Three little Virginia Opossums at about 60-70 days old
I always know it is spring at the PAWS Wildlife Center because opposite my office door is the door to one of our busiest baby mammal nurseries.
All day long volunteers and staff go in and out of that room to feed some of the smallest baby mammals we see such as squirrels (Douglas, Eastern and Flying Squirrels) and Virginia Opossums.
Then, if I look farther into the wildlife center there are the same volunteers and staff feeding baby Raccoons in our Raccoon nursery and baby Eastern Cottontails in our quieter rabbit nursery.
The infant mammals are hand-fed up to six times each day so you can imagine how busy our volunteers are. Some volunteers spend their entire five-hour shift just feeding and cleaning babies.
They literally have time for only this because they go from one feeding to the next. It’s a full-time job to act as “surrogate parents” for these helpless animals.
Douglas Squirrel being hand-fed (5-6 weeks old)
These babies are considered orphaned wildlife, orphaned as a result of cat attacks, dog attacks, landscaping projects gone wrong, intentional removal from homeowners, poisonings, etc. We serve as their last chance for survival. Most of these animals, if not brought to a rehabilitation facility, would suffer and die in the wild.
It is one thing to allow Mother Nature to take her course where survival of the fittest wins out, and it’s another to allow our human-related mistakes to harm wildlife.
At PAWS we feel it is the least we can do to give back to the wild community what often is taken away from these young animals—a chance at living a successful wild life.
I encourage you to consider volunteering at PAWS today!
We have many opportunities available assisting not only wild mammal babies, but also wild baby birds, and adult wild mammals and birds.
This is a volunteer experience unlike any other and with such lasting satisfaction and impact for both you and the wild community around all of us.
Baby Raccoon (less than 3 weeks old) with eyes still closed