We Want Them to Hate Us

One of the beautiful things I’ve seen among wildlife rehabilitators, is the deep, selfless respect for the wildness of wildlife. Although it can feel bittersweet when an animal you’ve raised from infancy snarls and bristles and hides from you, it’s also a sign of rehabilitation done right. The goal of wildlife rehabilitation is not toContinue reading “We Want Them to Hate Us”

No Safe Litter

We’ve all done it at some point: tossed a banana peel, apple core, or sandwich crust out of our car windows. Many people believe this is safe because food scraps are biodegradable. Unfortunately, food waste has become a leading cause of death for wildlife. When you toss food out the window, it attracts hungry animalsContinue reading “No Safe Litter”

“Can I Keep This Skunk?” NO!

Skunks are smart, cute, and sensitive. It’s no surprise that some people are tempted to keep them as pets. This is a bad idea anywhere, but here in Tennessee, it’s actually illegal as well. Skunks are one of the most common carriers for rabies and may not show symptoms at first, so rescuing a babyContinue reading ““Can I Keep This Skunk?” NO!”

Why Don’t You Care About People?

“Why do you care about animals when there are so many people in need?” It’s a common, but baffling, criticism that wildlife rehabilitators and other animal rescuers often hear. Most people are capable of caring about more than one thing. Although I’m sure there’s some nutcase, among the seven billion people on Earth, who actuallyContinue reading “Why Don’t You Care About People?”

Cats Hunting Wildlife Isn’t Nature

House cats are the domesticated descendants of the African wildcat (Felis sylvestris lybica). Our native cats, here in the Southeastern United States, are bobcats and pumas. These animals hunt to survive, not for sport, and their natural prey is well-adapted to survive their predation. The Southern U.S. ecosystem is NOT adapted to handle the massiveContinue reading “Cats Hunting Wildlife Isn’t Nature”

The Black Coyotes of the South

Four hundred years ago, the forests of the Southeast came alive every night with the howls of red wolves. These beautiful creatures often carried the melanistic gene, which gave them jet-black fur. Researchers believe this was because it provided an advantage when hunting in dark, densely wooded areas during the night. Mass deforestation, hunting, andContinue reading “The Black Coyotes of the South”

Kids and Wildlife Don’t Mix

The most heart-stopping calls I receive start like this: “My kids were playing outside and…” Children are innocent and kind-hearted. When they see an animal that appears to be sick or hurt, their nature guides them to want to help. Unfortunately for both children and animals, this can go very, very badly. In the worstContinue reading “Kids and Wildlife Don’t Mix”

Hit an Animal? See if it survived.

This summer, I took several calls from people who had seen an animal lift its head or weakly stand up, after several of lying beside the road after being hit by traffic. In all of these cases, the animal had to be euthanized, although it likely could have been saved if it had help sooner.Continue reading “Hit an Animal? See if it survived.”

Foxes: Not a Danger to Kids or Pets

An adult fox weighs, on average, five to twenty pounds— the same size range as a domestic cat. Foxes eat small, easy prey like mice, rats, voles, moles, and rabbits. A fox will never attempt to prey on another carnivore, especially one that is larger than itself. Essentially all cases of non-rabid foxes “attacking” cats,Continue reading “Foxes: Not a Danger to Kids or Pets”