by Jennifer Howard
Roscoe, one of our foxes:
We are waiting for some good weather so he can go home. Roscoe was admitted on November 19th, 2021 with bad mange and an injury to his leg. It took a while for that injury to heal and a lot of handling to clean and keep bandaged. Roscoe has been a great little patient and tolerated his time with us very well. He looks great. He will be released very soon.
Doris, our big female porcupine: Doris came to us on November 9th, 2021. She is slowly growing back her fur on her belly after a very bad case of mange. She lived near a farm property and was seen there almost daily enjoying apples from their trees. They noticed she wasn’t well. She still has mangy patches on her legs and was fighting an upper respiratory infection. She had an appointment on February 24th with our awesome vet Dr. Nelissa of National Wildlife Centre. Her X-rays showed clear lungs, great news, and she had a toe that had to be removed. She did really well but it took a while for her to wake up which is normal with porcupines. She was monitored by Dr. Nelissa throughout this process and was given oxygen to help her along. She is a big girl and such a sweetheart. Loves her food and really loves apples, bananas, and pears. She still has a bit of congestion so is going on another bout of meds, but overall, Doris is coming along nicely, but slowly. Porcupines don’t tolerate many of the medications we use so consultation with our vet is so very important. She sure has won over all of our hearts. Had a good drive home and by the time we got back to Procyon she was up and hungry. We had two boxes of wonderful bananas come in so l thought Doris deserved a special treat. She was eating a rodent block when I went in, I showed her the banana and she just dropped that rodent block and retrieved that banana which she proceeded to thoroughly enjoy. Smacking her lips with every bite. And that is one reason I love being a volunteer at Procyon. One of the many.
Doris Loves Bananas
Courage case # 18, is a wee big brown bat who came to us from being caught inside a glue trap. He was dehydrated and underweight and he had small pinholes in his wings from being stuck. He was hydrated upon arrival and was watched carefully. He is a cute little bat and sometimes he takes a run for it when it’s feeding time. But once he gets a taste of those big juicy super worms it’s a different story. His wings are healing nicely, and he should be releasable come spring.
Please do not use glue traps. They can be deadly to a lot of little lives including birds, bats, snakes, mice and more. They are not humane.
Every animal that comes through our doors is special. And everything is done to make them better or for the tiny helpless orphans to grow big and strong to go free and explore the world for the first time.
Spring is quickly making its way upon us although we have had the most up and down winter I can remember. It won’t surprise us if babies start arriving earlier than normal. But as always, we will be ready. A new nursery is underway to welcome them.
On February 22nd, a mild winter day with rain. I had a chipmunk out rummaging around, and thankfully she looked very healthy. But then the cold returned, and she went back to sleep.
Remember, if you see an animal in distress, sick, injured or orphaned, or even if you’re not sure, that’s what we are here for, to help, make that call ASAP. Time can be critical and please do not try doing it yourself. Every animal has different dietary requirements and needs; they may need tube feeding, pain meds, antibiotics. This all is critical to their survival. And every second counts. It is only legal to have wildlife in your possession for 24 hours. This gives you time to find a wildlife rehabilitation centre to help you. If you do not know of any, please go to:
Ontariowildliferescue.ca and do a search and find the nearest centre near you.
When you call Procyon (905-729-0033) you will leave a phone message, a volunteer will get back to you hopefully within the hour, but that all depends on how busy they are, they will call though. If it is an emergency, please state that in your message.
Never just bring an animal in without talking to us and setting up a time and never leave an animal unattended thinking we will find it. It’s extremely busy come spring. Always tell the volunteers everything about that animal, where it was found, do you suspect your cat got it, it will need antibiotics, and all your contact info as well. Everything must be done by the book. Don’t give food or water until you talk to us, don’t use tape on boxes, an animal can get stuck to it, and don’t put any towels or blankets in with porcupines.
Never cuddle an animal, you may think they are fine with it but the actual fact is they are very stressed by it, they are not happy with being close to you or being handled, remember, they are wild, you are a predator.
Wildlife are not pets, never ever keep a baby thinking they make good pets. Aside from it being very illegal, they grow up, and their hormones kick in. They can carry diseases but still be healthy. like a raccoon with roundworm which can be passed to humans and your pets. Once a tame animal ends up with us, they can be mean. Putting us at risk of being bitten. They are confused and distraught. If an animal bites us, they have to be euthanized to check for rabies. Rabies is most likely not the issue, but these are the laws we must follow. It’s not a normal life for a wild animal to be enclosed as a pet. To mingle with people and pets, in fact, it can be dangerous. They need to be free; how would you feel locked up all your life? Can you imagine our perspective having to put a healthy young animal down because someone thought it would make a great pet? It attacks someone and now it loses its life. All completely unavoidable. It’s very difficult and was so unavoidable. The fact you found an orphan is great but please, make that call so we can take over, and that little life can be with others of its kind and go free. That’s the best thing you can do, and most rewarding. And a job well done on your part. We can’t do what we do without you getting these animals in need to us. I know this sounds harsh, but it’s the law, and if you don’t know it then you may think it’s okay. It’s all about education. You’re only trying to help an already overwhelmed system. But no, it must be done correctly for the sake of that animal. If we can’t take it because we are full, we try to help you find another rehabilitation centre.
Remember to keep your cats inside during spring baby season, they are the number one killer of wildlife babies, keeping dogs on leash is also recommended. This is also for the safety of your pets. How many times have I heard of off leash dogs being hurt blaming the wild animal when in fact that animal was only trying to protect itself from your dog? If a coyote is cornered it will act out. But often your dog poses more of a threat to wildlife than the other way around especially if it’s a single animal. And they will protect their den area and babies. A coyote or fox may even follow you; this is escorting you away from its territory. Not threatening you in any way. They want to make sure their family is safe from you, their number one predator. That’s what parents do. Right!
We must remember that they share their space with us. Because we have taken so much of their habitat away. Having said that, however, we can learn to coexist together. And it can be a wonderful coexistence with all. If you want to learn about wildlife, carefully from a respectable distance sit quietly and watch. They will teach you. Be very mindful of learning if the animal is stressed over your presence, if they show signs of stress, ears back, for example, it’s time to move on, leave them be. Do not feed. That’s a big one.
If you are far enough away however and respect their distance you will learn a lot about them. Binoculars and cameras with good zooms are your best bet for viewing. Cell phones and tablets are out. You need to get too close. I’ve seen this with moose, a good way to get trampled and it’s not the fault of the moose. In fact, that animal tells you with its actions that you are threatening it by your closeness. So, learn, read, ask questions, make that call. Let’s keep our wildlife wild and safe, our pets and us safe. It couldn’t be more rewarding.