If you know a little about Chelsea, then you definitely know that she has a soft spot for almost all animals, epecially those that are little (and cute). So when she told me the other day that there were little raccoons in the back yard screming bloody murder all day I didn’t think twice. She told me how she helped one little kit (baby raccoon) back into its nest in a tree in the back with a stick and I thought we were done with that story. Not quite. When more than one little kit made it way out of the nest and started climbing all over the tree, screaming for hours on end the animal lover in her kicked in. We rescued the escapees from the tree, then checked the nest to discover that there were three others – five in all.
We lumped them into a box with some old shirts and empty gatorade bottles filled with warm water. Some of these poor little guys were so weak they could barely move. We took this plus the fact that they were brave enough to leave the nest that they had not eaten in a long time. No worries, Chels new just who to call, as her parents rehabilitated wild animals for the DNR in Michigan for years (and according to her, they had 63 raccoons one summer).
She made up a milk substitute formula and bottle fed those little guys. Above you can see the expertise of a veteran feeder, she wrapped the kits in an extra shirt to keep their legs from flailing all around and getting in the way. It was pretty funny to watch actually, especially when one of their hands would get free and grasp the bottle like above. It took a little while for these guys to realize what was going on, but once they figured out it was food time they really liked it.
Chels used the bathtub as a holding pen for them while going through the feeding process, and I got a kick out of watching them stumble around. At this stage of development, they don’t yet have teeth, their eyes have just opened, and they are still trying to master control of their limbs. That combination makes for a cute pile of baby raccoons.
Of course it is illegal for us to keep them, so we called the right folks and transferred them to Cornell Wildife Clinic in order for them to find a suitable foster home. Apparently people get really worried about raccoons because they can be a rabies vector. You know unike all other animas. Anyway we are glad they found a good home, and are safe and well-fed. I know I learned a thing or two from this experience.