Handling a Raccoon: a Deadly Mistake

We often hear from finders who have handled wild raccoons without gloves— a mistake that’s very easy to make when it’s just a little baby. Some people will also hand-feed adults or attempt, illegally, to raise orphans as pets. Please be careful: this is very dangerous! When raccoon roundworm enters the human body, the wormContinue reading “Handling a Raccoon: a Deadly Mistake”

Any Mammal Can Get Rabies

For Fox Sake’s focus is on our local rabies vector species: skunks, foxes, and raccoons. But these animals aren’t “rabies vectors” simply because they can catch rabies, but rather, because they can live with it for several days or weeks and transmit it to other animals, including humans, during that time. It’s possible for absolutelyContinue reading “Any Mammal Can Get Rabies”

Raccoons: Terrible Pets

Every year between August and November, wildlife rehabilitators start getting dozens of calls: “I’ve been raising this raccoon as a pet and it’s gone crazy.” Raccoons make great pets until some time between five and twelve months of age. Then, every wild instinct they have will kick in. Maybe they’ll still be friendly at times,Continue reading “Raccoons: Terrible Pets”

Should I Kill A Fox? It Might Have Rabies!

“It might have rabies,” is one of the leading reasons people give for killing wild foxes. Foxes and cats each account for about 6% of rabies cases per year, but, fortunately, no one suggests that we mass-murder stray kittens. Let’s have the same respect for wild animals, instead of slaughtering them because of the smallContinue reading “Should I Kill A Fox? It Might Have Rabies!”

Why not let nature take its course?

This is a common and understandable question that wildlife rehabilitators receive. After all, death and disease are a very real, and important, part of the balance of the natural world. For the most part, wildlife rehabilitators do not intervene when nature is running its course in a wilderness area. Although personal ethics vary by individual,Continue reading “Why not let nature take its course?”

Rabid Animal? Don’t Shoot!

I specialize in rescuing rabies vector species. Among the most frustrating calls, messages, and comments I receive are from people bragging about how they saw a “rabid” animal, and reacted by shooting it in the head. When an animal does have genuinely rabies-like symptoms, it must be euthanized, not just for human safety, but forContinue reading “Rabid Animal? Don’t Shoot!”

Scary Opossums!

Opossums have more teeth than any other land mammal, and when they’re scared, they like to use those scary-looking jaws to make themselves look intimidating. But don’t let this face fool you: opossums are actually very gentle, timid creatures who almost never bite or attack. They’re also naturally resistant (though not 100% immune) to rabies.Continue reading “Scary Opossums!”

Why We Only Rescue Tennessee Wildlife

Since Chattanooga sits on the state line, our local rehabbers often get calls about animals from outside the state. I can advise about wildlife first-aid, help identify unknown critters, and help find solutions for people who want to humanly repel “nuisance” animals, regardless of where the call comes from. But to actually accept an animalContinue reading “Why We Only Rescue Tennessee Wildlife”

Rabies Doesn’t Look Like Rabies

I specialize in rescuing wild animals that are categorized as “rabies vector species”— foxes, skunks, and raccoons. It’s been my experience that many people will either enormously over-react or under-react to the risk of rabies. For every person I’ve encountered who has shot a healthy animal for no reason at all, I’ve also encountered manyContinue reading “Rabies Doesn’t Look Like Rabies”