Posted by: Wild Instincts | August 27, 2018

One of These Things

“One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things doesn’t belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?”

This childhood song pops into our heads here at Wild Instincts from time to time. It was in the Top 10 this week following some of our recent admissions. Just like Sesame Street where it originated, we also are about educating people about wildlife and wildlife rehabilitation.

This photo can help us.


Let’s start with what all these “things” have in common.

They are all baby wild animals who would have died without some help.

They all were found by people who recognized that and cared enough to intervene.

All of the caring people who found them tried to help them.

“Did you guess which thing was not like the others?
Did you guess which thing doesn’t belong?
If you guessed the largest bunny on the right is not like the others,
Then you’re absolutely right!”

Wildlife rehabilitators need to know many things. We need to know complete life histories of many different species. Last year we cared for 113 different species. We need to know nutrition, medical, social and many other aspects of each of the species we care for.

The Internet is a wonderful thing. It allows us to bring this message to you. It also allows people with animals in need to find skilled, licensed wildlife rehabilitators to help animals.

The Internet is also a scary thing. There is a lot of misinformation and harmful information masquerading as “fact”. Misinformation many well-meaning people with their heart in the right place use to try to do the right thing.

And so we come to what makes the large bunny different than the others.

The largest bunny on the right was brought to Wild Instincts as a four-day-old orphan immediately after it was found.

The smaller bunnies were not brought to Wild Instincts when they were found. Instead, they were kept by the well-meaning person who found them. They were fed and cared for incorrectly for over a week. A week may not seem like much to us. People have vacations longer than that. However, to a very quickly growing rabbit, it is an extremely long time at a very critical period of development.

The bunny on the right is about 15 days-old and getting ready to be released back into the wild. It was found and brought into Wild Instincts immediately.

The other two bunnies are about 12 days old and fighting each day for lives. It will be a miracle if even one of these survives to be released.

They were found and kept by their rescuer for 8 days. The Internet had provided care instructions. Only after two of the original five died, were the remaining three brought into Wild Instincts.

Look at the photo and really think. All the bunnies in the photo are only 3 days apart in age! THREE DAYS!

Let’s look at the bird in the photo. How is the bird like the malnourished bunnies? This red-eyed vireo was also found and kept by a well-intentioned person. This person fed and cared deeply for this bird for 10 days. It was fed about every hour, approximately 120 feedings over those 10 days. However, it was an incorrect diet.

This bird has metabolic bone disease. It also did not get proper nutrition. As a result, his beak is deformed and his legs are in danger of fracturing. He’s on a complete diet now, but there is a great chance that he will never be able to overcome the malnutrition he experienced during his critical growth periods.

The “one of these things that’s not like others” turns out to be the animal that was brought to a wildlife rehabilitator right away.

In Wisconsin, the law allows a person 24 hours in which to get a wild animal to a wild rehabilitator. This ensures the animal can get proper care from licensed, skilled people. It is also against the law for rehabbers to give out care instructions to the general public except for that which is necessary to keep the animal alive until it can reach a licensed person.

All of the animals in the photo have in common that they are now getting the best care Wild Instincts experienced, trained staff can provide.

For three of them, though, it may not be enough. For three of them, their struggles could have been prevented had they been brought in sooner.

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