North East Wildlife Animal Rehabilitation Coalition is a 501(c)3, non-profit organization. We are a group of licensed wildlife rehabilitators, and these are the tales of the injured and orphaned animals we care for until they are able to be released back into the wild.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

My foxy friend.

Ever have one of those moments where there is a delay in your brain processing what your seeing?
The other afternoon I let the dogs out and when I peeked out to see what what they were up to (because it's usually no good!) I FREAKED OUT seeing this streak of orange walking towards the yard. My brain registered it as orange tiger cat! (the cats of which are not allowed outside to become coyote food!) Luckily the synapses connected properly before I went dashing outside to grab him and the fact that it was one of my resident foxes registered. Whew...heart attack over!
He or she (not sure which of my pair it was) was just inside the wood line heading toward the back yard. Then it noticed my 3 goofballs running around out there. Surprisingly it didn't react to them like it does when it sees me, by darting off into the woods! He stopped and watched, contemplated the threat level, then changed course slightly to maneuver around them. Quite relaxed, he trotted along maybe 30 feet away from them, occasionally stopping to confirm there was still no threat. Marly and Bernard either never saw him or just didn't care. Boo boo saw him and was interested enough to trot over towards the woods and watch, but that was the extent of it. (There is a path back in there where people walk their dogs so they are pretty used to watching other animals go by, and very good about watching with interest but staying put where they belong!)
The fox was so relaxed, in fact, that I had time to go grab my camera and watch as he came up along the driveway.... ....and rustled up some grub. Don't know what he got, but he sure enjoyed it!
He continued to investigate the area (one he's very familiar with, I see their prints all over my driveway and yard all the time!) and I watched until he finally wandered out of sight.
I ran into one of the little stinkers the other night too. Worked a late shift and driving down the driveway around 2:30 am I encounter a little moving pile of snow! Then the pile turned to face me and I realized it wasn't snow after all. The little fella turned and slowly walked away from me, right down the driveway where I needed to go. So I'm rolling along behind him, EVER SO SLOWLY, thinking it's gonna be a while before I get to the end at this pace! (I have a very long driveway!) One more glance back by stinky gets me an annoyed look, as if to say "Why are you still following me!?" He decides screw this! and climbs the snowbank along the side of the driveway and slowly waddles into the woods.
Temperatures switching back and forth between warm and cold have melted a lot of snow and made the remainder a lot easier to walk on top of least for most of the animals out there. Many, like the skunks and coonies, are taking advantage of it while they can to forage.
The fox and coyote I can say where not dissuaded by this winter's weather at all out here! I have regularly seen the fox pair out there and almost as regularly heard the coyote yipping away....usually right outside my window and usually at some ungodly hour like 3am!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Canadian raccoon documentary.

Here is a great documentary (positive-finally) on raccoons! Just aired in Canada last night and it's not on over here in the US yet but you can watch it here online. It's called Raccoon Nation.
Thanks to one of my Canadian rehabber friends, Carol, for the heads up!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Guess who?!

What a difference a couple weeks make! (and a never ending supply of nice, fattening, black oil sunflower seeds!) If not for the fur loss on her back, I probably would never have recognized this almost portly looking squirrel as our once emaciated little girl! I took this picture a couple days ago (exactly 15 days after the originals) and watched over the last couple mornings to be sure...and I'm thrilled to report on her progress! She could stand to gain a little more, as they say the camera does add a little weight, but whew, was I glad to see this! Once her hair fills back in I won't even be able to tell her apart anymore. Awesome!
The stubby tailed boy is also doing well and still a regular visitor. Doesn't phase him a bit!
It was grand central station out there this morning. At least 12 of them bouncing around like maniacs! I love sipping my first coffee of the day at the table watching their antics right outside my kitchen window.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The break-in attempt.

Thus far, Vin has been unsuccessful at his break-in attempt, though not due to a lack of effort obviously!! It doesn't help that the rest of the gang are on the other side teasing him either. Pay back's a bitch pal....hehehe. When I go in there (after witnessing Vin digging at the wood and Scrappy watching mind you!)they both run and hide in the den box like "I saw nothing!"
Scrappy pleading the fifth. After all, he's not the one doing the damage but he's not about to rat Vin out....he want's back in too!
And the actual guilty party looking like he just can't imagine why someone would do that! How awful!
Look at that face! He LOOKS guilty! He's looking as if to say "Do you think she noticed it? Do you think she knows it was me?"

Then they just go about acting all normal and innocent like, "Didn't see a thing! We were just hanging out and sleeping in here.....why, what happened?"
Don't let anyone ever tell you animals do not have feelings, because these 2 are definitely feeling guilty! They know they are doing something they shouldn't be and their reaction when caught in the act is textbook for "Oh crap, we're bagged, quick hide!" They don't run and hide when I go in there and they weren't working on the window!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How things have changed!

As I prepare to head out to the pen and see if Vin is still in fact separated from the rest of the gang (he couldn't tear the plexi glass apart so he was attempting to tear the framing of the window itself apart last night) I figured I would give you an example of why the separation.
Note the posture of this coonie. That is not "I'm happy to see you!" This is bud and longtime friend of Vin....Pals to the end! So what has him so defensive you might ask? Just what is at the other end of that tunnel?
Yup! Mr. Innnocent himself. With that little "What? It wasn't me!" smirk on his face!

Tash had taken to denning up in the large outdoor den box with Kinky and I'm sure a couple of the others. He happily comes out to say hi to me!
When Vin comes by.....he scolds him off! An easily defensible position to prevent further bites to his backside! (where Vin likes to sneak up on them!) That is pretty much the effect he has on most of them now. Luckily the girls are very confident and don't take any crap, (and for the most part he is a gentle giant), because he is pretty huge and powerful compared to them and could hurt them if he really wanted to. Like I said, he's just being a raccoon....he's not mean, just persistently annoying!

So off I go to see what I have to deal with now!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Crazy weather & crazy coons!

After blizzard upon blizzard, suddenly we have a stretch of a couple weeks with no precipitation! Yaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Then the freezing temps give way to a few warm days. I mean, it was down right balmy! In the 60's even! It was beautiful.
I should have known there would be a price to pay.
Enter Friday night.....a MAJOR thunderstorm blew through here with high, gusty winds and torrential rain. By the next morning it looked like the pine trees had puked all over my yard, it was freezing again, and the gusty winds were sticking around.
Saturday was not a comfortable day! Luckily none of the pens were damaged. All the falling branches, trees and debris fell away from them, but the winds were still pretty bad.
First up LB and the boys. They were hesitant to come out to begin with because of the cold, (in fact LB didn't even bother!) but Mom was here.....and she's bringing food! So a big stretch, and lets check it out! Then ......screw this! The freezing wind sent Gibby and Ringo right back into the warm den box.
Andy bravely descended to eat some dinner, but it didn't last long! Notice how he's holding his back legs? He was trying to keep them warm by pulling them up against his body, and when that didn't work too well, off he went into the warm cozy den box. Enough was enough!
On to the rest of the gang. At first it was business as usual....everyone saw Mom, which equals food, so out they charged. Then a big gust of wind blew something down and there was a loud crash! A tremendous stampede ensued & they all ran back inside to the indoor den box. Well almost everyone! One of the babies thought it best to hide here! (I laughed so hard I don't even remember which one it was!)
Frozen still, not twitching a muscle! Remember, if they can't see you, then you can't see them.....same goes for whatever scares them!

When the rest of the gang heard me laughing my ass off, they figured it was safe to come out again, and unlike the boys, the freezing wind was not going to keep them from food! So veggies and omnivore diet was enjoyed by well as some new fun! Some of the pine tree branches collected off the ground!
Pip, May and Amy
Kinky, Moose and Scrappy
Merry and one of the babies.
The babies have grown quite a bit! This is actually Pip (left) and Amy. Can you believe it! Amy already looks bigger than our little Pip! Moose is bigger still and little May is about the same size. Pip is so tiny, and is probably going to remain a pretty small raccoon. After seeing what this winter was like, I'm glad she spent the winter here.....probably would not have fared well out there. At least she'll have this coming season to mature and hopefully pack on enough size to get her through her future winters in the wild if they should end up being this bad again.

I'm not coming down there....Tash wants his dinner served up on the observation deck!

May loves her tummy tickles!

Amy knows where the treats are kept.....right in this pocket! It's a big pocket and I usually end up having to drag them out of there by their tail after they dive head first into it! It's pretty amusing to be walking around with nothing but a big furry butt and tail hanging out of your pocket! :)
And here we have Mr. Innocent himself....NOT! Vin is driving everyone crazy! Through no fault of his own of course....he's just being a raccoon. He's an older baby, more mature and feeling his oats so to speak.....he's acting like he's supposed to be, but that doesn't mean the gang and I have to like it!

After the first attempt at separating him (with Scrappy to keep him company) failed when he ripped apart the removable window, Dad came by and measured for a new one....hopefully a stronger one.

In the meantime, when I saw Vin and Scrappy hanging out in the section I wanted to separate them into, I couldn't let an easy opportunity pass. There is a built in plexi glass window that can be opened and closed to seal off that section as well. I had not wanted to use that because I still wanted them to be able to interact with the crew through a wire window, but the annoyance level among the girls has reached a peak. To avoid future injuries and future babies (in case anyone ends up going into heat!) I played my trump card.....and I'm going to hope he doesn't manage to dig his way in there again!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Tuft's & tail-less squirrels.

The big fat squirrel with the injured tail is doing just fine! His tail looks better with each day. Today, it took me a minute to distinguish between him with his newly shortened tail, and that of one of our tangle-tail gang that was released this past summer with an equally shortened tail..... its not as bloody and swollen at the end anymore like it was here.

This lucky screech regained it's freedom Wednesday night. It was found in a fireplace a couple weeks back and Mary got it to Tufts. Aside from being a little starved and dehydrated, it was fine. Tufts fattened it up and Mary and I drove out to the neighborhood it was found in and it ever so silently disappeared into the night.

After releasing the screech we promptly headed out to Tufts again.....this time with a red tail rescued by Maureen on the MBTA tracks in Billerica. She didn't fare so well unfortunately. The right wing and both legs broken in several places, along with wounds on the abdomen and feet left no alternative but for them to euthanize it. It's a pretty good guess it was probably hit by the train while hunting in the open area of the tracks.
On a more positive note....our barred owl from Bedford is still doing well. I checked in on him after our annual WRAM conference at Tufts last Saturday. As I said before the humerus was fractured and pinned, but it turns out the radius was also broken (now splinted) and the shoulder injured. He'll be recovering for a while from those injuries, but should do fine. We'll know more after the pins and splints come off and we see how well he is able to fly.
The excessive snow this season is taking it's toll on the hawks and especially the owls. They are not finding enough prey and as a result they are starving and freezing.....and a little more careless when chasing what little prey they do find across roads! Tufts is overrun with them! It's like baby season up there instead of the off season! We've managed to squeeze a few very balmy days out of mother nature over these last couple weeks....a lot of snow has melted and more critters are re-emerging to take advantage of it. Lets hope it's enough to give the owl's a reprieve and get them through the rest of the winter!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A note on raccoon teeth & some quick updates.

Let me take advantage of the slow times around here for a little lesson on raccoon teeth....and why they are so good at inhaling chicken parts, bones and all, in record time!
Aside from the pit bull like power of their jaws, they have the usual teeth found in other omnivores, such as molars, incisors and canines. A quick peek in your dogs mouth will look similar. One very important difference....take a look at that upper canine. It is not a smooth, round tooth like in a dog or like the bottom canine. Thanks to the lighting and the small amount of tarter buildup, you can see how the top canine has more of a blade-like edge....a very sharp blade-like edge! I like to think of them as a shark/raccoon hybrid! (especially when that particular tooth is buried deep within the flesh of my hand or arm! LOL). That sharp edge makes it an excellent tool for shredding......not your "average" puncture wound where this tooth is involved.
(Thank you were a wonderful model for this.... while you were unconscious and getting your x-rays of course!)
A couple of quick updates. There is a new injured squirrel at the feeders. Looks like something took half his tail off. He's doing great though and it looks better every day. Eventually the tail will heal and the dead part will turn brittle and fall off. It's pretty common and looks worse than it is.
The little emaciated girl is eating regularly out there and I think she's looking better.
As far as the coonies go, Vin has worn out his welcome with the gang. He's harassing the girls (as most young men will...hehe). Love is in the air this time of year for the coonies anyway, and even though he is young, his behavior is still a pain in the ass! Even Tash is fed up with him! He's sporting a new wound on his good rear leg and based on his attitude with Vin, I'm guessing he's the one that put it there. The up side to that is that the new wound forced him to start using the other injured foot more! Self induced physical for me! I'm glad to see him starting to retrain that other foot to work again.
Not having an empty pen to put Vin in, I separated him (with Scrappy to keep him company since he seems to be the only one to tolerate him right now) into the smaller side of the pen. I put up the wire "window" I always put up there to separate it (remember the one they were all smooshed up against when I put the late babies in there?) and the next day it was totally ripped apart and everyone was together again. Got dad working on a stronger one now! It would be so much easier if there wasn't about 3 feet of snow on the ground! Then we could just throw up one of the release pens and move him. Alas, no such luck.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Watching over the visitors.

For the past week I've been keeping my eye on this poor girl that has begun visiting the feeder on a regular basis. She's terribly thin, but quite active and normal otherwise and eating up a storm out there. So normal in fact, that she's not even close to catch-able. Sure I could put a trap out there, but with 10 or more squirrels also out there with her, what are the chances of actually getting the right squirrel? Not with my luck!

What we are seeing here is what always happens in the wild over the winters....only we don't usually get to witness it. She was probably holed up for a long time either due to an injury or the weather......and survived to come out on the other side half starved, but alive. (I'm going with injury since of all the critters out there, these guys have not missed many visits to the feeder despite the weather!)

She has probably been holed up with other squirrels as well or she would have frozen to death by now. She is not chased off or harassed by the other squirrels so she's got some friends/family out there at the very least!

Here is one of our normal little fatties out there compared to our skinny little girl....the difference is striking, poor little thing. I'll be keeping an eye on her for now. She's quick, alert and very active, and since she is eating great now, I'll make sure she continues to do so!

A couple of the reds are also hanging out there with the gang. I'm happy to see reds and grays are all tolerating each other well and no fighting or chasing each other off....well except for the 2 reds that is! They are constantly chasing each other off! I'm happy to see my little shed dweller is spending some time outside in the fresh air though.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 Reader's Digest expense!

Forgive my lack of posts as of late!! I have either been too busy at home to sit at the computer, too busy at work to get on here and post, or my "dinosaur" of a computer (as the IT guy at work put it!) is not cooperating and I am unable to is, to put it bluntly, Sh!&#ing the bed. I might also add that there has been a lack of anything new and exciting to report anyway, as the over abundant (and very annoying!) amount of snowfall has pretty much kept every living thing out there holed up!
Laurie and I did rescue a Canada goose this past weekend that was struck (allegedly) by a car. A duck found dead in the road with him was not so lucky. We brought the goose to Tuft's but alas, his fate was with the duck and I found out today that he died. At least he did not linger in the street freezing and in pain.......The barred owl from Bedford is doing great though. There are pins in the wing and he's getting more x-rays tomorrow to check the progress.

I caught a glimpse of Tashmoo using his injured foot.....just a little, but using it none the less! Can you say RELEASABLE!!! Yayyyyyy! (assuming I didn't just jinx myself)

This story is from Vernon, one of our biggest is a riot and I must share it with you!! Vernon, I can only guess they became familiar with our boy Vin through your wonderful photo pages of him perhaps?? This is like one of those stories in the news where they tell us the write in candidate on a ballot that almost won an election was a cat! LOL I love it! It is most eloquently told by him:

The Reader's Digest writes to me every few months to announce that I have been given a half-dozen entries in the latest prize draw, something I have yet to win. These letters seem to get through despite their completely mangling my address ; I have tried many times to tell the correct form of the address but to no avail. This time the prize-draw documents came with a clutch of specimen cheques, each made out -- so they supposed -- in my name. Imagine my surprise to see that they were all drawn in favour of 'Vincent -----' ! So I have spun a wee story for the benefit of the Reader's Digest involving yet another role for star of stage and computer screen ... Raccoon Vin.

Is there anybody there?

For years I have been returning your documents annotated to indicate that your version of my address is wrong. Part of it is right but it includes so much else that my receipt of even some of your missives must be taken as tribute to the endeavors of the postmen.

I have just noticed, however, that you are not only using an incorrect address but also addressing your letters to my raccoon!

Now, I realize that-as Sterling North related in his book of the name (which you really ought to serialize, along with his more famous Rascal)-raccoons are the brightest people but even Vin does not run his own bank account. I hope, therefore, that, should you ever have the much recommended task of sending me a cheque, you will draw it in my favour rather than his. (Despite being blessed with the dexterity for which his species is famous, he does not have opposable thumbs and, unable to hold a pen, cannot endorse a cheque.)

Please, therefore, correct your records.
(Proper name & address inserted here! )

Haha!! No worries though, I told Vernon that as Vin's legal guardian I would be more than happy to endorse the check so he could collect the winnings!