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Illinois hunting and fishing

By Brian DeNeal
Pam Sundeen, director of Second Nature Wildlife Rehabilitation, greets Gigi, a pet raccoon who has undergone debilitating bouts with distemper and parvo. Sundeen has been trying through the winter to get Gigi accustomed to a raccoon-sized wheelchair that she hopes this spring will allow the animal to walk through the yard.

Advice for handling baby critters

March 17, 2010 at 10:33 AM


Baby critter advice

Pam Sundeen offers the following do’s and don’ts regarding baby critters:

• Don’t trap and release—this will separate a mother from her babies.
• Don’t cut down dead trees.
• Don’t burn brush piles without going through them first.
• Don’t repair holes in eves and attics without checking for animals and nests.
• Do call if there is an injured or trapped animal.
• Do always look for bunny nests before starting the lawnmower.


In the spring, the animals come alive and make new little animals, some of which must rely on the care of animal rehabilitation professionals if they’re found injured.

There are a few things humans can do to keep animal families together until the babies grow up and move and on out of the way.

Pam Sundeen of Second Nature Wildlife Rehabilitation in rural Thompsonville, Ill., said that last year, they took in 64 raccoons, 80 cottontail rabbits, squirrels, possums, two potbellied pigs and fielded many phone calls.

“We get so many phone calls about fawns. People don’t see the mother and think they are orphaned. The first thing we tell them is put the baby right back where they found it,” Sundeen said.

A fawn has no smell for the first two weeks of life. For the first two weeks the fawn basically sits down in grass, woods or brush, hidden from the sight and smell of predators. Because the presence of the mother could draw predators to the fawn, the mother remains away from the fawn except to nurse only a couple times a day.

If a person stumbles upon a fawn, odds are within 18 to 24 hours, the mother will have moved it. Beyond 24 hours if the fawn is in the same location, concerned people may want to call the professionals.

Baby squirrels may appear to be helpless on the ground, abandoned, but they may just have fallen.

“Mama squirrels will come down from the tree and move them back up,” Sundeen said.

Raccoon mothers will move their nest of babies upon discovery, but they can only move the cubs one at a time.

Raccoons can be a nuisance. They like to get into holes in eaves of houses and nest in the attic. People may set a trap or hire someone to set a trap and they may catch the mother raccoon only to later find the babies crying for their mother.

“They don’t think about it being baby season,” Sundeen said. “Then we get calls days later with babies screaming.”

She says if people can put up with the racket of a raccoon family, the babies should leave the nest in about seven weeks.

There are ways to discourage raccoons from attics. Playing loud music can be effective. So can bright lights and rags soaked in ammonia. And once the attic is vacant, people should patch the holes so the animals don’t come back, but don’t patch them until the animals have left.

Sundeen discourages taking trees down until after the spring baby season.

She also discourages burning brush piles without first checking to see if there are rabbit nests inside.

Possums hit on the road may have babies in their pouches that can be saved if found within a few hours.

“When mama gets hit, those babies in her pouch often die unnecessarily. I am one of the crazy ladies that stops at every dead possum to check for babies. If we get those babies within several hours of mama dying, we have a great chance of being able to save them,” Sundeen said.

Sometimes people decide to keep baby animals as pets.

“It’s illegal for them to keep wild animals on their own,” Sundeen said.

If a person wants to keep a baby animal healthy until they can take it to rehabilitation Sundeen says the best thing to do is give it Pedialyte through a syringe.

“We do worry about them being dehydrated. Feeding a dehydrated baby does more harm than good and feeding them the wrong thing does more harm than good,” Sundeen said. “Keep it warm, give it Pedialyte and call.”

Contact Brian DeNeal at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Your CommentsComments :: Terms :: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Interesting to have an article about preserving the lives of animals on a hunting website, with info devoted to the slaughter of animals. I guess though, you have to have babies to grow up to be adult targets huh?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/17 at 11:56 AM

Timmytoots, you don’t realize how much money hunters pump into the programs that help preserve wildlife. And just because we(Hunters) are a form of population control doesn’t mean we don’t find nature precious and beautiful.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/17 at 12:12 PM

hey timmytoots——————-remember thst the next time you chow down a big steak or a 1/2 chicken dinner

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/17 at 01:57 PM


Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/17 at 07:45 PM

Hunting is almost “saint” like compared to what our slaughterhouses do to the animals that we eat.

I am for “humane” hunting if that is possible, but against our industrial slaughterhouses. My feeling is eat the meat that you kill, not buy. Respect the life of the critter you personally kill.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/18 at 08:36 AM

Fellas, our job to educate is first/foremost to the nation’s children.  Trying to speak intelligently and with reason, logic, or even humor to pseudo-adults like timmytoots (wow, give me that handle) is akin to casting ones pearls before swine.  We’re probably more effective with such morons to simply agree (with all intended satire) and say, “Why yes, indeed, we need recruits on much the same order as the militant homosexual subculture.”  Think he’d get it then?

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/18 at 09:35 AM

Timmytoots must be a animal activist gota love em
they must not have anything els to do

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/18 at 07:06 PM

Oh man you guys are so hilarious. I think I crapped myself.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/19 at 11:59 AM

We’re not surprised.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/19 at 01:15 PM

If “crapping” yourself is a frequent problem , you may want to try more meat protein, less tofu and veggies. That may help you with that loose bowel problem timmytoots.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/20 at 06:45 AM

Timmy I think you’re in the wrong growd here!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 03/23 at 06:31 AM

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