As we move into late spring and the weather continues to heat up, we are extremely busy at the center with all manner of animals. Many of the baby squirrels and bunnies we took in earlier in the spring have been released or are approaching release age. Kudos to all of our new rehabbers for successfully raising their first babies! Many of the baby opossums are also nearing release age. It is always exciting, and also a little sad, when we release the babies we have raised. Songbirds and baby raptors are also keeping us busy. Baby raccoons have been coming in steadily for weeks, and we are nearing capacity for caring for these babies. As raccoons are very labor intensive and also need to stay with their caretakers for a minimum of 8 months, we are limited as to how many babies we can admit. All litters are kept together as we never separate siblings, and single babies (or doubles) are paired up with other singles to make small "family" groups of three or more. These babies will then stay together through rehab and be released together when the time is right. Fawns will most likely be arriving any day now.
In addition to the animals we see most often, we have had some more unusual native animals visit us this spring. We assisted several baby armadillos, who are not the easiest or more appreciative animals to deal with. We have also seen many turtles; most of which have been struck by cars. Please be careful during the spring months for these guys; if you happen to see one on the road, maybe stop and move the turtle to the roadside (in the direction it was heading) so they can be safe. Turtles are on the move looking for love, so give them a "brake". One of our rehabbers also took in a litter of mink, somewhat more unusual for this part of Texas (sadly, they did not survive; it is likely they came in with disease).
Just to update you on some of the past posts, the tiny raccoon featured back in February is now about 10 weeks old. She was put with another litter of three siblings (after they finished a quarantine to assure they were not harboring parvo or distemper). They are growing like weeds, playing, wrestling, and beginning to wean off the bottle. They have already started their vaccines and can move to outside caging once vaccines are complete and they are weaned (we vaccinate them against canine and feline distemper and parvo). The hawk with the injured eye is blind in that eye; however, she is hunting well in a flight cage and will be released soon. Both she and the baby barred owl were transferred to another wildlife group for flight caging. We do not currently have a flight cage of our own, but we are trying to raise funds to have one built. This is a very important need. We are sad to say that the raccoon featured in much earlier posts (Nick) did not survive. Although his wounds were healing well, he began suffering severe neurological symptoms and had to be euthanized. It was later found that he had survived canine distemper, only to later succumb to the ensuing brain damage and swelling. That was devasting for all of us as he had been in our care for over six weeks. He took a little piece of our hearts with him.