Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Empty Nursery Syndrome

This is the time of year when wildlife rehabilitators like me stare longingly at our empty animal nurseries. So I was eager to help a couple of weeks ago when someone telephoned me to say she had a tiny baby squirrel, eyes still sealed shut, who'd been caught by a cat.

One of our volunteer transporters agreed to go to the woman's house to retrieve the squirrel and bring it to me. Once she had it in her car, she called me to report that it was close to death already.

"How big is it?" I asked.

"Very tiny," she said, with a sort of smirk in her voice.

"How tiny?" I asked, suspiciously.

"So tiny its umbilical stump is still attached. So tiny it's actually a mouse!"

Once in a while we get a baby mouse this time of year, but that's it. If we're lucky, it'll be a Deer Mouse. This one, a common house mouse, quickly died.

So today I volunteered with the Richmond Animal League to hand-feed newborn kittens and puppies. I hope they'll need my help and sooner rather than later.