Several days after receiving one juvenile fox suffering from mange, we recieved a second juvenile fox with the same problem. On top of the mange, he was weak, dehydrated, and had diarrhea. Since arriving at WRC, he has gained some strength and his diarrhea has resolved. Hopefully he is on the road to recovery along with the other fox! Mange can take several weeks to months to completely clear, so these two will be with us for awhile.
Archive for August, 2010
After nearly two months, two of our baby hummingbirds were ready to be released back into the wild last Saturday. We’ve watched them learn how to hover, figure out how to drink nectar from flowers, and practice catching fruit flies out of the air. These skills seemed hard-wired into them and it took very little coaxing on our part to get them to stop gaping and learn how to feed themselves.
The last thing to do before releasing these birds was to show them how to ’stand their ground’ at the hummingbird feeder. Normally I made sure that they had a variety of food sources (such as classic hummingbird feeders, live flowers, and small syringes filled with nectar and fake flower tips on the ends) but a few days before release, I removed all but one feeder. The purpose of this was to let the birds practice ‘fighting’ over the feeder so that they would not become intimidated if another hummingbird were to come along. Being competitive and solitary birds who like to defend their territories, this is very important!
The release went beautifully, you can watch it here on our YouTube Channel. We watched both birds leave their cage and begin to explore their new surroundings. They drank from some flowers before darting off into the sky, and eventually…to Central America!
Every year we get in several foxes with mange.
Mange is caused by a mite (Sarcoptes scabiei–see picture below ) that burrows in the skin causing sores, thickening of the skin (crusts), itching, hair loss and can cause secondary bacterial/yeast infections.
This red fox (picture above) came in last week with severe mange. Luckily, she is responding to medication, although it can be very difficult to treat sometimes. Mange is also zoonotic (meaning humans can contract the mite and develop rashes) so we are adhering to strict sanitation and biosecurity measures. Hopefully this fox will continue to recover and we’ll be able to release her!
We admitted our 7,000th animal of the year this afternoon! It was an infant mouse! Last year we admitted #7,000 on August 24th. Are we looking to have a record-breaking year?? We will see!!
Sadly, many of the animals we treat in the clinic are here because of human-induced injuries. Glue traps are one of the most frustrating types of these hazards. Glue traps are pieces of cardboard with a sticky gel on top that are marketed as rodent traps. When the rodent runs across the “trap” it becomes stuck to the gel. They are then left there to die of starvation and many have been known to chew their legs off in desperation to get away. The entire concept of the glue trap is inhumane and unfortunately the traps work on pretty much any small animal that comes in contact with the pad, such as songbirds.
We fairly commonly see songbirds stuck to these traps (like the sparrow shown above). If they are alive when they arrive at the Center, they require several alternating baths in vegetable oil (to release them from the glue and break the glue down that is stuck to their feathers) and Dawn dishsoap (to then wash the oil off). As you can imagine, this process is very stressful for the bird.
The other day, three bats (a big brown and two nothern (Keen’s) myotis) were brought in stuck to a glue trap. As we examined the bats, we were very saddened to see the destruction that the trap had done to these animals. All three bats had fractured bones and their wing-webbing was ripped off (an injury that does not heal). The bones were even broken off in places. We had to humanely euthanasia all three bats due to the severity of their injuries.
We can only hope that those of you who read this post will pass on information re. the dangers of using glue traps. Maybe together we can educate people so they’ll stop using them.