The squirrel room is finally getting a bit more manageable now that many of the little ones are growing up enough to be upgraded so that they don’t have to be fed every 2 hours. Also having a volunteer there to help with feedings is a blessing.
Having more time away from the squirrels, I was able to do all of the piglet’s meds and treatments, one of which included taking his temperature (rectally), the duration of which he squealed like... well, a pig. He doesn’t really like people touching him unless it involves food.
I got to tube feed the baby opossums, too, for once. They are so cute when they are little, but they have such strong jaw muscles, even when they are tiny, that it isn’t too easy to pry open their mouths and put a tube down their throat. Once the tube is there, though, the rest is easy.
After our crash course on phones yesterday, I had my first shift answering phones today. The man who used to do all of our phone work left this week so it is all up to us now. Most of the calls were people who had injured wildlife, unfortunately not many are willing to travel to deliver the injured animals to us, nor do we have very many volunteers who are able to pick the animals up for us either. Several people actually got very angry at me when I explained there isn’t anything we can do for the animal if it isn’t brought to the facility because we do not have the funds to run a fleet of rescuers all around Texas. One woman actually said we should get better volunteers because it doesn’t seem like they are very dedicated to saving wildlife. As if that isn’t ridiculous enough, there were dozens more who wouldn’t believe me that they wouldn’t get the plague if they picked up an injured bird with a towel. Some people think that because we work at this facility we have some special super powers that make us immune to every disease, because obviously all wildlife is diseased and contagious… And yet we all work here everyday. Some people just don’t make any sense.
When I wasn’t answering phones, I was sifting through mealworms, as three new boxes arrived today (via FedEx, in case you were wondering how to ship live insects).
As I sat out on the porch talking on the phone, something big came flapping down behind me, which pretty much scared me half to death until I turned around to see it was one of the resident vultures, Baby. He came to sit by me and see if I would play. I pet and scratched him for about a half an hour while I was on the phone and when I finally went inside, he stayed perched on the railing and then hopped down to tap on the glass sliding door to get my attention. I’m sure he would have come in and hung out if I had let him, because he wasn’t done socializing.
Later on in the evening one of the staff members, Petra, showed up to see if anyone could help vaccinate some of the outdoor raccoons. They needed their last series of distemper shots and some homeopaths. We picked a cage of five first. Since I have only had my first round of rabies shots I couldn’t really help capturing them so basically it was up to Petra to tackle them and hold them while I gave the distemper shots (subcue) and some other meds (PO).
It was a quiet night shift working with the squirrels, except for getting six new little ones in. Most were pretty healthy, but one took a bad enough fall that her face was pretty bloody as well as bleeding from the nose. Luckily she doesn’t seem to have any neurological trauma even if she did have some severe head trauma.
Since I have had a rabies shot I can start working with the vector species so Petra took me into the coon room and I helped her bottle-feed some of the babies. They are super cute, but some of the juveniles are already starting to get cranky. We have one adult who had a back leg amputated and he is the crankiest of all.
Squirrels again on the night shift, but they are going by a bit more quickly since many are only QID (fed four times a day as opposed to the little ones at six times a day).
I also was in charge of the IC rooms. Nobody in them is under intensive care, they are just being used since they are smaller spaces to keep some of the guys who don’t fit into the other rooms. Right now there are two juvenile coons, one baby/juvie coon, and three little skunks. Everyone was all on solids, but I did have to weigh and give meds to the skunks. They are very fat, friendly little guys, but one has an attitude and likes to spray. He didn’t spray until I had to poke him with a needle to give him his meds and it didn’t get on me. Luckily they don’t spray much when they are little and the other two are very nice.
Today was a day of getting rid of animals. Forty-six fawns to be exact. One of the organization’s friends owns a thousand acres of protected land somewhere out here in the hill country and it is on his land where we do most of our releases. He drove a big cattle trailer over here and the fawn-herding began. I was asleep for most of it because it happened early in the morning and I was on the evening shift, but I heard it was an adventure and kind of sad to have to capture these guys and hear them bleating the entire time. However, we emptied the fawn yard so these guys have a new home and a new life. I think I will miss the axis deer, though.
A little screech owl came in the other day with a head injury that is causing him to twist his head way around to the side. I got to feed him today, which was a challenge because he is so disoriented and defensive. This little guy definitely was packing more of a punch than the great horned owls that are three times his size as he was attacking my glove every time I got near him. He is on physical therapy and some homeos right now to try to get his neck back the right way before the muscles start to atrophy.
We work with an animal hospital in San Antonio where people can drop off the wildlife they find and then a volunteer brings everything up to us every evening. Tonight Castle West (the hospital) brought us several of the usual (squirrels and pigeons) but also an adult porcupine and a baby bat. I have never seen a porcupine up so close and even then I didn’t get a very good look since I didn’t help check him in. All I got to see was the box he came in – very small – and then how huge he was. With quills he was about the size of a small dog. I am not sure what was wrong with him, however. The bat died soon after he came in.
Second rabies shot!
The piglet finally moved to the day cages, or the outside cages. He was making too much noise inside because he was squealing about being hungry for the better part of the day.
Each one of the interns and staff members was assigned to a particular area in the clinic or one of the nearby buildings to clean up and create a system of organization for that area. By tomorrow at 10 am, we have to have a proposal for the area’s maintenance typed up and given to Suki so she can approve them all by next week. However, very few computers and printers that we all can use exist on the premises. And so it was like being back in college on the night before a final paper is due for one course because we were all in the clinic cramming in our cleaning and organizing and then trying to find a free computer into all hours of the night. You would think that we (every one of us college graduates) would have learned not to procrastinate, but alas, we are just keeping in touch with our youth and using adrenaline to get things done.