Posted by: Wild Instincts | May 20, 2013

Unintentional Spring Cleaning

Now that the weather is warmer and the Unofficial-Start-To-Summer also known as Memorial Day is looming on the horizon, many people are out in their yards working in their gardens, getting the summer cabins ready for the season or just trying to shake out the last of winter by communing with nature. That means many human activities will overlap with many wild animal activities.
Over 95% of our patient admissions are due to human activity. Often animals need help due to unintentional consequences to normal human activity that with some education and thought can be prevented.
This litter of raccoons was admitted very late last night. Their mom had been live- trapped and relocated as a nuisance. It wasn’t until the next day her now orphaned litter was discovered.

A litter of 4-week-old raccoon babies orphaned when their mom was live-trapped and relocated.

A litter of 4-week-old raccoon babies orphaned when their mom was live-trapped and relocated.


This is the time of year in Wisconsin most animals have young ones or are about to have young ones.
Please keep this in mind as you are cutting trees for new construction, tilling the garden, or cleaning up the camper or cottage. It is possible that the red squirrel you saw under your camper has babies tucked inside or the bunny in your yard has babies in the garden.
Does this mean we should suspend all our spring cleaning activities? No. But be smart about it. If you have a nest of squirrels or raccoons in the garage, play a radio to make it too noisy to be a good nursery. Then leave the area and give the mom time to move her babies to a more suitable location. If you stay around to watch, she may not be comfortable moving them in front of you. If you do accidentally, live-trap an animal check to see if it’s a nursing female BEFORE relocating her.
If you find a nest of bunnies in your yard/garden, if you can leave them alone that would be best. Rabbit mom’s only nurse their young twice/day, generally in early morning and evening. Protect the nest from pets by putting a small fence around it, making sure mom still can get to the nest, but others can’t. You’ll also remember where it is so you don’t accidentally run over it with the lawnmower or rototiller. Bunnies are on their own in the wild when they are about 16 days of age, so any inconvenience you may experience will last only a couple weeks.
Go out, enjoy the outdoors as the Northwoods comes alive. Do your spring cleaning. Just keep in mind we share it with lots of different wildlife who deserve some consideration.
After all, they are what make the Northwoods so enjoyable!

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