It’s been a wild week, literally and figuratively; from baby raccoons falling out of trees to newborn kittens pouring in the doors, things have really been heating up. With your help, we can make sure that these animals have the very best chance at a successful outcome.
Let’s start with the newborns, both wild and domestic. If you find infant animals or birds that are too young to be on their own, don’t be in a rush to intervene unless they are in immediate danger. Very often the parent/parents are not far away and will tend to the babies or move them when they are comfortable.
The presence of people is a definite deterrent so it’s important to either leave the area or observe from the furthest possible distance to give them a chance to reclaim their young.
We have been getting litters and single kittens, some only hours old, without their mothers. The neonates are especially vulnerable without mother’s milk and their survival is seriously at risk if they are separated too soon.
Here at the shelter we utilize foster homes and rescue organizations for the “bottle babies,” but this is a time consuming, labor intensive project and their survival rate is still lower in the absence of the mother.
If you find infant kittens, we ask that you give the mother every opportunity to return to them before you disturb them.
Call the shelter or your animal control officer to get advice on how to handle the situation. If the circumstances allow, the kittens should be left with mom and have human contact after a couple of weeks so that they are socialized. Even if the mother is feral or unsocial, she can be trapped, spayed and released when the kittens are removed. That’s a win, a win for everyone concerned.
On the wild side, the babies are also beginning to make their appearance. My Bluebird eggs that I mentioned in this column a couple of weeks ago have hatched and the chicks will be ready to start fledging within another week and a half.
The swans in the area are in full nesting mode with mom sitting on the nest and dad displaying full plumage as he guards the water around his family. Seeing those male swans showing off and making a bee line after potential intruders is pretty impressive!
A five-week old baby raccoon fell out of his nest in Vineland last week. With no sign of mom after observing him for several hours, he had to be transported up to Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge up in Medford to be raised until he is mature enough to be released into the wild.
I can’t stress enough how important it is not to touch wildlife of any age without first getting advice from a wildlife rehabilitator, an animal control officer, or someone from the Cedar Run staff.
Shelter needs: Small dog treats, cat nip, cream cheese, hot dogs, paper towels, sanitizing wipes, and gift cards for pet supply and grocery outlets.
Shelter event: (Finally! Something to do!) The annual, well, usually annual Plant/Yard/Bake Sale will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 8 at the shelter.
If you have items to donate for the yard sale, please drop them off between May 5 and 7 because the shelter’s storage space is limited. Also, the shelter can’t accept books, clothing or VHS tapes.
Shelter event: The shelter will host a low-cost vaccine clinic from 9 a.m. to noon May 15.
Appointments are required. Visit sjras.org to schedule an appointment.
Cost is $20 for each vaccine. Microchips and flea and tick preventative will also be available.
The shelter is at 1244 N. Delsea Drive in Vineland.
To submit an adoption form for one of the Pets of the Week or another animal at the shelter, visit https://southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org/