Posted by: Wild Instincts | May 30, 2013

Weasel Woes

The phone rang about 11:00 a.m.

“Good Morning, Wild Instincts”

“Hi. I have 3 baby weasels. I got them on Saturday. They’re really good eaters and doing well. I just don’t have time to take care of them. They’re about 3 days old.”

“You got them on Saturday and they’re 3 days old now?”

“Yep. They’re about 3 days old.”

“You’ve had them since Saturday? That’s been 5 days all ready.”

“Oh. I guess they’re 8 days then.”

“What have you been feeding them?”

“Some formula I got at the store”

“What formula?”

“I  don’t know. I think it starts with a C”

“Well, they have very specific and special needs”

“Oh, they are doing very well on what I’ve been giving them!”

And so it began. The conversation continued and transportation was arranged.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen Weasel Formula on the shelf in a store-not even a pet store! She said they were doing really well. Hmmm. Maybe they’re not really weasels. Weasels have a very high metabolism and special protein needs.

The driver arrived with them, confirming our worst fears. They were weasels and in extremely critical condition!! Dehydrated and extremely malnourished. And much older. But because they are so malnourished and stunted it’s hard to judge a correct age..maybe closer to 2 weeks old?


Three baby weasels dehydrated, emaciated and in critical condition.

Emaciated baby weasel. Can you count the ribs?

Emaciated baby weasel. Can you count the ribs?

There was a note with them:

“Colored tails so I could tell who I had fed. Peanut = smallest, green on tail. Butter = biggest, no color. Jelly = purple on tail. They eat 4-6ml every 3-4 hrs. Have been feeding colostrum. Sat/Sun mixed colostrum with Pedialyte.”

Ugh. We’re thinking they may be short-tailed weasels but one of the identifying characteristics is the tip of the tail. This person COLORED the tails the color of the rainbow so we can’t tell for sure. Right now they are in critical condition and we are doing our best to make sure they survive until we can determine for sure.

Also, 4 or 6 milliliters are outrageous amounts for a tiny creatures weighing 5, 7, and 8 grams!  The female, weighing 5 grams, is the same weight as a quarter from your change jar!!

The eyedropper on the top holds 5 ml. The eyedropper on the bottom holds 1 ml.

The eyedropper on the top holds 5 ml. The eyedropper on the bottom holds 1 ml.

We hear it all the time “I wish I had your job. It must be so fun and rewarding”.

Here is the reality- while it can be rewarding and fun, most often it is frustrating and heartbreaking. Well over 95% of our admissions are from human causes. When humans, regardless of their good intentions, think they can read junk on the Internet and help, they make it way, way worse. Rehabbers then have to fix compounded human interference. IF  it’s even possible and if we can with the limited resources we have.

If you found a person on the street in need of medical help, would you take the person home, put him in bed, let your kids jump all over the bed while you research how to help him online? Just because you watch some medical shows on TV does that make you more qualified to attempt to heal him?

Or would you call the experts like an ambulance, EMT or doctor?

When it comes to helping wildlife in need, licensed, permitted wildlife rehabilitators ARE the experts. We know you care about the animal or you wouldn’t have stopped to help it in the first place. Do right by it by calling us right away. We are available 24/7/365.

It really is a matter of life or death.


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