Thursday, June 19, 2008

Things to do with a baby raccoon (or when nature calls)

Here's what I learned in the past 24 hours or so:

*Raccoon is spelled with two letter Cs.  I don't know why I keep wanting to type it with only one c.

*Baby raccoons found in the wild have been abandoned by their mother and need help.

*Baby raccoons can be fed dog or cat food.

As mentioned in a prior post, I am taking some time off from the real world and taking refuge at my parent's house.  Right now I have my 12 year-old cousin, Cody, and my 14 year-old niece, Morgan, staying at the house with me right now.  My parents work all day, so it's up to me to entertain and reign in the youngsters.  Usually I don't have access to a car, but as my dad was home yesterday, so I loaded up the car and drove over to the local nature area, Middle Run Natural Area.  Cody had never had a picnic before, so I made chicken salad sandwiches, and after finding a nice secluded spot along one of the trails, we relaxed and enjoyed our food.  Then we continued along, wandering as our whims led us.  We had Oscar and Siegfried with us, our Dachshund and Miniature Pinscher, respectively.  All of a sudden Oscar grabbed something in his mouth and began to violently shake it back and forth.  To our dismay, it turned out to be a little baby raccoon.

We delicately removed the raccoon, who promptly scurried away, and I pressed on down the trail with the two dogs in tow.  Near the head of the trail, I stopped to wait for Cody and Morgan who seemed to be taking a long time to catch up with me, when both appeared with a small bundle wrapped in a t-shirt: they had decided to take the raccoon with them.

What followed was a small-ish argument (filled with pouting faces) between my parents and the kids.  They honestly thought they could keep the raccoon as a pet, while us grown-ups argued that we must do what is best for the raccoon-- return it to its natural habitat.

I, of course, "googled" it and found a website that said you should take the baby raccoon back to where you found it, placing it in a cage that keeps the baby in, but allows the mother to open it.  You check back the next day and if it is still in there, then you know the raccoon was abandoned.  However, you should NOT follow this advice.  Instead, call a 24-hour vet and ask them what you should do.  They will most likely give you the number of someone who deals with wild animals.

The reason, as I learned the following day when we returned, is that flies will be attracted to the animal, and, sadly, will lay eggs that grow into maggots.  Yuck!  Our poor baby raccoon was covered with maggots when we returned to fetch him.  We did take him to a woman named Hilary Taylor who got very distressed over the condition of the poor guy.  If only we had known!  She told us that we may have waited too late, and if the maggots are too severe, she would have to put him down.

It was all very sad.  Very, very sad.  I'm spreading the news though, should you ever find yourself in a similar situation.  And remember, only YOU can prevent forest fires.


christina said...

Oh that is so sad. So what happened to the poor little thing? I would not have known what to do with it either, so don't blame yourself. It's not every day that someone finds an abandoned raccoon.
Please give an update!

Anonymous said...

Eliesa, what are raccoons anyway? I found your article confusing on this point. I think you need a clearer thesis statement. Also, check for smooth transitions and more creative sentence structures. B+/ACDC