendous amount of the materials and supplies we need.
In a shameless attempt to win you over with cuteness please review the following photographs:

The following items are things we urgently need due to the large number of patients being admitted daily:

  • Paper Towels
  • Newspapers
  • EVO-Premium Cat Food – (found at Friends of Nature)
  • Plastic Storage Tubs – 10, 18 or 35 gallon sizes
  • Dry erase EXPO markers – black (or any color)
  • Simple Green - (or other similar cleaners like Green Works for example)
  • And of course - Greens - Any type

Whether it’s one donation or 100 we can accept them in our office between 9AM and 5PM seven days a week. Thank you for caring.

You can donate online to support our efforts to help our wild neighbors in need too.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Who's That Baby?

Some not so common patients have already found a home at the Wildlife In Need Center for this summer; those patients are two baby American Mink. After almost being run over by a lawnmower the first Mink was brought to us by people who were not quite sure what kind of species they had even discovered in their lawn. The first one was a rare enough surprise but when more arrived we were speechless.

They came in with their eyes closed and just opened their eyes late last week! Mink do not open their eyes until closer to six or seven weeks old; therefore staff has had their hands full with these two, feeding them five to six times every day. Now that their eyes have opened they must be separated since in the wild Mink do not get along with other Mink. Mink will fight whenever they encounter other Mink except during breeding. Also, now that their eyes are opened we have cut back their feedings and they have started on solid foods…how exciting!

It’s been an exciting adventure and learning experience and we will continue to help them gain all the knowledge they will need to survive in the wild on their own. This will include learning to swim. Mink are excellent swimmers, with partly webbed feet, and can dive to more than 16 feet! At the center we will offer swim tubs to help the Mink get very comfortable in the water. With a lot of care, attention and proper nutrition we hope the Mink will be swimming and diving for food in no time!
-Guest Blogger M.F.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Mysterious Case of the Vanishing Raccoon

For those of you who crave a good mystery...

The caller I spoke with over the phone reported that she had seen the neighborhood children in her yard with an animal that turned out to be a baby Raccoon. When she questioned the girl who had it, the girl said it was from her Grandmother’s house. A man came to get the girl and told her to leave the Raccoon, she couldn’t have it. The child and man walked away while the woman tried to ask them about the Raccoon. We always try to re-nest Raccoons, but obviously she had no idea where it came from so she was kind enough to bring it to us from Muskego.

Later that day a man and woman came in with a baby Raccoon. The woman worked at a local veterinarian’s office and one of the vets had brought 2 baby Raccoons in and asked his staff if someone wanted them. They had cared for them for a few days, but now they were going on vacation and didn’t want them anymore. But there was only one baby now. The man was very indignant that someone had stolen one of the babies. I have never had a report of a stolen Raccoon before. He said he kept them on his porch in a kennel cab and one disappeared between feedings. Raccoons are great escape artists and we have had them release themselves from kennel cabs. But a toothless baby was pretty young for such a life of crime and besides, it wouldn’t escape and then lock its sibling in. The man demanded to know if anyone had turned in a baby Raccoon. We admit many baby Raccoons this time of year but no one had “turned one in as missing”.

But- wait.

I checked my admission record for the Raccoon left by the unknown child. Same town. Same street . Hmmm, I think we have a match. When I related parts of the conversation the woman had with the child, the man knew which child she meant from the neighborhood that lived part-time with her Grandmother nearby. The child had watched him feeding the babies earlier and had apparently come back and taken one later. So the siblings were reunited and the mystery solved.

I did explain to the man and woman that it is illegal to keep wild animals (not to mention ill advised unless you enjoy having your home torn up by a wild animal) unless they have the proper licenses from the DNR. They thought because a vet had given the Raccoons to them that it was ok. Even veterinarians must have wildlife rehabilitation or other wildlife licenses to possess wildlife. We will be contacting this veterinarian’s office to educate them on the subject and also to let them know that we are here if they or their clients have wildlife issues.

-Guest Blogger L.R

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend Marks the Beginning of Summer

Memorial Day Weekend marks the beginning of summer. People are picnicking in parks, grilling out with friends and family in their backyard, boating on the local lakes. What goes on at Wildlife In Need on Memorial Day weekend? I had so many phone calls Saturday that when I was talking to one person, the machine took 2-3 more calls.

Saturday we admitted:
1 infant Raccoon
2 infant Mink
4 infant Eastern Cottontail
1 infant bird
1 infant bird
1 Goldfinch
1 infant Raccoon
2 infant Mallard
2 infant Mallard
1 infant Raccoon
1 infant Raccoon
1 juvenile starling
1 infant bird
1 infant bird
1 infant Common Grackle

Sunday we admitted:
1 infant Raccoon
1 infant bird
4 infant Raccoon
1 adult Baltimore oriole
2 infant Woodchuck
1 infant Eastern Cottontail
1 infant American Robin
1 adult Eastern Chipmunk
2 infant Woodchuck
1 juvenile Mourning Dove
1 juvenile European Starling
1 infant bird
12 infant Virginia Opossum
2 infant Virginia Opossum
1 infant Raccoon
1 adult Eastern Cottontail
1 infant Blue Jay

Monday we admitted:
1 adult Common Grackle
1 infant bird
1 infant Blue Jay
1 infant Woodchuck
2 infant Woodchuck
2 infant Woodchuck
4 infant Mallard

* Infant birds are songbird babies I can’t identify in the office. Don’t be alarmed, Animal Care staff can identify these UFOs (unidentified flying objects) but I haven’t gotten those updates yet.

And a special thank you to Officer Pavlovich from the Waukesha County Sheriff’s Department for rescuing the 4 Mallard ducklings from the median of I-94 near Grandview Boulevard in Waukesha. He even transported them in the back of his squad car to the Center. They were so cute sitting on his back seat I wish I had brought my camera! Law enforcement officials usually deal with human emergencies and the ducklings were a traffic hazard. But we often get calls from law enforcement agencies on wildlife issues as they too care about wildlife. It’s June, here’s to a Wild Summer!

Guest Blogger L.R.