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Not cats, but a rescue story

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I got a call yesterday morning from someone that had found baby opossums. All to often I get calls from people that may be well intentioned but simply doing the absolute wrong thing. A few recent examples:

I found these baby birds IN A NEST and so I brought them in, can you come get them? (Right thing to do LEAVE THEM ALONE!)

I found this young bird with feathers but not flying (i.e. a fledgling) and I brought it in, can you come get it? (Right thing to do: LEAVE IT ALONE - MOM WILL FEED IT ON THE GROUND AS IT LEARNS TO FLY!)

My dog found a nest of baby rabbits, can I bring them to you? (Right thing to do: KEEP THE DOG AWAY AND LEAVE THEM ALONE! Baby rabbits have a VERY HIGH mortality rate in rehab, best left with mom.)

And the kicker: The police department from a local town (Cary, NC) called that someone had found a white tailed deer fawn laying down in a field and was holding it. Can I take care of it for them? (Right thing to do: LEAVE IT ALONE, UNLESS MOM IS HIT ON THE ROAD SHE'S ALMOST CERTAINLY HIDING IN THE WOODS NEARBY!) At least in this case they hadn't gone far so the baby was released and bolted into the woods. Mom should have had no trouble finding her.

Anyway, I went up there and found them in a box on the porch, about 8 weeks old. I rang the door and asked where they were found and where was mom (expecting they found them in the woods and mom was actually "playing possum".) As it turned out, mom had been hit by a car. The young lady (~20 yrs) had found 6 in the pouch and 1 making noise in the nearby grass. Her mom, who lived with her and her husband, had originally told her to leave them there and was worried about rabies. I reassured them both, opossums are NOT considered rabies vectors even in high infection areas (though they can, they rarely develop the disease even when exposed.) And baby opossums are sooooo cute!! I did go an check mom, just up the road. She was very definitely killed by a car. I also checked the surrounding grass, no other babies. This young lady did a really nice thing, it really was one of those moments that warms your heart.

Well, I brought them home: 6 males and 1 female, all round 44 grams and seemed quite healthy. I offered them some formula from both a small bottle and a feeding syringe (KMR for those that have dealt with it) but they weren't even hungry. I really want to raise them, but I have to head out of town for a short trip in a couple of days, so I went ahead and transferred them to another rehabber. They should do fine. What a happy ending, I was so pleased.
post #2 of 2
Great story - it's always good to hear a happy ending whether it involved kitties or not!

Thanks also, for tips concerning other common wildlife situations. As you said, people mean well, but don't always do the right thing when it comes to helping wild babies.
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