Charlie’s story…

We where recently contacted by a Humane Society in Ontario inquiring if we where able to take a Mink. I consented and that is how Charlie the little mink arrived at Hobbitstee.

Charlie’s story is unusual and sad in a way. Charlie is a juvenile mink who was released from a mink farm by animal rights activist. Due to disease risks (because he had actually left the farm) the farmer would not take Charlie back, so I agreed to give Charlie a home. This was an unusual decision on my part as we do not deal with domestic animals, but mink are considered native wildlife and so I agreed to give it a try. I did however state that I would only keep Charlie if his new life did not cause him to much stress.

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Luckily Charlie is adapting fine and is showing stress free behavior. He is eating well and loves to play in his new enclosure. Plans are underway to build an enclosure with a build in swimming pool because mink are considered to be semi-aquatic. We will work with Charlie so that he will hopefully be able to serve as an Animal Ambassador for Hobbitstee and join us out and about when we do educational events. Charlie can help educate people about Mink and others in the weasel family and he will serve as a reminder as to why we as humans really need to think through our actions and the consequences of these actions.

Charlie was lucky, but many of the released mink will not be so lucky…

Mink are a native species of wildlife in Ontario, but are also kept in domestic settings for the production of fur coats. Setting personal feelings about the fur farming industry aside I will go out on a limb and speak out strongly against what these animal rights activists have done. These types of actions can potentially have devastating effects on our natural wildlife and cause harm to the animals directly involved.

By releasing hundreds of non-native mink amongst the native population of mink and other wildlife the natural balance gets upset. Mink are fierce little predators and there is only so much prey to go around. Habitat space can also become an issue. Never mind the chances of potential disease transfer or the introduction of non-native genetic strains into our wild population.

Aside from that the farmed mink have been bred in captivity for generation after generation. In doing so they have been domesticated. They have had their meals served in bowls their whole lives and for many generations. Many of the mink after having been ‘released’ simply returned to their cages when feeding time came around.

Not all of them did, some got run over on the road, some got eaten by predators and many will have starved to death by now because they do not know how to catch live prey like their wild counter parts.

I can not call this act by these animal rights activist anything other than cruelty to animals. The released mink who starved to death will certainly agree with me.

I have experience with handling wild mink and they are ferocious creatures who are very difficult to handle. Charlie is fond of having his belly rubbed and he will beg for every person who comes near him to do so.  Not exactly behavior I have ever seen in wild mink. This is further to prove my point that farmed mink are domesticated.

Non of this is taking into account the hardship this caused to the farmer and his family who suffered serious financial losses as a result of these actions.

I understand that people might not agree with fur-farming, but you can only make a fundamental changes by educating the public about the ‘plight’ of these fur-farmed animals.

When there is no demand for the product, production will seize.

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Wildlife and our garbage

With the summer heat setting in we are all looking for a cool treat or drink. Iced coffee’s/caps, flurries, blizzard treats and such are favored by many, and all these have one thing in common…That little plastic lid with the big hole in it.

Those lids are turning out to be a huge challenge for our scavenging wildlife. Their heads will go in the cups, but when they pull out their heads they find these plastic lids stuck around their neck.

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Me holding a skunk with a lid stuck around his neck   

I am not exaggerating. It is a common occurrence and it can cause some serious issues. I have on many occasions been busy live trapping animals in such a predicament. The variety of wildlife that find themselves adorned with an ice cap necklace is surprising. It ranges from raccoons, skunks to opossums and even a squirrel who had one wrapped around his belly. Those lids are right up there with balloons, 6 pack plastic rings, fishing line and fishing lures for causing harm to wildlife.

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Fish line wrapped tightly around the leg of a goose
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another goose leg with fish line wrapped around it in this case so tight for so long the leg was lost.
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Someone missing a fishing lure? Hooked not ones but twice in this goose foot/leg.

As people we often do things such as release balloons to celebrate something. The balloons will return to the earth eventually and many cause harm to wildlife when they are ingested.

slightly of topic, but another issue I have is with the releasing of doves to celebrate weddings and such. I often get calls about sad looking white doves that are not doing well. That is what happens with those doves. They are domestic birds, raised in a domestic environment and they have no idea how to survive in the wild and they don’t belong in the wild. They are not a native species.

Those things are bad enough, but worse yet are the occurrences when someone does something seemingly innocuous like dumping some left over diesel/gasoline fuel down a catch basin. The dumped fuel proceeds to travel into a nearby creek and eventually ends up in one of our Great Lakes.

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Swan who was covered in diesel fuel.

At Hobbitstee we have an oil rescue team on standby at all times and we have seen first hand the devastation these types of easily prevented spills causes in waterfowl and semi-aquatic mammals. It is heartbreaking to watch majestic swans succumb to respiratory issues as a result from inhaling fuel fumes or struggle to clean oiled geese or ducks.

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geese covered in oil

I respectfully ask that as we enjoy the great outdoors this summer that we take care with our garbage. Garbage belongs in garbage cans. Garbage cans that need to be wildlife proof. Let’s dispose of dangerous goods the right way and not by polluting our creeks and lakes. And those balloons released at weddings or to send messages to loved ones in heaven can cause wildlife to suffer or die upon returning to the earth, so let’s come up with some better less polluting ways of conveying our joy or sadness.

I suggest and encourage the planting of native species of trees and/or plants to commemorate events and to remember loved ones who have passed.

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Foxes come and go

Mid April I received a call from a concerned man who had a fox den underneath his deck. He was concerned because he had seen the vixen move 4 kits and he had not seen her since, but he could still hear kits underneath the deck.

I asked him to make sure not to be the disturbing factor that would scare of the vixen, but to very carefully keep an eye out for her. I also told him that as long as the kits stay in the den they are okay, but if they start coming out of the den as young as they where at that time there is a problem.

We kept in touch over the phone over the next two days until he called me and told me they where starting to come out of the den. I drove down immediately to go and have a look.

I am passionate about not making orphans where there aren’t any and sometimes mother animals are simply not seen when they go and spent time with their babies.

In this case the kits proved to be true orphans because they where weak, lethargic and dehydrated when I arrived. I retrieved 5 fox kits and brought them back home to Hobbitstee.

fox kits snuggled under a heat light
Fox Kit on weigh day

They where still pretty tiny and underweight. For the first while they received intensive care and stayed under neath their heat light. Handling with foxes is always at an absolute minimum because they are easily habituated to humans and that will get them killed as adults.

One did not recover from it’s dehydrated state and passed away, but the other 4 grew fast as they ate me out of house and home.

About a month after arriving we moved them to our outside enclosure. After this move the care was reduced to hands off only. That means that feeding was done while they slept (when possible) and all though I would catch the occasional glimpse of them playing and running around, they did not see much of me.

We needed to give them the opportunity to learn how to hunt their own meals and so we started introducing live mice into their enclosure. Mice are a staple in any wild fox diet.

Last Saturday it was finally time for these guys to return to an undisclosed location close to their point of origin.

The release went well and the location was perfect.

Amy releasing the first 2 kits
they took of like a bat out of hell to start their new life
Aaron releasing 2 more reluctant kits
They did not want to leave their crate
reluctantly the first one comes out
and decides to make a run for it
this one is not sure about all this
but stopped and posed for me
And walked past me to go and live it’s life as it should…in the wild
Showing of a little by jumping a puddle

Often people ask me why I do what I do…This is why. I love the moments where I can release these animals back into their habitat knowing they have all the skills they need to survive. To me it feels like a job well done. It balances out the often brutal nature of wildlife rehabilation and it softens the sadness, frustration and heart aches that come with the job.

We now set our sites on raising the money to expand the fox enclosure so that we can do an even better job next year. We welcome all donations…(see our website at: http://www.hobbitstee.com to contribute)

All of us at Hobbitstee wish our 4 fox kits a happy life!

A tail of turtle releases and humanity at it’s worst…

Last weekend I decided to combine business and pleasure. Two of the turtles at Hobbitstee where ready for release. One needed to be returned to Mildmay and the other to Tobemory.

We decided to combine business and pleasure and planned a weekend away so that we could enjoy the two gorgeous National Parks located near Tobemory. I rarely have time to do things like this, so I was very excited.

The first turtle release was amazing. That turtle had been at Hobbitstee since September of 2014 and he was in really bad shape when he arrived. He had returned to murky water after having been injured and he had a raging infection. I spent months battling this infection and it took everything and the kitchen sink to safe his life, but he made it and I released him back into the waters of his home.

Snapping Turtle released in Mildmay
Snapping Turtle released in Mildmay

The second turtle’s injuries where less serious, but it was still delightful to release her into a very nice wetland really close to the GSP coordinates given to me by the finder.

Midland Painted turtle release
Midland Painted turtle release

With both turtles released it was time for us to have some fun. Finding a campsite proved to be a bit of a challenge, but we managed. The next morning we started on the list of things we wanted to see and do. High on my list was Singing Sands because I had hopes of seeing a real life EMR. As the only venomous snake in Ontario they are really rare and an endangered species, but there is a somewhat healthy population on the Bruce Peninsula. My hopes where squashed rather quickly.

As soon as we arrived at Singing Sands I was horror struck. The tiny parking lot was milling with way to many people who all where trying to pile on a tiny stretch of beach and in the process they where actively trampling all the gorgeous orchids and other sensitive plant that grow there.

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We walked down the boardwalk conveniently put there so you can enjoy the wetlands opposite the beach. Although I enjoyed seeing the unique flora and fauna I was once again disgusted with peoples behavior. Children left unsupervised where running around through the wetland away from the pathways and boardwalk to chase/catch frogs and in the process obliterating the delicate little orchids that grow there. I bit my tongue for as long as I could, but eventually had to tell the kids to stop doing that.

The throng of humanity present there seemed utterly oblivious of their surroundings. The surroundings that make Bruce National Park so unique. It left me feeling sad. I don’t understand how or why people go there and try their best to destroy what made them come there in the first place. My heart goes out to the Canada Parks staff who have to witness this carnage day after day.

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orchid

It wasn’t long before I simply could not take it anymore and had to leave.  I had to battle utter stupidity to make my way out of the parking lot. We had to forgo the other amazing sights of Tobemory due to the insane # of people waiting for the boats and swarming the hiking trails which really takes the fun out of it for me.

I am sad to say I could not leave Tobemory fast enough…

I write this to remind people to open their eyes and look around. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle, but please enjoy the beauty of nature and try not to be an invasive presence in it. Teach your children to respect their surroundings and observe common sense such as staying on designated pathways so that you are not ruining the experience for the next person to come along or even generations to come.

As seen on TV or Google…

I am seeing a trend this year. A very scary trend. It has to do with wildlife being kept in captivity. Something that is a violation under the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act in Ontario. According to our laws you have 24 hours to get a wild animal help, but somehow the # of calls I get in regards to wildlife in captivity is on the rise.

Often I get told ‘I have seen this on tv, so I know what I am doing’ or ‘I have googled it, so I can do this’. I hope you can see how this does not make any sense. Caring for injured/orphaned wildlife is a delicate job. Many animals require medical care. Often by the time I receive animals people have ‘tried’ to help and the animals are suffering as a direct result of these attempts and some even die.

Also the zoonotic disease factor is often forgotten. No matter how cute the animal, many can carry diseases that can seriously harm humans

A website giving you detailed ‘DIY wildlife rehab’ information is by definition wrong. There is no ‘one guide fits all’ solution for wildlife rehab. It requires skills and years of experience.

A lady called me yesterday asking me to help her splint a broken wing on a gosling so that she could rehabilitate it. I tried to explain that things don’t work that way. That I will gladly care for the gosling and will deal with it’s broken wing, but she can’t keep it. I explained about human imprinting that will prevent this gosling from having a normal goose life etc. She never brought me the gosling…

This is just one of many examples. This animal needs medical care that the veterinarians I work with and myself can provide, but now it will go without and if the poor thing survives it will have bonded with humans instead of it’s own kind and will have no change of ever having a normal life.

I have said it before and will say it again. Having good intentions does not serve as an excuse. Cruelty to animals is cruelty to animals. If your dog gets hit by a car you take it to the vet, but somehow people feel a need to try and ‘fix’ wildlife themselves.

Orphaned wildlife needs to be raised by people who know what they are doing. People who keep the wild nature of the animal in mind and will understand what it needs to survive in the wild. Wildlife belongs in the wild, needs to be left wild. No human/wildlife interaction ever benefits wildlife…it always benefits humans.

I write this because it breaks my heart to see the well intended cruel acts people perpetrate on wildlife claiming to do the right thing. I wish people would use their energy to truly do good for wildlife. Things like protecting habitat, helping turtles safely cross a road or planting native plants and trees that benefit wildlife etc.

When people see images, videos or real life incidents of human habituated wildlife they often smile and think it is cute…I want to cry because it is unnatural behavior for such animals and it hurts me to see it.

I recently had the opportunity to have a discussion with Dr. Don Hoglund (More on Dr. Hoglund), a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and animal trainer extraordinaire. We discussed the battle we both wage on anthropomorphism (giving human thoughts and feelings to animals).

The discussion was related to that we humans have no idea what animals think. We can not read their thoughts. We don’t know if they are happy or sad, all we have to go on is natural behavior. We can in someways measure their health through blood tests etc and as a wildlife rehabilitator and farmer I look for natural behavior to judge how the animal in question is doing and that is all we have to go on.

I can not tell you how many times I have been on the receiving end of an animal in shock or worse and had the person bringing it out tell me it is fine because it is calm and quiet…It appears calm, but that is due to shock, not due to the fact that it is comfortable being cradled by humans.

Wildlife is per definition wild and needs to stay that way. I have made it my mission as an Authorized Wildlife Custodian to speak for the animals who can not speak for themselves. Understand that in that process I might hurt your feelings, this is nothing personal. It is merely an effort on my part to get you (people in general) to see the other side of things.

I am appreciative of every call I get where people ask me advice before they act. I love it when people call and say I just found an injured …(whatever the animal), can you take it. My answer is always yes. It is what we do here at Hobbitstee. It’s what we are good at…We appreciate it when people bring the animals to us. Wildlife rehabilitators receive no funding. Much of the expenses are paid out of pocket by me, so not having to drive helps me financially and saves me time.

In the last couple of days: Thank you lady from Ingersoll who found the turtle and thank you lady who found the itty-bitty baby bat. You are both awesome! Thank you lady who called about the fox kits she was worried about. Thank you for calling before acting!!!!

Our Turtle Project needs your help

Every year we have done more and better with our turtle project. Last year we worked with several agencies and where successful in getting turtle crossing signs erected in a sensitive wetland area. We are continuing to work on getting more of these signs erected.
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We successfully assisted a variety of injured turtles and we also hatched turtle eggs we recovered from a gravid turtle female killed on the road.
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These hatchlings where recently released and in doing so we where able to somewhat reduce the genetic loss of the breeding age female who lost her life on her way to lay her eggs.

With some of the funding we received from Imperial Oil we where able to purchase a new incubator. Turtles mostly lay their eggs during the month of June, so we ask that if you see a recently deceased turtle during the month of June that you collect it for us (please wear gloves) and get it to us asap. We need the whole turtle and the exact location where the turtle was found. The dead turtle needs to be kept at what ever the temp is and should not be refrigerated.  We are hoping to recover and hatch as many eggs as possible to help our ailing turtle population.

I know this is asking a lot, but we really need your help with this as we lack the funding, resources and man-power to drive all over to pick up dead turtles.

Keep in mind that we can not and will not touch (and neither should you) actual active nest sites no matter how inconvenient the location of those nests may be. Doing this would be a violation of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act as well as the Endangered Species Act. 7 out of the 8 species of turtles we have in ON are on the Endangered Species List.

As always we also ask you to be on the look out for turtles on the road. They need help crossing, but please don’t risk human lives in doing this. Make sure it is safe for you to pull over and get out of the car. Please cross turtles in the direction they are going and don’t move them to a different location or turn them around. They are purposely going somewhere and disrupting them is not helpful.

If you find an injured turtle we can help. Thanks to some of the Imperial Oil funding we will be able to rehab more turtles this year as we where able to add some much needed housing for larger turtles like Snapping Turtles. Please do not leave an injured turtle by the side of the road and do nothing. Call us, Call he local humane society, animal control or another wildlife facility. Our turtle population is declining and each specimen counts. Never transport a turtle in water (they might drown).

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Even if the injuries on the turtle look really bad, please don’t just leave it to die a slow painful death. Turtles are able to recover from some really serious injuries, but if they can’t they deserve a humane end.

The turtle in the picture below was dropped off at a vet clinic. The vet in question was going to euthanize her because he thought the injuries where to serious. He opted to give us a call and we where able to help her make a full recovery.

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Another problem turtles have to deal with is fishing hooks/lines. They get tangled in the discarded line and some of the larger turtles have a habit of swallowing baited hooks. Fishermen, please take your discarded line with you and please don’t just cut your line when you snag a turtle. Research has shown that prevalence of swallowed fishhooks increases with size.

This means that often it is Snapping Turtles who get hooked and in rare cases Spiny Softshell Turtles (only because the species it self is rare). Snapping Turtles are listed as special concern and the Spiny Softshell Turtles as threatened on the endangered species list.

Removing a fishhook from a large Turtle is not an easy thing, but I would still urge you not to simply cut your line as that could mean a long and slow death sentence for the turtle.

Luckily the fisherman who caught the Spiny Softshell in the picture knew what to do and she was helped by Dr. Sweetman from the Downtown Vet Clinic in Windsor. He surgically removed the hook and she made a full recovery.

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If the hook is swallowed and you are willing to take a change you can get the Turtle to bite down on a stick and use curved pliers to remove the hook by bending it back the same way it went in, but keep in mind that a Turtle neck can stretch a long way and that a bite can result in a serious injury.

The best way to hold a Snapping turtle is with one hand under its carapace (bottom shell) and using the tail to stabilize the turtle. Never pick a Snapping Turtle up by it’s tail as this can actually cause spinal injuries and causes a great deal of pain to the turtle.

If you need to transport a turtle a good size plastic tote or other type of box will do. Never transport a turtle in water (they may drown), make sure that there is air holes and that the turtle can’t tip the box or push the lid of.

If you can’t get the hook out because it is to deeply embedded or the turtle is uncooperative never hesitate to contact an Authorized Wildlife Custodian near you. We have the skills, tools and resources to deal with cases like this.

And lastly..we need funds to expand our turtle project. $350 buys us another incubator (and yes we need a couple more), $500 buys a Snapping Turtle Enclosure and $100 buys an enclosure for a smaller turtle. These are all things we will use for many years to come. $1000 buys the medication to take care of one injured Snapping Turtle, $45 buys and x-ray, $10 will feed a turtle for a day, so as you can see all donations count. In return for your donations we will send you a tax receipt and you will have the satisfaction in knowing you made a difference.

 

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us. chantal@hobbitstee.com or 519 587 2980

Fawns

Because the majority of the fawns we cared for last year where not actually orphaned or injured, but fawn-napped by people. I am on a mission to better educate people so that they understand the natural behavior of these animals and as a result reduce the number of fawns who get mistakenly end up in care.

First and foremost like with many other species of wildlife babies, just because you see a fawn by itself does not make it an orphan. Mother deer leave their babies hidden when they go off and eat. They return 2-3 times daily to feed the fawns.

I will give you that deer are not always smart about where they hide their babies, but as it stands the vast majority of fawns that come into rehab have no business being here but where kidnapped by humans.

Kidnapping is of course not always the case: I applaud the gentleman who jumped into the Nith River last year to save a fawn that had a foot stuck and was at risk of being swept away.

Man Braves Nith River to rescue a fawn

Well done sir! And he did the right thing and turned the animal over to an Authorized Wildlife Custodian and this fawn was safe cared for by professionals.

I also applaud the Brampton Humane Society who brought out a fawn that was found next to its dead mother last year. Job well done!

Both these fawns needed to be here and where successfully released.

Last year I had a call from a long ways away from here from someone who had found a fawn that she felt was in very bad shape because it was just laying there. I had my suspicions and because it was so far away I could not go out there and have a look. I made a call to an awesome vet I know in the area who readily agreed to drive out and go and see that fawn (free of charge). He called me back later and said the fawn was fine and not in trouble at all. He is ensuring the fawn was returned to where it was found and reunited with its mother.

In my experience the problem is that people generally do not understand the animals behavior and use human standards to make judgement calls. Human standards or even pet standards don’t work for wildlife.

a short video of fawn behavior

The fawn that was just laying there was actually doing what fawns do when they are scared. They will lay flat to the ground and not move and they hope you don’t see them…This is natural behavior and just because you think this fawn looks calm it is not.  I can assure you it is scared to death and you might just be inducing a 100% lethal condition called Capture Myopathy in this fawn. Capture Myopathy is on a 2 day delay, so the full effects can’t be seen until much later.

Mother deer will gladly have their babies back and will spent 48-72 hours or so looking for them if they go missing, so unless the fawn is sick or injured I will tell people to go and take it back to where they found it when they call me about a fawn.

Last year there was been an alarming trend with people who have kept the fawn in their possession for a week or more. This is not a good thing as it prevents us from being able to reunite fawn and mother, but it also often results in cases of unintentional cruelty to animals.

Taking care of a fawn is not easy and it requires a lot of knowledge. It is imperative that the fawn does not become habituated to humans or dogs. It might look cute to see a fawn play with a dog, but imagine what a strange dog might do to the fawn/deer. Human habituation in it self is also detrimental. Fawns who are raised by humans without con-specific interaction will grow up with an identity crisis. These animals do not realize they are actually deer and will not know to approach other deer or how to live in a normal herd of deer. An example of a human habituated deer story

This might look really cute, but is in fact really sad behavior. The animal in that story has no chance at surviving as a result of his human habituation.

Fawns also need to be fed properly. Store bought goats milk will do in a pinch, but is not a long term solution.

So if you do see a fawn and it does not look emaciated or dehydrated (a dehydrated fawn often has curled up ears) or it doesn’t appear injured please just cherish the moment and move on to let the mother deer return and take care of her baby. If you are in doubt, do not hesitate to contact us or another rehab facility before you take the fawn home.

list of wildlife rehab facilities in ON

If you can’t reach a rehabber,  a vet, MNR office or your local humane society/SPCA can also assist.

For those of you who are currently in the possession of a fawn or other wildlife note that you are breaking the law and that you are not doing the animal any favors. Please do the right thing and turn the animal over to any of the above mentioned places. What you are doing is not in the animals best interest…

What to do when you find a baby raccoon

raccoon kitRaccoons in Ontario will start having their kits (babies) around the middle of March each year. They have adapted well to urban areas, so they will often invade our spaces (homes, barns, sheds) to create a den site.

At Hobbitstee we get literally several 1000 calls annually about orphaned baby raccoons. The reality is that many of these raccoon kits aren’t orphaned at all. People forget that mother raccoons also have to eat and to do this they must go out and leave their kits. As the kits get older the mother will leave them for extended periods of time and sometimes the kits wake up and they will cry for their mother.

If you suspect you have orphaned raccoon kits on your property you should observe from a distance to see if she comes and feed them. You need to observe for at least one whole night before you can assume they are orphaned.

When you do feel there are actually truly orphaned you can go and look at them. It is easy to recognize a hungry raccoon kit. Another sign there is no mother caring for them is the excessive presence of external parasites such flees and ticks.

If you are certain the kits are orphaned (ideally you located the deceased mother) than you can put the raccoon kits in a secure box lined with some towels. Put the box in a warm, dry and dark spot while you call your local wildlife rehabilitator.

To locate your local one please visit the following link: http://www.ontariowildlifecustodians.ca/AWCmap.php

Make sure to always wear gloves when handling raccoon kits. They can potentially carry diseases harmful to humans. Keep them away from your pets as they can also be at risk.

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Act (FWCA) gives you a 24 hour window to locate a wildlife custodian to take the kits. If you are unable to do so, many Animal Controls, SPCA, Humane Societies will assist as well (but they don’t have to, so you can’t make them). Don’t assume the above-mentioned agencies will automatically euthanize the kits. We have a great working relationship with many of these agencies and they bring us wildlife on a regular basis.

Your veterinarian might be able to assist you over the phone and point you towards your local wildlife rehabilitator, but due to a high prevalence of canine distemper in raccoons (lethal to non-vaccinated dogs/puppies) a vet will likely not allow you to bring the kits to a clinic and that is understandable.

Also understand that as wildlife rehabilitators we can only manage to raise a finite number of raccoon kits. Full is full. We cannot compromise our standard of care for the sake of numbers. It becomes a quality versus quantity issue. That is why it is so important to make absolutely sure the kits you found are truly orphaned.

As wildlife rehabilitators we are under distance restriction as outlined by the MNRF rules and regulations pertaining to the care of Rabies Vector Species (raccoons fall under this category), so please make sure you contact your local wildlife rehabilitator.

Eventually all injured and orphaned wildlife does end up with a wildlife rehabilitator, so if you are able you might want to consider making a donation towards the care of the animal you send them. All wildlife rehabilitators are non-for-profit and many have charitable status, so you might be able to get a tax receipt in return.

Never, ever under any circumstances feed the kits. Food is not at the top of their list of immediate requirements. Do not feed them cows milk, goats milk, or whatever else you think they might eat. Feeding wildlife orphans the wrong food at the wrong time can be lethal and once they have ingested it we cannot take it out.

Each situation calls for a different approach and there is no one-size fits all solution. That is why the Internet DIY websites are such a bad thing.

You may also not keep the raccoon kits to raise yourself. This would be a violation of the FWCA. In Ontario Conservation Officers are charged with the enforcement of this act, but our OPP can also enforce the FWCA.

IMG_0061Aside from the breaking of the law, it really is not in the best interest of the animals to be raised by you in your home. Wildlife Rehabilitation is a skilled profession.

In doing so you would be putting your own health and potentially your family or pets health at risk. There are several diseases and parasites raccoons can carry that can be lethal to humans.

If you have questions feel free to send us an email: chantal@hobbitstee.com

Ducks and waterfowl are starving to death due to frigid temperatures

Global News

WATCH ABOVE: In parts of Canada and the United States, starving and sick ducks and waterfowl means wildlife rescues are at capacity caring for birds in need, impacted by the frigid cold. Allison Vuchnich reports.

TORONTO – The record-breaking bitter cold weather has been treacherous and deadly for ducks and waterfowl this winter.

“A lot of birds are starving to death right now,” said Chantal Theijn, who runs Hobbitstee Wildlife Refuge, in southwestern Ontario.

Hobbitstee and other wildlife rehabilitation centres are caring for waterfowl that are injured, emaciated and dehydrated.

The problem is waterfowl need open water, and with ice still covering more than 83 per cent of the Great Lakes, as well as smaller bodies of water, open water is tough to find.

“Where they normally land there is now ice, so they are flying around not knowing what to do,” Theijn told Global News, “eventually they…

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Water Fowl are in trouble.

With the cold temperatures we have been having, many waterfowl are running into trouble.

Many waterfowl are depleting energy reserves in an attempt to find open water; energy they otherwise need to stay warm. Many of the waterfowl arriving at our wildlife rehabilitation facility are underweight, or even emaciated, and many are injured.

Another issue we deal with right now is stranded waterfowl. Several species of water birds such as Loons and Grebes can’t really walk. If you look at them closely you will see that their feet are placed really far back. Those feet are great for swimming and diving, but not for walking.

We are currently getting a lot of calls for these types of birds. They get exhausted and are forced to make an emergency landing. They are subsequently unable to take of in flight from dry land or walk their way to open water. They are also unable to find a viable food source on dry land because many of them are strict piscivores (fish eaters).

So how can you help?  You can help stranded water birds by safely containing them in a cardboard box lined with a towel, and contacting an Authorized Wildlife Custodian (licensed wildlife rehabilitator) near you. Make sure to keep the box with the bird in a dark quiet place while making your call. Your local Animal Control/Humane Society/SPCA or a veterinarian might also be able to assist, but ultimately all the birds will end up at a wildlife rehabilitation facility.

All wildlife rehabilitation facilities operate as a non-for-profit. Please consider making a donation towards the care of these birds as resources are being stretched due to yet another cold winter.

Make sure to use caution when you attempt to handle any of these birds, always wear gloves, and remember to remain cognizant of potential traffic around you; so that you can avoid dangerous situations.

It is important to note that under no circumstances should you attempt to feed these birds. It is a delicate job to re-hydrate an emaciated bird, and this is best left to professionals. Solid food could be lethal, and to feed a piscivore anything but fish can also be lethal.

As a side note, bread is never a healthy or useful food source for any type of water bird at any time.

For more information you can visit our website @ www.hobbitstee.com