Unfortunate Fisher

Fisher

Fisher

This female Fisher was very unfortunate. A tree fell on her in the woods and she was trapped for days. A man walking his dog found her, well, his dog actually found her. They called me, but were unable to find it again last night because it got dark. This morning they went out, found the Fisher and it was still alive. Unfortunately, the dog ran up and killed her before they could stop him. I have her body and am going to save her in my freezer and try to get a permit and have her mounted so I can use her for education.

Fishers are incredible athletes!  Look at her feet!

Raising and Releasing Our Weasel

Weasel

Weasel

Weasel

The weasel was released over the weekend. I’m sorry I don’t have pics of the release for you, but she was VERY wild and very elusive and I must respect that.

She entered life in the wild via a process called “Slow Release” where she is given the opportunity to familiarize herself with the surroundings in the safety of her cage, and then the door is opened and she is allowed the freedom to come and go as she pleases. Food, water and a familiar shelter for her were provided for her to come back to as needed. I won’t reveal the location, but it is excellent weasel habitat, loaded with mice.

 

Above are a couple photos of her being raised. As she became a young adult, her natural instincts began to reveal themselves and she did not want to be handled and began to become more secretive in her movements. Though followers would have loved to see her all grown up, my responsibility to her is greater, so that is why there were no more photos of her. I appreciate your understanding this.

One of the things that you will find we do NOT do here at Fox Wood is exploit our wildlife. We don’t get the donations that result from the exploitation of displaying animals in uncomfortable public settings or putting them on public display here at our facility. What we do here is strictly for the animals, not for the money, not for our ego’s. That is what sets Fox Wood apart. We rely only on donations from people who understand what we do and why we do it.

Fawns

Fawn

In May and June Fox Wood receives many calls from well meaning people who are worried about an “abandoned fawn”. It is important to know that fawns are born with a natural defense mechanism. When fawns are first born they have no appealing scent to predators and they have an amazing ability to lay perfectly still and quiet, allowing the fawn to hide in plain sight. The mother deer does not stay with her fawn because she does not want to alert predators to her baby’s location. She comes back to her fawn throughout the day and night, but only when it appears there are no humans or other predators around. She feeds and thoroughly cleans the fawn to erase any scent they may have. Instinctively the fawn knows that when mom leaves, it must lay very still and silent in the location mom left it. Since the fawn does not move and no mother is present, people often think it is abandoned. Because of this, healthy fawns are often “kidnapped”.

A doe may keep her babies in the short grass area, near your home, in your garden, etc. for the first 3 days, not in the woods where the predators are hunting. These first days a fawn can’t outrun a predator, so they go limp when someone picks them up. They are not dying, they are playing “possum” so you will not be interested and put them down. With twins, a doe will leave one baby in one place, and then 300-500 feet away, she will leave the other. She then goes off to the closest hiding area and forms a triangle so she can watch over both, unseen, until it is time to feed again. She will not let them travel with her until they are old enough to keep up with the herd, but she is never far away.

There are times when a fawn will not express normal fawn behavior. We will usually be concerned when we get a call about a fawn that is wandering around crying out. This is not natural behavior as it attracts predators. Diarrhea, flies, falling down, limping, twins together and obvious wounds are all signs of a fawn that needs help. If you suspect a fawn needs help, or just want to make sure a fawn is OK, you can contact us or your local  Conservation Office for direction. In closing, remember the fawn that is lying still in your yard or garden is just nature’s way of giving us one more reason to smile. The fawn will leave on its own in just a couple of days, so take a picture and leave the baby for its real mother

A Very Rough Winter for All Wildlife!

This opossum was found on the side of the road in a snowbank, too weak to move because she was starving. I gathered her in a towel and brought her home.  For the first couple days it was touch and go, and I was only able to feed her small amounts of chicken noodle soup.  She started regaining some strength, and soon  started eating on her own. She will be released as soon as the weather breaks and there is plenty food around for her.

Opossum

Bats

It’s that time of year again folks! The baby big brown bats that often roost in attics and eaves of our homes are learning to fly! They will often follow a stream of light from inside your home at night, thinking that it is daylight and it is the way to get outside to catch bugs.

If you don’t enjoy bats flying around inside your home like I do, buy a tube of caulk and go over any cracks where walls meet ceilings, chimneys, window and door jams. Take duct tape and go entirely around wherever the door is that goes into your attic space. Stuff insulation material in larger spaces, such as where the stove pipe goes up through the house. Remember, bats follow streams of LIGHT to find daylight and outdoors at dusk, so the object is to seal off cracks in your living space where light from a TV, nightlight etc might stream into where they are roosting, fooling the youngsters into thinking it is the way outside.

If a bat does get into your house, don’t panic. grab a bath-sized towel and gently toss it over the bat and gather it up and take it outside. Bats are very delicate, like hummingbirds!

The NYS Health Department might want to test a bat that has been in your sleeping area while you were sleeping, so you might contact them first if you are concerned.

Bat

Bats in Homes in the Winter

BatDuring the winter many bats, especially Big Brown bats in Western New York hibernate in homes.   During mild weather, or when the home might be heated warmer than usual, the bats will wake up and search for food or water.  They often follow beams of light streaming in from lit rooms, thinking it is the way outside. It might be the light from a hallway, a tv or a reading light. These beams duplicate the light of dusk that bats use to find their way outside from attics during warmer months.

Many people are terrified of bats and they panic when they see one flying around their room at night. The bat is equally terrified – as he/she was planning on flying outside for a sip of water or a meal of insects. To send the bat out into the cold winter air is a death sentence for the bat, as is ignoring its need for water.  When bats wake from hibernation, their fat stores are rapidly depleted, often to the point where it will starve to death before spring. In addition, after three days of being awake and not getting water, the bat will become dehydrated and will perish.

Ideally, in this situation, the bat should be allowed to re-enter its state of hibernation after getting some food and water. This is not an easy process, as the bat needs to be kept awake long enough to be re-hydrated and replenish depleted fat stores with a special diet, then allowed time to digest the food and slowly re-enter the hibernative state.  But who will do this?  Not an easy, safe  or legal task for the average person who cares about bats. It is difficult to duplicate the conditions of a bat  hibernaculum. The temperature and humidity have to be just right. Years ago, some bats could be “overwintered” in refrigerators.  But with the new “frost free” refrigerators, all moisture is extracted from the bats body during the “frost free” process and the bats will die. Ideal conditions are those that are found in wine cellars.  Wine Humidors have been suggested, but since they are “air tight” the bats would suffocate.   Fox Wood is trying to find a solution to this dilemma so that we can help more bats.

There are precious few people who understand bat biology, and even fewer in New York State. With White-Nose Syndrome decimating our Little Brown bat populations, there is a possibility that this disease could spread to our Big Brown Bats- and what will be the costs to the environment and  humans as a result of the loss of these bats?  Insect populations would spiral out of control,  pesticide use would have to be accelerated and that’s not going to be a good situation.

Please be kind to bats.  If you know there are a few hibernating in your attic, please allow them to stay at least until spring.  Use caulk to seal off cracks and holes that might allow them into your living space.  If you need to have them removed, please wait until spring and hire a reputable, environmentally conscious Bat Excluder to install one-way doors and check valves after insuring all cracks and holes where the bats may re-enter are sealed or repaired.  In New york, the rule of thumb is “June or July, let ’em fly”.  This means that the bats have their young in the very beginning of June, and so you will need to have them excluded before June, and wait until at least the second week in August when their young can fly to attempt an exclusion.   If you have bats in your home that you don’t want, then you need to take a close look at your home.  If you have bats getting in, you also have bees getting in, and warm air escaping in the winter. Many bat excluders are experienced carpenters who can advise you on necessary repairs.