Friday, May 22, 2009
Rascally Raccoon Rescue
While at the Union shelter today taking pictures of cats and dogs to post on Petfinder.com, an unexpected rescue mission developed. The shelter is located behind a Home Depot store. One of the Home Depot employees came over to the shelter asking what to do about some sickly orphaned baby raccoons that were hanging out in the parking lot. Apparently, the mother raccoon and her 3 babies had been living in the warehouse but mom had not been seen for a couple of days. The employees put the babies over the fence into the park but they came right back to the Lawn & Garden department in the Home Depot parking lot. They weren't looking well at all. Dehydration was setting in.
The first raccoon went into the carrier without much ado, just a little shove did the trick. Not a good sign at all. He had discharge in his eyes and really wasn't feeling well. The second one was a little perkier but not enough to run away. After a brief battle and near escape, my gloved hand won and he ended up in the carrier with his brother. The third sibling was not around.
So now what? I have no raccoon experience. Were they old enough to eat on their own? If not, exactly how was I supposed to give them a bottle when they were obviously old enough to already mistrust humans and put up a fight? I was completely out of my element. They napped comfortably in a dog crate on the kitchen table, out of reach of curious canines, while I emailed and telephoned in an attempt to find a wildlife rehabilitator. I reached one fairly quickly who was unable to take them - she was already bottle feeding a dozen raccoon babies. But she kindly passed along some tricks on how to get to them eat on their own, none of which worked. As I expected, it was because they were indeed too young to eat on their own. At long last an offer from a rehabber who came highly recommended and was "only" bottle feeding six at the moment. She could take them. I packed up the babies and off we went. The rehabber immediately whisked them away to get them on the bottle. It was of the utmost importance. She stands ready to accept the 3rd sibling if he comes back around. The Home Depot employees are on the lookout for him. I'll be checking in over the weekend to see how the babies are doing. Now that they are in experienced and capable hands, chances are much better that they will survive to be released back into the wild.
Sunday, May 24, 2009 Update: I called to check on the babies. They are both taking the bottle, have perked up considerably and are doing great.