Novalee is a Southern Flying Squirrel. She came here as an eyes-closed 3 week old baby. She was found by a dog and brought onto the "finders" porch. The finders quickly brought her to us. She was a little underweight and very hungry when she arrived. She weighed a whopping 17 grams on arrival.
Flying squirrels live in colonies, much like bats. There can be up to 20 or more flying squirrels in a colony. They are nocturnal mammals that actually glide instead of "fly" with parachute-like flaps that extend from their front feet to their back feet called patagium. These "flaps" catch air when the squirrel falls, letting it propel itself forward instead of plummeting to the ground. Flying squirrels can glide 300 feet and make 180 degree turns.
Since there was no other "colony" to successfully place Novalee with, she has remained here with us. She has been licensed through the USDA as an Educational Ambassador, and educates on the importance of wildlife mammals to our ecosystem.
Ralphie & Penelope are Virginia Opossums. Opossums are amazing animals. They have a spectacular immune system and a lower than average body temperature than that of most mammals. This means that they don't carry the standard diseases that other mammals can carry. It also means that they can withstand poisonous bites and stings that other mammals cannot. Opossums are very important to our ecosystem. They are scavengers and help to keep the roadways, forests, and neighborhoods clean by eating carrion and road-kill. They are also excellent at rodent and insect control. These are just a few of their many extraordinary benefits to our world.
Ralphie & Penelope were found by someone who came across a deceased mother opossum. The finder rescued these two from the pouch of the mother and raised them. Ralphie and Penelope suffer from a condition called Nutritional Metabolic Bone Disease, or MBD for short. MBD is a very painful and crippling disease that results from improper nutrition.
Opossums require an intricate ratio of calcium and phosphorus, which they get in the wild from the many different things they eat. Replicating this ratio in a confined setting is almost impossible.
Ralphie and Penelope were owner surrendered to us when they were around 8 months old. Once they came into care, they were quickly started on an appropriate (as close as possible) opossum diet. They began showing tiny signs of improvement. Although, they will most likely never fully recover from their condition, but our main goal is to keep them as pain-free as possible. They will remain with us for the duration of their lives and become Educational Ambassadors as well. They will educate on the importance of keeping wildlife in the wild, and on the importance of opossums in our ecosystems, our lives. and our world. Sadly, Ralphie didn't respond to the meds and opossum diet as well as Penny and he succumbed to his illness almost a year after intake. Penny is doing well and thriving. She will be turning 4 years old in 2023.... which is an amazing long life for an opossum with MBD. We're thankful she is doing so well.
Fern is a little red fox who came to us a few weeks after a property owner noticed her taking refuge in her barn and unable to walk or hunt for food. The property owner called asking for help. Our amazing Conservation Officer went out and trapped her and brought her to us where we figured out the extent of her injuries. She had gotten her leg caught in a leg-hold or spring trap and had chewed her foot off to free herself. As you can see in the photo, the whole lower part of her foot and leg are missing, and the bone is exposed,
At the vets office getting checked out. Our only options were to either euthanize or amputate. We decided to amputate... This little courageous fox had been living over three weeks with this injury. Three plus weeks prior to being found, she made the horrific decision to chew her leg off to escape from the trap. And, she had managed to keep her leg from becoming too infected and keep herself alive... how could I not give her the chance?
After returning home from her surgery.
Sadly, folks are still using these leg-hold/spring traps and animals just like Fern get caught in them. Most times, the animal will chew off the trapped leg in order to free itself which can also lead to it's death. There is nothing humane about these traps. They are cruel and indiscriminate and kill countless animals each year.
This didn't need to happen. This little fox suffered needlessly. And for what? Her fur? What does that say about us (humans)?
Two days post-op and healing nicely.
I gave her a little bed and she immediately took to it. I couldn't help but capture this moment of "Santa's little helper" too sweet.
Her start at life was riddled with pain and suffering. I am going to make sure that the rest of her life is safe, happy, and bright. She will never know hunger, pain, or fear again. I will make sure of it.
This photo is a little before/after. On the left is the day we came home after her surgery. On the right is two weeks after her surgery. She is doing well and I am gaining her trust day by day. She gets whatever she wants... as it should be.
Jay and Atlas came to us as fosters in August 2021. They are both non-releasable USDA licensed educational ambassadors who are now back living with their sweet owner who is also a wildlife rehabilitator and our very dear friend. Jay is an amber fox who was born in captivity and is almost 2 years old. Atlas is an original red fox who is approximately 8-9 months old.
Check out this great video of our released red fox "Walnut"
"Logan" is a little gray squirrel who has had a pretty rough start to life. Watch his video and learn about his amazing story.
Check out this great video of our 2021 fawn release...