<![CDATA[The Wildlife-Line​ - Blog]]>Mon, 19 Nov 2018 16:56:19 -0500Weebly<![CDATA[West Nile Virus - It's Here                                    By Darlene Garrison]]>Mon, 22 Oct 2018 20:44:47 GMThttp://thewildlifeline.org/blog/west-nile-virus-its-here-by-darlene-garrisonLast week someone brought me an adorable little crow found flapping around Main St. Danbury.   
The Good Samaritan thought the bird had an injured wing and thought I could save him. 
When I got him to Wildlife-Line and we started to look at him we could not find any issue with the wings.  He was very small and very malnourished, partly because he was sick and partly because a human who didn’t know how to care for him was keeping him.  If you find an animal in distress, you have to remember you do not know what is wrong and take precautions.  Cover yourself, use gloves and get them to a rehabilitator as quickly as possible.
This cute little guy turned out to be a Fish Crow.  These crows live along the coast or near wetlands. 
I never knew there were different types of crows so I learned something new.  He was so frail he could not even take the mealworm we offered him.  He could get it into his beak but just did not have the strength to swallow it.  His poor little head was so weak it just would not stay up.  We got some fluids and medicine into him and got him a ride to the Sharon Audubon society.  My heart was happy and hopeful.
The next day I was told there was another sick bird in the area – Could it be West Nile Virus?  But not here!  Not killing our birds!  I mean I know I heard someone locally was diagnosed with West Nile, but could it be that bad?  Well, yes it is.  It turned out that both of these birds had West Nile Virus and did not make it.  This is not fake news folks, this is for real. 
Since the disease was discovered in the United States in 1999 there have been well over 300 infected birds identified and it is now in all 48 states. (most states don’t even check dead birds anymore as it is so prevalent)  Many birds survive but the Blue Jays and Crows have died from the disease more frequently than others.  Fish Crows eat carrion, so if you see dead birds or animals it is important to dispose of them.  If a bird eats an infected bird, they can become infected with the disease too.  
West Nile disease is typically spread when a mosquito bites an infected bird then bites another person, animal or bird.  There is no way to know if the mosquito had West Nile.  You just have to wait for the symptoms.  Over 50 years ago author Rachel Carson warned that we had a good chance of losing our birds if we continued to use pesticides – Her book, “A Silent Spring” is definitely ringing true here.  She may not have suspected that mosquitos would be hitching a ride across continents, but our birds are certainly dying.
What can we do to help the birds?  Keep down the mosquito population.  This has been a challenge this year with all of the rain.  Empty any stagnant water to remove breeding grounds.   Keeping your property free of pools of water will keep breeding areas to a minimum.  Put up bat houses, bat's eat thousands of mosquitos and can use all the help we can give them too.
<![CDATA[Mange in Fox and how you can help]]>Mon, 24 Sep 2018 18:23:59 GMThttp://thewildlifeline.org/blog/mange-in-fox-and-how-you-can-helpHave you had a chance to catch a glimpse of the elusive red fox?  Many of us have.  That beautiful thick coat and that cute fluffy tail.  When they are healthy they are one of the most beautiful creatures we have in our area.  What’s better than seeing that beautiful red coat in the snow?  Or catching a family playing in your yard in the spring when the kits are just coming out?
So cute and lovable that we think of them like our family pet and would like to get out there and pet them…. not a good idea.  It’s always important to remember that wildlife is wild, and we need to respect that.  Handling and befriending wildlife can be dangerous to you and the animal you are trying to help.
But what happens when you see that beautiful coat missing sections and the fox walking a bit funny?  Your immediate thought may be rabies and assume the animal needs to be put down.  But there is another scenario, mange.
Fox are susceptible to a mite called sarcoptes scabiei.  These mites will bore into the skin creating “tunnels”.  They will lay eggs and leave waste that will irritate the animal’s skin and cause itching.  The mite’s life span is about 2 weeks.  If the infestation is not too bad the fox is likely to recover without much issue.  If the infestation is severe it can cause loss of hair, showing of a thick layer of skin (from waste build-up beneath the skin) and even chewing off their tail to stop the itching. 
It is not unusual to see a fox out during the day as they feed on small animals like squirrel and chipmunk which are out during the day. In the spring they are not only feeding themselves they are feeding their kits. Working overtime. Another reason you will see them during the day.  A fox with mange may be out during the day as they are irritated.  They are thirsty and will drink more than usual.  They are likely to get conjunctivitis and have crust around their eyes.  They will also walk as if they have very heavy paws.  They will look for warm places because the mites like hairless areas and the fox needs their coat to survive the cold weather.
Unfortunately, wildlife rehabilitators are not permitted to rehab adult fox, only the kits. The problem is the medication only kills live mites, not the eggs.  Therefore, it can take several doses over several weeks to fully cure the animal.  This can only be done if the animal has not gone into organ failure.
We do have a protocol to treat adult fox in the wild. This is the only time we encourage feeding wildlife.
1)Set up a feeding station far as far away from your home as possible, but where you can still see it from a window or from a safe distance. You can use cat food or meat to lure fox to eat.
2)Once fox is comfortable eating at the station, you hollow out a ½ of hot dog. You put in a pea size of Strongid or Ivermectin paste made for horses. (Both can be purchased at Tractor Supply)
3)This needs to be repeated every 3 to 5 days for 4 to 5 wks.
We have had excellent results with this process.
Never approach an animal you see as sick.  Rabies is spread through saliva, but mange can be spread through the mites.  The mites can get onto your dog but there is treatment.  You should never handle adult wildlife and babies only when necessary.   You should always wear gloves and proper coverage using a towel or long sleeves. Put the animal in a well ventilated container and bring them to help. 
<![CDATA[July 14th, 2018]]>Sat, 14 Jul 2018 20:03:50 GMThttp://thewildlifeline.org/blog/july-14th-2018The Piebald Deer
By Darlene Garrison
So the other day I go in to volunteer and I hear we have 3 fawns. So we prepare the bottles, cut the fruit and head down to feed the babies. As I enter the gate I am in awe as I see a multicolored animal in the pen. It took me a minute to figure out what I was seeing. A baby goat? No…. but the cutest little creature I have seen.

This little baby is a Piebald deer. This deer is born when both the mother and father have a certain recessive gene. As I looked into this a bit it seems the name was originally given to horses, mostly black and white horses. So the name Piebald is broken down, Pie – from Magpie, like the black and white mix. The word bald can mean streaked or marked with white - so mixed. This deer is of mixed colors.

Unfortunately, most Piebald animals are born with birth defects. Most common are scoliosis, arthritis, or other internal problems. Luckily our little fellow seems to be in good shape and very healthy.

Piebald deer don’t do so well in the wild because they don’t have the natural camouflage other white tail deer have. But with less than 2% of deer being Piebald, your chances of seeing one are very slim.

I feel honored to have had the opportunity to see one myself. I have never heard of them. I had heard of albino deer, I heard there was one near the reservoir off route 53, but I was never lucky enough to get a glimpse of it myself. Albino have red eyes and pink noses, piebald have brown eyes and black noses. Their snout is a bit rounder than the regular white tail. The legs are a bit shorter, that’s why I thought it was a goat, and the back is a bit rounded, part of the spines abnormalities. Luckily for this little guy the other fawns don’t treat him like Rudolph and they do allow him to play in their little deer games.

Before area hunters get excited that there may be a unique deer roaming our local forests I have to warn you. Legend says that if you kill a Piebald deer it will bring you many bad hunts in the future, it could also bring death within a year. So grab your camera and a shot but let the Piebald roam.
<![CDATA[May 11th, 2018]]>Fri, 11 May 2018 18:22:34 GMThttp://thewildlifeline.org/blog/may-11th-2018WildLife-Line: A View from the Outside
By: Darlene Garrison

As a new Volunteer with The Wildlife Line I keep learning new things about the animals we bring in. I started last summer when we had 14 little fawns. They were so cute drinking from baby bottles arranged in a holder on the fence so they would not get accustomed to being hand fed. See these babies are not staying with us, they are going to grow up and be released back out into the forest where they belong. We are just here to help out for a while.

Which brings me to this year. We just got our first raccoon of the season in and boy is he cute. I could not wait to see his tail because I wondered if it was just as fat and fuzzy as the adults are. Well I heard him coming long before I saw him. A screaming baby crying out like I have not heard, well, come to think of it, I believe I have heard this cry in the dark before but it scared the daylights out of me. All that noise coming from this little tiny raccoon. Oh my goodness. But once our handler, Deb, picked him up and started to scratch him, the little guy purred louder than any cat I have ever heard. Who knew that a raccoon could purr? I mean I thought cats were the only animals that purred. He was immediately content while she held him and prepared to feed him. Then he laid out and enjoyed his formula. I just wanted to reach out and pet him (hardest part of this job, not reaching out and loving on the wild animals), and feeding him looks like such fun. But then think of all that noise, at all those hours of the night, do I really want to be loving on a raccoon at 2am then feeding him. I know he’ll go back to sleep but will I? That’s the exhausting part of being an animal rehabilitator. I am a part time volunteer so I come in, help out and go home. But just think about Debbie who is here 24 – 7 caring for these little fellows. That’s not easy.

​The next day I heard we got a 2nd raccoon. Apparently a litter mate of the first one. Raccoons can have 1 – 7 offspring called kits. So chances are if you find one wandering in your area you should keep a look out as there will probably be another. If you do find one be sure to use a towel, wear gloves or gently lift it with a shovel. Never use bear hands as there could be a risk of rabies. This one came to her infested with ticks so it needed a good clean-up. And of course dehydrated, so a feeding. But Deb posted a video on Wildlife-Line’s FB page that must make part of this so worthwhile. The video shows the new kit reconnecting with her brother and it is nothing but pure love and happiness. You want to hear a raccoon purr? Check it out, they are loving on one another and so happy to see each other. It takes 7 – 16 weeks for a kit to be weaned from their mother, now Debbie at Wildlife-Line, that’s a lot of sleepless nights and it is only just the beginning of the season. You really need to love what you do to be in this business and thank goodness we have people willing to do it.
<![CDATA[Our girl is looking fabulous today and even being silly]]>Thu, 15 Mar 2018 13:03:10 GMThttp://thewildlifeline.org/blog/our-girl-is-looking-fabulous-today-and-even-being-silly]]>