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Wildlife Ways
Vicky Carder

It's the Law, Part Three

Posted Tuesday, September 25, 2012, at 9:18 AM
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  • This has been a very informative series Vicky. I once tried to "save" a baby rabbit when I was very young. My inexperience and lack of knowledge in these matters did sadly lead to the rabbit's demise.

    -- Posted by Tim Lokey on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 1:28 AM
  • Some are just not going to make it. We had one little one that we did not even know what it was, just found it in the grass near a tree so we guessed it might be a squirrel, but ..... we never had the chance to find out.

    Vicky, would it be reasonable to at least try to care for something until we get in touch with Wildlife resources, or better to do nothing?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 6:36 AM
  • ABSOLUTELY do try to provide interim care!!! There is nothing wrong with this, and TWRA allows it as long as you are making a reasonable effort to get the creature to a licensed rehabilitator.

    There are a few good rules to follow:

    1. First, do no harm! Obviously the best thing is to try to reunite with the mom.

    2. Take care not to get bitten! Use gloves, towels, etc.

    3. Never feed an animal that is cold to the touch. They are not able to digest food when the body temperature is not normal. Warm the animal by wrapping it in a towel, place into a small box, place the box half-on, half-off a heating pad so that if it gets warm it can crawl away.

    4. With mammals (mostly here I am talking about babies or juveniles) try some water with an eyedropper or needle-less syringe. Nutrition is not as important as dehydration, as least for a while.

    5. Never attempt to give baby birds water! They are not capable of drinking thin liquids, and this can cause aspiration pnuemonia.

    It is hard to tackle nutrition here - what I plan to do in the spring is write about emergency nutrition for each animal species during the various baby seasons. Each animal is so different, and feeding a "bad" food is often worse than no food at all, at least on an emergency basis.

    I definitely want people to try to keep the animals alive - I just don't like it when someone goes past that point - because the end results are often not good. I have dealt with so many sad children and adults and the heartbreak can be tremendous.

    -- Posted by wildwoman on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 4:37 PM
  • Tim - it can be a crushing burden to know that you tried to save an animal and discover your "care" caused its demise. It can become entangled with other grief issues that people have.

    For me, it was rarely ever that one case caused me to grieve - Sad cases accumulated over time, and periodically, I would have a wailing, sobbing breakdown. A lot of my grief was also because so many people were affected, especially children.

    -- Posted by wildwoman on Wed, Sep 26, 2012, at 4:43 PM
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