A June reminder of what Wild Things Sanctuary wildlife heroes have achieved, lives they've saved, and dreams they dream!
Blame the Babies!
FuzzBall teh raccoon 2-3weeks old
     Yes, yes, I know that this month's eNewsletter is late! It's not my fault: blame the babies! Since we sent you the last eNewsletter Wild Things has admitted about 75 new patients, many of them babies. Babies are adorable, but need A LOT of TLC! Also, many of them who arrive at Wild Things have been separated from their mother for days and are in very dire condition. It often takes an hour or more just to clean up the little ones, and often many days to get the rehydrated and strong enough to take full strength formula. And, if they are baby raccoons, like "FuzzBall" (pictured above) they can SCREAM their little head's off until you attend to them!

     "FuzzBall," as his finders named him, was the first raccoon baby to arrive at Wild Things this year. He was born in the middle of May and was only a week old when he was separated from his mother. The finders knew that there had been raccoons in their attic and assumed that this little baby, who was discovered in their flower bed, was probably one that had been separated from that litter. Being responsible wildlife heroes, the finders kept him in a little box near where he was found to allow the mother to retrieve him. When babies are separated from their mothers, the moms will usually do anything to come back for their babies.

      But after 36 hours no MamaFuzz showed up. Who knows what happened. Did something happen to her? Was Fuz
zyB from a different litter altogether? Did she have too many babies to care for and decide to leave one behind? Or was she perhaps a first time mother and still learning all the nuances of motherhood, like how you mustn't forget your children in people's flowerbeds? We will never know for sure. But FuzzBall now has a good home at Wild Things.

This picture was taken soon after he arrived; he is perhaps 2-3 weeks old in this picture, about the size of a human hand. He looks like a little angel in this picture, but he can be a terror! I don't think I've ever had a baby racoon who cries so much and wants so much attention. I've even wondered whether the mother left him because he was drawing attention to the nest and jeopardizing his family.

      I have been worried that something is wrong with him, but he seems all fine, and calms down if you take time to hold him....and loves his bottle.

      Wild Things Sanctuary is one of the only rehabilitation centers in the area that are licensed to admit raccoons. In New York State, raccoons, skunks and bats are considered "Rabies Vector Species." Though all animals, including humans, can have and transmit rabies, raccoons may carry the virus without showing any signs of the disease. However, and this is very important, animals are not contagious until they start showing symptoms of the disease...but more on this in another newsletter perhaps! Foxes, skunks, raccoons, groundhogs, and bats are all "RVS" animals, but NY State specifies RVS as only raccoons, skunks and bats.

     Every spring I have a terrible crisis of conscience as I receive more calls concerning orphaned RVS species than I can possibly handle. (And the fact that I'm allergic specifically to raccoons- how's that for irony!- doesn't help either!). Do I take that extra litter? But then the ones that I already have won't get fed on time or have proper care, and what about the other bunch of little ones who all came in close to death and need a lot of extra time and care?? But the people have already called so many others and no one will accept these babies, should I??? It's tough making these decisions!!

      I became licensed to take RVS species so that I can admit and triage any animal that is in trouble, including these species. But in reality I cannot rehabilitate all the RVS animals that I get calls about. There is no time and it is expensive. Raccoons in particular require a lot of care and are much more dependent on their adoptive "mother" than skunks and bats. Many veterinarians are also unlicensed, unwilling or too busy to help with RVS species.  Wild Things is grateful to the vets who have been able to help the RVS patients here.

(Click on the image above to hear what raccoon purring sounds like!)

      Why don't more rehabilitators become licensed to work with RVS species? Well, in NY state, RVS rehabilitators are required to have additional training, special caging, and a rabies vaccination (can cost well over $1000) that must be titred every two years. Our facilities must be inspected by the USDA. Separate logs must be kept for each RVS animal. RVS rehabilitators are supposed to pick RVS patients up, even if hours away, and because all RVS animals are required to be released from where they came, we often have to drive them back "home" as well. Finally, we must be registered with all Heath Departments in the counties from which we accept RVS animals. This all requires a tremendous amount of money and time, and to top it off, bringing up more than even a litter of little mischievous raccoon babies can drive anyone half crazy!

     Wild Things does its best to help as many animals as we can. We have no staff and only a handful of volunteers under one rehabilitator who help with the animals. Of course, the volunteers are not permitted to handle RVS species, but they can help look after other patients. As the lone rehabilitator, I am also responsible for all phone calls. Please forgive me if it takes a while to get back to you. Don't blame me: blame the babies! At this time of year I know that that can happen, but I will call you back. If I can't take your animal I will try to help you find another rehabilitator. Presently I feed animals from 6-9, work at my fulltime job 9-6 (thanks to the volunteers this is possible, though I often have to return mid-day to work with RVS species), and feed animals again from 6-past midnight. In the last month I've received a few hundred phone calls; so be patient and take a look at the Wild Things website while you are waiting. You may find an answer to your question here, and there are also links to directories of rehabilitators all over the country on the "What to Do if you Find an Injured Animal" page.

      ANYWAY, FuzzBall is now about 6- weeks old and doing great! He is a lovely blonde color and is very fuzzy. Because he came in alone as a "singleton" I wanted to put him with other raccoon babies, despite the fact that we are supposed to keep different litters separate (in case they may be sick or harboring rabies). But after isolating him and another litter (whose tree was cut down and their mother and sibling killed by the chainsaw) and confirming that they are very healthy, I recently added him to the others and he is very happy to be with his new brothers and sisters.

      And PLEASE REMEMBER that no matter how adorable Fuzzy is in this picture, he is a wild animal, NOT A PET. Please do not try to keep baby wild animals as pets. It will end in heartbreak for everyone. People and domestic animals can get hurt and sick. Wildlife babies will suffer physically and behaviorally. Call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator- for directory of rehabilitators in your area, click here.

Fawns are otten seen lying in the grass alone without their mother" DO NOT KIDNAP THEM!

June wildlife tip!

There’s a fawn in my yard: HELP!!

Don’t worry, that little fawn is usually just fine! Mother deer travel without their young offspring and will “park” them someplace safe for the day, returning, often when no one is around, to feed their babies. Often the safest "parking place" is near human habitation, where their natural predators will rarely venture.

Unless the baby is crying nonstop, falling over, or has insects around it, it is usually not an orphan. Forget it is there and keep the area quiet and peaceful so as not to scare away the mother. Out of the 50 or so calls I get a year about fawns, there are usually fewer than 10 who are really in trouble.


Fawns die so easily from digestion related complications, and also “imprint” on human beings very quickly. This means that they will not fear humans, and once they get to be big adults, will often result in their deaths.

As always, you can see the WTS website for more information!

YOung opossum ~ 3months old

Help build "Larry's Lounge"!

This past month Wild Things received a litter of 12 opossums- it's biggest opossum litter I've seen yet! Our native Virginia Opossums have 13 teats, but usually average about 7 babies.

These little ones' mother was hit by a car and killed. They were nice and safe in her pouch and survived the impact. A passer-by heard the funny little cough-barks that the babies (and mothers) make when calling for their mother, and following the calls gathered up all 12 little ones and brought them to Wild Things.

The 12 babies are all doing very well and are nice and cozy in a small cage for the moment with heat and lots of cuddling material to simulate a pouch (see pictures below and to the left). But 12 growing youngsters are going to need a lot more space!

Larry was a very special opossum who made many people happy. Sadly he passed away last year. In his honor, Wild Things would like to construct an outdoor area for these little ones and future opossum patients. Please make a tax-deductible donation today to help us build "Larry's Lounge"!


Tiny Guy hurts his ankle

Tiny Guy hurts his ankle

There is always one child on the playground who plays a little too rough.

It is no exception with wildlife.

Tiny Guy was so excited about playing with his new brothers and sisters that he sprained his ankle. There was a lot of crying, but some medicine and a soft splint soon put him straight! He has completely recovered and is now on his way to start exploring the wild woods!
Wild Things Sanctuary sign

Mission Statement

Wild Things Sanctuary (WTS) is dedicated to helping native wildlife through rescuing and rehabilitating debilitated and orphaned/displaced animals until they are ready for release back into the wild. Eventually, WTS is also aiming to provide a sanctuary for non-releasable native animals.

WTS is also committed to improving the well-being of wildlife through public education; focusing on how humans can sagely and peacefully coexist with native wildlife, and on wildlife’s importance to man and the environment.
Copyright © 2011 Wild Things Sanctuary, All rights reserved.
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