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3 posts from January 2017

By Jen Mannas, Wildlife Naturalist

2016 was another busy year at PAWS Wildlife Center.  We treated more than 4,500 patients (some pictured below); 250 more patients than in 2015.

Some were patients we don’t see very often at the Wildlife Center including a Great Egret, a Guadalupe Fur Seal, a Virginia Rail and a Warbling Vireo. And others were common species including eight Bobcats, over 1,100 baby birds, 20 Cooper’s Hawks, and over 150 Dark-eyed Juncos. 

A special thank you to over 300 volunteers who donated thousands of hours of their time in 2016 feeding, transporting, caring for and cleaning up after our patients to ensure they have a healthy environment in which to grow and heal.  

We also want to thank people like you for your continued support so far 2017 is stacking up to be another busy year and we could not do it without you!

2016 collage

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help

Interested in a career in wildlife rehabilitation? Check out internship/externship opportunities at PAWS

By Kendall Graham

The holiday season represents a time of plenty for many families; big dinners, holiday pastries, warm drinks and spending time with loved ones. In the animal kingdom, this season represents quite the opposite.

Some animals migrate to more prosperous climates, while others bundle up and wait for spring. The wildlife who are determined to stay through the cold use various techniques to combat the harsh elements, one of which is torpor. Some of our biggest and smallest patients in our wildlife hospital utilize torpor to survive through the harder times.

Torpor can be related to “sleep mode” on a computer. It is an energy saving state initiated by lowering the metabolism. Many smaller species will enter a state of torpor daily, for example hummingbirds. Hummingbirds naturally have a high metabolism and body temperature, therefore they expend lots of energy during the day. At night while resting, hummingbirds go into torpor to conserve energy.


As with all torpid states, metabolism slows along with a reduction in breathing rate, heart rate, blood flow and body temperature. A body in torpor could even reach ambient temperature, which in the winter time can be near freezing. Despite these extreme changes, the small hummingbird is still able to wake itself in the morning to begin its day.

If prolonged or extended, the state of torpor is called hibernation. This term usually conjures images of large bears sleeping through subzero temperatures in a warm cave. In actuality, hibernation is not as continuous or even necessary for bears as once believed.


Misconceptions relate torpor and hibernation events to a drop in temperature, but even animals in temperate and tropical climates will hibernate. The true cause for animals to go into a torpor or hibernation is the decrease in food availability.

Bears in zoos, and even some of our bear patients here at PAWS, will not hibernate because food is provided year round. To prompt a bear in captivity to hibernate, caretakers must slowly diminish their meals.

Bat tryptic

Even the length of hibernation can change, as the animal will only halt its bouts of hibernation when there is food to sustain its survival. Bears in Alaska, who are exposed to harsher, longer winters, will hibernate for longer periods of time than bears in Washington, who experience much milder conditions. Instead of expending energy to find the scarce amount of food in the winter seasons, bears wait for food to regrow and return.

While wildlife is experiencing a torpid state, they are extremely vulnerable and unable to respond to their surroundings. If you do find any wildlife who is unresponsive or gives you cause for concern about its well-being, please call our wildlife hospital at 425.412.4040. Our expert staff will be able to advise you on how to provide the best help for the animal.

Inspired by our work? Consider making a donation today to help us continue providing vital care to wild animals in need.

Found a wild animal in need? Find out how PAWS can help.

Interested in a career in wildlife rehabilitation? Check out internship/externship opportunities at PAWS.

By Kate Marcussen, Community Outreach Educator

Ever heard that saying “you can’t teach an old dog a new trick?” Well here at PAWS we’d have to disagree. You’re never too old to learn!

2017 is our 50th anniversary year, and even after all those years of caring for more than 245,000 animals, we are still learning new things. Our expert staff and volunteers strive to keep up on emerging best practices in the fields of wildlife rehabilitation, companion animal welfare and education, and we realize that education within our community is just as important as within the organization.

Education programs at PAWS don’t just focus on kids, we aim to keep our adult community just as informed. These  community education events for adults cover a wide variety of topics aimed at keeping you up to date on best practices. Having a little fun is also mandatory!

Cooking with PAWS: Go Vegan held for the first time last March educated participants about animal friendly diets and their connection to animal welfare through a hands-on cooking demonstration with a local chef, including a tasting. If you missed it, you can download the recipes.


Cat Behavior 101 and 201 continue to be our most popular adult events. Well, we all know our feline friends have very high expectations of their people! Participants learn about how to better understand their pampered felines, including how to solve common household challenges such as litter box usage and introductions to new pets and people.


Baby on Board held at Brightwater Environmental Center last April was a fabulous introduction to baby season at PAWS Wildlife Center. Presented by our very own naturalist and wildlife expert, Jen Mannas, participants learned about what it takes to care for orphaned wildlife patients at PAWS, how to provide “baby proof” habitat in your own backyard, and how to know if a baby animal needs help and when to leave them alone.


Looking to the future now, and fast approaching on January 25 (6-7 p.m.), we’re excited for Forever Fido—the perfect event for any dog lovers in the Seattle area. Our canine behavior expert, Caren Malgesini, will provide tips on ensuring your dog is living the happiest, healthiest life possible, and she’ll also answer any canine questions you might have. Held at Seattle’s Dogwood Play Park, your four legged friend is also invited! Register for this event today!


Author Tim Johnson captured it perfectly with “There is no end to learning, but there are many beginnings.” Whether you strive to be the best pet parent to your dog or cat, or to provide that dream backyard habitat for our wildlife, keep learning, as you can never know too much.   

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