Fox kits sleeping together in a metal culvert

Five orphaned fox kits arrived in April for recovery and rehabilitation, their mother killed by a dog. When discovered, they were hungry and dehydrated. They’re now thriving and rambunctious in their covered enclosure with an outdoor play area. We’ve placed logs, large stones, sandboxes and wide-mouth tubes in their garden. When they show the ability to forage and hunt adequately, they’ll be released back into the forest from whence they came, sometime in early August.

Orphaned baby squirrel eating from an eye dropper

Mid March The towels in the shoe box gave a suspicious lurch. There is Life in there! Every day, they change. Ears a little perkier. Tails up across their backs. Three blind heads poking out from the edge of the box. I reach in to take one out for feeding and she gives a sudden, electric jerk as she feels my touch. Just one—but it’s the sign of a rapidly maturing nervous system, a harbinger of things to come. Before this, they had been helpless and passive. In a few weeks, their reflexes will be so quick it will be impossible to catch them or even track them with our eyes. End March Oh dear! Their eyes are opening and the box is moving a lot—sudden jerky little movements. I know...

Three orphaned squirrel babies snuggle in a towel

Dear Squirrel Momma, We have your three babies and they are doing well. You took such good care of them---all three were sleek and well fed. Together, they must weigh more than you! How did you keep them all fed and cleaned so well? You had to feed yourself and make enough milk for them---and during the winter. What an amazing feat. The first couple of days were a difficult adjustment for all of us, as they didn’t like the rubber nipple and we couldn’t get them to defecate after the change in diet, but it looks like that challenge is over. The milk formula we give them is no substitute for yours, made by your very body and taken into theirs in an exquisite continuity of Squirrelness...

Raccoons emerging from a crate

— by Dawn Harrison — The weather was perfect and the girls were ready, so we knew it was the right day for releasing our rehabilitation raccoons. We found the ideal spot with a small stream and ample natural food in a location where we can provide supplementation if they need it to thrive through their first winter. The girls, dubbed Big and Medium, were loaded into a crate for the short trip to their new home. Upon arriving, Big and Medium were very inquisitive yet reluctant. After all, they didn’t know exactly what was going on. They peeked out of the kennel, took a few steps out, and then went back in. When we took the top off, they finally got a good look at the welcoming meadow...

Two orphaned and hairless baby squirrels

— by Susan Eirich, Ph.D. — Tiny arms intertwined with one another, the two orphaned baby squirrels lay sleeping. I gently disentangled the little girl for a feeding. So tiny they fit into one half of my hand, eyes tightly closed shut, delicate pink skin still unprotected by fur. The little boy stirred and started to protest, looking for his nest mate. They came from different mothers, different trees, in different neighborhoods, but probably blown out of their nests by the same ill wind that gusted fiercely a couple of weeks ago. Motherless, they found comfort in one another. When we got the little girl, she still had her umbilical cord attached. It was touch and go. At first she...

Two baby raccoons in an outdoor enclosure

— by Dawn Harrison — This has been a difficult week for rehabilitation efforts here at Earthfire, having more losses than wins. They warn you when you start that it won’t always be sunshine and rainbows. You won’t be able to save them all, and it can be heartbreaking. But knowing something intellectually and handling it emotionally can be quite different. Flightless Duck We received a call that a Momma duck and five ducklings were left in an intake pen at a local shelter. Momma had been injured and wasn’t able to walk well. Although it was late in the day, I loaded a crate into my car, stopped and got some feed for them, and made the hour-plus trip over the hill to bring the...

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