Wild Things has its first 2 residents! The first is a Southern Flying squirrel, as seen in the picture at left, and the other is a Spotted salamander, which can be seen below. They came to me from another rehabilitator whose has about 60 animals over-wintering with her (she’s been doing this a lot longer than me, and even takes bear cubs!), so when I bought her one of the Cornell Barred Owls (NOT Herodotus!) to stay with her until its release, I took these two little fellows off her hands. The squirrel is a recovering cat-attack victim, who will be released in the spring, and the salamander was disturbed in hibernation, so will stay with me until it is warmer and can be released.
Both animals are healthy, but because of the extreme cold outside (though today has been very mild) and because they are both now used to indoor temperatures releasing them now might very well be fatal. The squirrel also has no supply of nuts to help it through the cold months, nor does it have other squirrels to nest with for warmth (flying squirrels often do this during the cold winter months).
We got back safe and soundly (also bringing back a couple of owls to Cornell for ophthalmology check-ups), and I spent about an hour setting up the little squirrels cage. I was so tired after driving and working at the clinic all day, but I set up a flying squirrel palace! Complete with a wheel and lots of fun hiding places. I put him in the cage and closed the door to the room (I’m keeping him in my study as the real WTS room is still un-insulated). During the evening I thought I heard some noises, but thought that it was my imagination. Well, this morning I went in, and several things were knocked over, but there was the squirrel in his cage. Hmmmm? House mice? Well, as I was trying to figure it out, the little squirrel (about the size of one’s palm), woke up, ran around the cage, and then ran right out, having no trouble at all getting though the small spaced bars! He disappeared behind some books and disappeared! But I suppose that he was going in and out all night, so I wasn’t too worried.
But I did know that I needed to get another cage! So, thanks to all the generous donations, I bought a fine bird cage that was on sale and some bird nets in case I had to catch him. I brought back all the goodies and set up Palace #2. Then I set a humane mouse trap with peanut butter and sunflower seeds next to his cage, and left the room a few hours ago. I want to go in and see if he’s been caught so badly, but I know if he is still running around, I risk scaring him back into hiding….so I’ll give it a bit more time and check on him before I go to bed (they are nocturnal, so he is probably just waking up now, just before my dinner).
Updates on Herotodus and the other patients at Cornell too, but I’ll write more on that tomorrow.
As for the wildlife around WTS, I have had 3 little redpolls at my feeders recently (see picture at left- they are the one's with the red feathers and black markings on their faces, the other bird is a goldfinch), and a female sapsucker appears to have settled in for the winter. The former have come down from the Arctic Circle for the winter, the latter should be wintering down south by now!