who let the pigs out

it's not written in my journals, but this may have been the week i left a latch to the piglet cage open and they all escaped. in the process, i got a horrible case of poison ivy and theresa tranquillized herself... in retrospect, this was possibly one of the funniest days of my life, but i guess you had to be there.

Week 4


  • Most of the squirrels are growing up enough that they are eating solids, and some refuse to eat formula altogether. I gave one such ornery squirrel, who squealed and fought every time a nipple came near him, a big piece of strawberry and before I even put him back down in his cage he was going to town on it. I put in three more pieces of melon and apple and he ate them up too. If only I could get the rest of the squirrels to catch on to this.

  • Castle West brought in a big animal delivery today, the coolest being an African Spur thigh tortoise, even bigger than the last one we got in. He must have been an ex-pet because he was in such good shape.

  • Also brought in was a newborn rodent of some sort. Petra and I spent nearly a half an hour looking it over and trying to figure out what it was. We think it might be a rat because it’s too small and dark to be a squirrel.

  • An adult opossum also came in, who was severely emaciated and nearly naked because her hair had thinned out or fallen off so badly. Petra and I brought her into the clinic to check her out and saw that she had a horrible flea infestation as well as cataracts. We inspected her pouch to see if there were any babies, but all we found were maggots. Then we worked on cleaning out her ears (also a common place to find maggots) as one of them was severely swollen. It was infected and we spent a good long time flushing out puss and more maggots. To make it even worse she had bloody prolapsed intestines which we couldn’t get to stay in. That will probably require stitches if she makes it through the night.

  • Tonight, or rather early this morning (3am), was my night to give the late squirrel feeding. I went in a bit early to go work on cleaning the refrigerator (my project) and then got to feeding the few guys that needed a late feeding, which were just the smallest guys and the sick ones. The only thing about the late feeding is that the clinic is actually kind of creepy at night with all of the mice running around and other nocturnal animals all stirring, so it is actually kind of noisy in a dark night time creepy way.


  • One of the three little skunks is a little fatty and is not using his back legs, mostly because he can be pretty lazy and just eat all day. So we have to do some physical therapy to get him moving his legs more, which mostly consists of stretching and exercising his legs like little skunk aerobics.

  • The emaciated adult opossum that came in last night is actually doing much better now that she has fresh food and she got all washed up. We think she is a pretty old lady so hopefully we can get her healthy enough to live a little while here.

  • We decided the mystery rodent was a field mouse.


  • The six little opossums that came in a while back are doing very well, in fact, we offered them a dish with their formula in it to see if they would start lapping. A few of them figured it out while the others just walked through the dish and ended up licking it off of each other.

  • The little skunks were finally starting to eat their way through their net cage so we had to put them in one of the outdoor cages. They looked so tiny in such a huge cage!

  • In our effort to fix all of the (not so little) pigs that were born this summer, I helped one of the other interns Ankur catch some pigs in one of the day cages. They are rough and mean so I really just helped corner the pigs while he grabbed them.

  • Tonight was my night to wash dishes in the nutrition center and one of the cats that wanders around the property sat and watched me the entire time. He was probably upset that I still had the lights on in one of the best mouse-catching buildings on the property.


  • Fourteen new squirrels came in from Houston from a rehabilitator who was hit by Hurricane Rita. They are different type of squirrels than around here, fox squirrels, who are much more active as opposed to our squirrels who are much more docile and friendly.

  • Because of the extreme heat the past few days, we decided to bring a few of the large snakes inside. There were three huge ones all about 5 feet long in one of the IC rooms so they could be in the air conditioning.

  • Also brought in from an outside cage was a sugar glider with an injured eye. I had never seen one up close before and it looks like a fuzzy E.T.


  • As I went to feed the R1 squirrels, I realized that one of the little squirrels was missing. I looked all over the room and in every cage but nowhere to be found. I told Noelle and she suggested looking in the laundry basket, apparently a lot of escapees find their way there and just end up going to sleep. And there he was, curled up and loving the freedom.

  • The sugar glider died :(

  • A few cats were dropped off earlier in the week by someone who was evacuating from the hurricane and all of them were in pretty rough shape. In addition, we suspect that they all have FIV.


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