Many thanks to Melissa of Milos Treats

Many thanks to Melissa of Milos Treats who has chosen to donate a percentage of her summer sales to Procyon Wildlife. She owns a small family business in Bradford, ON called Milo’s Treats.

Based in Bradford, Ontario, all their ingredients are 100% Canadian grown.  Their treats are simple and nutritious and handcrafted with care in small batches in their certified kitchen. Guaranteed no preservatives, no by-products, no artificial ingredients, no antibiotics, just plain and simple healthy fresh ingredients.

https://www.milostreats.com/

Animal Updates as of June 30, 2022

Update and Photos by Jennifer Howard

Spirit the fawn

On June 14th a little fawn made a big trip into the centre from South Hampton. He had been attacked by a dog. 2 days later he had his first vet appointment with our Dr. Nellissa of National Wildlife Centre. X-rays showed he had a fracture in his growth plate in his left leg. His little leg was fitted with a splint to help him heal and walk.

Each week he gets vet checked and fitted with a new splint. As he is growing so fast. He is such a good patient. We cover his head which keeps him calm. The job at hand is done on the floor. It’s only been a couple of weeks but he is full weight-bearing on splinted his leg and doing well.

Houdini the Fox

Houdini is a fox with bad mange who came in from Lefroy, Innisfil. While trying to catch another fox, Houdini started coming around. Then went into the trap. He just had his second dose of medication for mange which is given every two weeks, and has finished his antibiotics for his wounds. He may or may not get a third dose. Usually two is all they need. He is a sweet little male fox and has been well behaved. As his wound on his hind end is healing up, it is still vulnerable to bot flies getting to it and laying their eggs. So still inside the centre for a wee while longer. Still trying to capture the other mangy fox.

Family of Five Skunks

Coming from Bradford, this beautiful family of tiny skunks was discovered to be orphaned. The woman called in a panic asking what she can do to help them. It had been 48 hours since her neighbour discovered them under his shed and hadn’t seen mom. We instructed her what to do and that afternoon she called and had caught 3 of the babes. She brought them right into us. The next day was a rainy day but they knew there were 3 more to get. They were weak and in rough shape the day before, so time was critical.

Her neighbour actually cut three quarters of the floor in his shed right out to find these babies. They found all 3 huddled together. One was extremely weak. We told them to keep them warm and quiet, nothing by mouth and get them to us quickly. They were quite bad, dehydrated, had mange, and were starving. Lots of sub cueing and bottle feeding and overall tender loving care, 5 of the 6 survived and are coming along slowly.

Although the woman was extremely upset about the one little one dying, I told her she needed to remember that five lived. They saved five lives that would not have been long in this world. When she heard it that way she calmed down and was very thankful.

We must always remember that no matter what the outcome, we did, and you did everything you could to save that life. No more suffering or worse, being hit again on the road, taken alive by a natural predator or cat. Lying there terrified in so much confusion and pain.

You saved them because they were no longer in pain, we gave them pain meds, they were warm and as comfortable as we could make them, have full tummies and were under loving, caring hands until the end.

We always do our very best to save every life. Euthanization is always the last resort.

Momma Opossum

Caledon Animal Control paid a visit to us a couple of weeks ago. A momma opossum had been hit by a car. She had five little ones in her pouch. All unharmed thankfully. She was vet checked and x rayed, her jaw was broken and thankfully fixable. Because she was injured and needed all her energy to heal, her little ones were old enough to be taken and cared for separately. She is healing and will be on a liquid diet for a while.

Her five little ones are doing well and are being kept with each other.

Momma Fox

Our monthly update on Momma Fox from St. Thomas, who had both her front legs badly broken. Another vet check and set of x-rays showed her one leg was still not healing properly.

Her splint has been removed for now and it is planned she will go through another surgical procedure for that leg. Her other leg is fine, completely healed up.

Another big thank you must go out to National Wildlife Centre vets, Dr. Nellissa and Dr. Sherri Cox and to the assisting vet techs. We have been overwhelmed with animals in need of vet care these last few months. There have been some tough cases. We are so appreciative and so lucky to have you.

Jen Howard

Procyon volunteer/ photographer

Beeton

Hail the Mighty Chipmunk!

Article by Elizabeth Trickey, photos courtesy of Elizabeth Trickey and Jennifer Howard

I think nature gave our planet chipmunks for the sole purpose of entertaining humans. Cute, inquisitive, bold, non-threatening, easily distinguished, and sometimes even friendly. Yes, our little furry friends do bring many of us a multitude of joy!

In Ontario, there are 2 types of chipmunk – the Eastern and the Least. Telling them apart is sometimes difficult, but the Eastern is larger and the Least has a bushier tail. We mostly see the Eastern species in our suburban and rural communities, so let’s look at the life of the Eastern chippies that we love to watch.

Identifying chipmunks is quite easy. They are very small, around 5 inches long, not including their tails which are fuzzy and thin, varying in length from 2-5 inches. For all you euchre and poker players reading this, chipmunks weigh about the same as a deck of cards. Of course, the most obvious marker of chipmunks is the 9 stripes down their backs – 5 dark brown ones, 2 medium brown, and 2 cream stripes. The rest of the fur on their bodies is a reddish brown, with a cream coloured underside and a darker brown tail.

Chippies have very long, thin fingers and toes, with 4 on the forepaws and 5 on their rear paws. Their sharp nails are needed to dig very long, deep tunnels, and to climb trees. They have tiny ears, a short snout, and dark eyes that are rimmed with cream coloured fur. Their faces are small, but don’t let that deceive you. These critters have expandable cheeks that have an incredible capacity!

These cheeks can be stretched to 3 times the size of their heads, and hold up to 160 acorns! OK, I’ve never seen that, but apparently researchers have, so who am I to argue with that? The cheek pouches are like grocery bags, holding quite a large amount of food at one time, to take home after shopping. And there are several reasons for this. One is that these animals are very small, being prey to many predators.

They need to quickly do their shopping, then rush home to eat because having their dinner in the open is asking for trouble. As well, chipmunks stay in their burrows all winter long, so need to pick up and store food to eat during those cold months. Emptying the grocery bag cheeks is a simple matter of squeezing the cheeks with their forepaws.

Images by Elizabeth Trickey

There is also another way that these cheek pouches come in handy. Ever watch “The Great Escape”? Love that movie. Remember how they got rid of the soil that they excavated from the tunnels? Well, I think those men learned from chipmunks! You see, chipmunks burrow into the ground, scratching through the soil to build a home. They cram the excavated soil into their cheek pouches, then take it out to the surface! Too bad Charles Bronson didn’t have cheek pouches – he needed to scrounge for buckets!

Chipmunks are solitary animals that live alone, underground, in tunnels that are from 10-30 feet long, with more than one exit. They can be found in forests and suburban developments where there is plenty of ground cover such a brush piles, rocks and foliage to hide from predators. Having a body of water in the vicinity is also a good idea since these animals are great swimmers and can make a quick get-away by water. Their homes have different areas for different purposes – a storage area for food, a nursery for the newborns, sleeping quarters, and possibly a toilet area. Researchers disagree with whether or not there is a bathroom in those dens, and the chipmunks aren’t talking….

Image by Jennifer Howard

Although chipmunks live alone, this species is part of a larger community, called a “scurry”, that takes care of each other by warning about predators. Chipmunks do have a number of different vocalizations, used for different reasons. Some chips are high-pitched for when predators on the ground are in the area. When there are aerial predators, the chips are made at a lower pitch and they are more of a clucking sound. Then there is the trill which is a very fast, high-quivering chip which is made when a predator is chasing the unfortunate chippy. Other sounds include croaks and chirps which you might hear in the spring when love is in the air, and the hunt is on for a suitable mate. With all these different vocalizations, chipmunks make great singers – you do remember Alvin, Simon, and Theodore’s famous recording, right?

For the Eastern chipmunk, mating takes place in April and sometimes, again, in August. The males, called “bucks”, get that urge a couple of weeks before the females, and they set out on a hunt for fertile chippies to court. The males may mate with several different females, then, their job done, they head off into the sunset.

Gestation is only about a month long, after which a litter of 3-6 itty-bitty babies, called “kits” or “pups”, are born weighing in at 3 grams, which is the weight of a penny. They have no fur, and their ears and eyes are closed. After 10 days, fur starts to appear and within a month they are able to see and hear. Momma, called a “doe”, is the sole caretaker for 2 months, feeding, protecting, and teaching them the fine art of foraging and avoiding predators. Once the kits are able to cope on their own, usually at 2-3 months of age, they head off to seek their fortune, building their own burrows and gathering food for the cold months ahead. By the following summer, they are ready to begin having babies of their own. Nature decides how many kits will be born – food availability, the length of the winter, and living conditions all have an impact on numbers.

Chipmunks are diurnal (daytime) critters which is why we are so familiar with them. They tend to need lots of sleep, up to 15 hours each day, and often take a siesta in the early afternoons. Chippies are omnivores that forage for foods such as fruit, mushrooms, nuts, bulbs, seeds, insects, bird eggs, and worms. And many of my newly planted flowers….

The lifespan of chipmunks is only 3 years in the wild. They have many predators such as coyotes, owls, snakes, raccoons, bobcats, hawks, weasels, foxes, and pet cats and dogs, which makes a long life for this species unlikely. Being as small and agile as they are, the best defence against predators is to stay close to home and scamper away quickly when danger is about!

It doesn’t take long for chipmunks to store up enough food for the winter. Just a couple of days of filling their cheeks full of food is enough to get them through the cold months. These little charmers stay at home all winter long, mostly sleeping away the time, occasionally waking to eat. They go into a state of torpor where their hearts beat very slowly, from a usual 350 beats per minute to just 4 beats, and their body temperature cools down to just above freezing. Many wild animals bulk up for the winter and live off their fat, but chipmunks don’t. That’s why they have to wake every week or so to have a bite to eat.

All critters in our world have a necessary job to do to keep our planet healthy. Chipmunks are responsible for spreading seeds throughout the forest and other green areas to ensure we always have the plants and trees that we need to survive. They also help to keep certain trees, especially pines, from taking over forests by eating those seeds. So these cuties do have other important jobs besides keeping humans entertained!

Thankfully, chipmunks are not at all endangered, so they don’t need global protection.

But they do need help when they fall prey to our pet cats and dogs. Wild animals will kill chippies for food; that is part of nature’s balance. But our pets don’t tend to attack these animals for that reason, and too often, Procyon is brought injured ones that have been hurt by dogs and cats.

We get many chipmunks every year – perhaps you’d like to sponsor one? If so, just go to the donation page on our site. The chippies will appreciate that!

The following images are courtesy of Jennifer Howard