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"If you talk to the animals
They will talk to you
and you will know each other.
If you do not talk to them,
You will not know them,
And what you do not know
You will fear.
What one fears one destroys."
- Chief Dan George

Mammals Offspring

In the June Newsletter, the problems and helpful information for young  Avians (birds) was the topic. This month, it is the mammal  offspring that will be covered.

There are about twenty mammals that are common to the Finger Lakes area of New York State. For your interest they are:

Bats, Beavers, Eastern Chipmunk, Eastern Cottontail, Eastern Coyote, Eastern Gray Squirrel, Eastern Red Squirrel, Gray Fox, Red Fox, Mice, Moles, Shrews, Muskrat, Porcupine, Racoon, Southern Flying Squirrel, Striped Skunk, Virginia Opossum, Weasels, White Tail Deer and Woodchuck.
 
The mammals that you will generally see or have some contact with, are the Eastern Cottontail (rabbit or bunny),  Eastern Gray or Red Squirrel, Virginia Opossom  (which is really classified as a marsupial (a pouched animal).

The Eastern Cottontail, which will be referred to here as “bunny,” is a common mammal which you will find in shallow nests covered with grass and mother’s fur. The nests can be almost anywhere, even in your front yard. Mother bunnies come to nurse their young at dawn and dusk. You will rarely see her, so don’t think she has abandoned her nest. Often baby bunnies come creeping out of their nests to nibble on grass. They often get disturbed by lawn mowers, cats or dogs. If your cat or dog brings you his prize, the bunny needs help. If found in a cat or dog’s mouth, it may come in contact with the bacteria,  pasturella  (found mostly in the cat).  If not put on antibiotics, the bunny will die within three days. Call  a wildlife rehabilitator!

Eastern Gray and Red Squirrels are sometimes found hit by a moving vehicle. Generally,  they will need the help of a wildlife rehabilitator. In some cases, we will consult with one of our three veterinarians.  You may found their young on the ground, at various stages of development. As with bunnies, if found in a dog or cat’s mouth they will need the help of a wildlife rehabilitator.  95% of squirrels build their nests in the tallest part of trees.
If found on the ground, it is unlikely that you can replace them in their nest. Speak to a wildlife rehabliltator to see if the found squirrel will need nurturing to an age of releasability.

The Virginia Opossom is an unusual animal. They have roamed the Earth with the dinosaur and survived the Great Extinction. They are a marsupial animal and like the kangaroo, develop and nurse their young in a pouch on their lower abdomen. The most common problem one will find with opossums comes after the mother is killed. If developed to a certain stage, they will crawl out of the pouch. These animals need immediate care. In order to feed and care for them, a wildlife rehabilitator will feed the opossom by inserting a tube into it’s mouth, which it will swallow. It will be fed a special formula until it becomes old enough to lap out of a shallow dish and begin eating it’s normal adult diet.

A special request from your wildlife rehabilitator:
Do not come in contact with Rabies Vector (carrying) Species. Here, they are:
raccoons, bats and skunks. 
If there is trouble, call your local Department of Health!
   
Next month, our local large mammals will be the topic.
                                                                             
- Trish Zimmerman

 

 

 

 

 

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