I am happy to announce that Belle is now the proud mom of 2 newly adopted babies. Raccoons are such good mothers, and Belle has proved to be the epitome of that!
I have her in due to her injuries. I brought Baby Bella out to the pen to see how she would react. All Belle had to do was hear a baby cry and she immediately tried getting to her. Having never attempted (or even had the opportunity) to try adopting out orphans to another raccoon mom, I was very hesitant to try for fear of her harming the strange baby. So after much contemplation and a lot of discussion and advice from some fellow rehabbers (thank you so much Dee & Matzo for your guidance!!!!!!!), and after seeing Belle's positive reaction to the sound of Bella crying, I decide to try it.
I anxiously brought Bella out in a pile of fleece blankets. I was going to leave her on the floor and wait and see how Belle reacted. Best case scenario she would either take the baby or just ignore her. Well I no sooner put that precious package on the floor of the pen and Belle was out of the den box, right to Bella. She gently picked her up, carried her to the den box and began showering her with motherly love! I cannot begin to describe what a beautiful sight it was, and it was topped only by her doing the exact same thing with a second single orphan my friend Laurie was fostering. She did so well with Bella that I went and picked up baby Macy who is about the same age as Bella (both are between 2-3.5 weeks old) and we went through the same routine. Our new family is happily encamped in their new home....safe from predators and worry.
So although I will miss spending time with my little Bella, I am so happy that Belle's grief could be replaced with new babies to love and care for. I won't be there to see Bella's eyes open, or record her growth each day with weights and get cute pictures as she grows....but she's with the BEST mother she could possibly have and I'll still be able to keep track of her. It just won't be as up close and personal as before.
So now I'll hope all goes well with our new family. They will be staying here until the time comes when the babies are old enough for mom to start looking for a new den. At that time the release door will be opened to allow Belle to come and go and move her family as she see's fit.