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.

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