Webinar presenter John Griffin answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Reuniting and Renesting Orphaned Wildlife. Here are just a few of his responses.
Audience Question: I’ve been told that if mom smells a human scent on the young, she may not take the baby’s back, but is this, is this true? Or is this an old wives’ tale?
John Griffin: It’s an old wives’ tale. That’s not true, that maternal instinct is so strong, she, she just, whatever species we’re talking about here, she wants her young back and human scent is not going to concern her. Human presence would concern her depending on the species, but especially for birds, I mean, this is one that’s been out there forever. That if you touch a nestling or a fledgling and try to put them back in the nest, the mom will reject them, there’s no truth to that whatsoever.
Audience Question: We’re often told with domesticated animals that when in doubt after we’ve collected that domesticated animal to offer water. So, are you saying, don’t do that with wildlife?
John Griffin: It’s not a good idea for a number of reasons, not knowing their behavior or their condition. Or that’s how that species is hydrated, for instance. How you would affect that, how you would provide water. It’s just not a good idea unless you’re doing it under supervision or with help from the wildlife rehabilitator in consultation with one. It’s much better to try to get them back, you know. Reduce the amount of time they’re separated as fast as you can, and not worry about the food or water. They’re going to be fine for a couple of days, maybe even longer. So that’s, we’ve seen animals, raccoons that are several weeks old last over a week and be successfully re-united with a mom even without marginal rehydration.
Audience Question: What kinds of animals are not allowed for going into wildlife rehab?
John Griffin: Well, it depends a lot on the state. Some states have regulations about non-native species and rabies vector species and certain species like deer, for instance. Most of those regulations are available through your state Department of Natural Resources website and looking at what species are allowed to be rehabbed. And you can also obviously find that out from a permanent wildlife rehabilitator, in your state.
Audience Question: I see that opossums are on your list, but we can’t rehabilitate them in Oregon. Can they in other states? It sounds like you’re saying that, yes, this is a state-by-state thing.
John Griffin: Absolutely, yeah, many states can. I know that Oregon can’t, and that’s unfortunate. By the way, opossums have been thought that they’re so nomadic that they’re not really even aware. If they’re carrying 13 juveniles on their back. They’re not even aware when they fall out but there’s been some recent evidence that maybe they’re actually more aware of their young than what was once thought and that reunion might be possible, that they can actually, sort of stow their young sometimes. They can place them on the ground, that’s been caught on camera. And that there is a way to sort of look at that as well like reuniting opossum young with a parent. But it is something to consider like especially for non-native species where you can instead of having to take them into care where they’re going to be humanely killed. You can put them in a temporary nesting site or put them back into the nest site or reunion them with a parent.
Audience Question: Where can we purchase one-way wire boxes?
John Griffin: One-way doors, so there are a number of places that you can. Tomahawk Trap has some of them on their website, feel free to e-mail me and I can give you a list of vendors where you can find them and some recommendations for what sized doors to use for what species, I’m glad to do that.
Audience Question: Are wildlife rehabilitators, part of our fish and game state departments, or are these non-profits or just private people?
John Griffin: They’re non-profits. Some of the centers are, and then some other private individuals are doing this up because they care so much about wildlife. In fact, the lion’s share of wildlife rehabilitators across the US are doing it out of their home, and there are some bigger centers, and there’s some that are fairly large, and also have the capacity for significant wildlife care and veterinary care, sort of in a hospital and traumas-style centers. But the vast majority of wildlife rehab takes place are people that are just committed and gone through the training, gotten permitted and are doing this, whether are just self-funded, or they’re doing it by through just whatever donations they can raise to help support it.
Audience Question: John, we had a number of people e-mail and text in asking about the vocal luring. Are there audio tracks that we can download offline, or where do we download these audio files to be able to do the vocal luring?
John Griffin: I’m happy to provide those as well. If you e-mail me, I can send you that sound file. We haven’t found a way to put that up on our website yet, but you can certainly e-mail me, and I’ll give you the ones I have some information about how to apply them.
Audience Question: How often does a doe need to nurse a fawn?
John Griffin: Well, there she’s, she’s going a couple of times a day. You know, she’s visiting a couple of times a day and it’s usually just, people are not aware that that’s happening. And it may be more than that, it could depend on a number of factors and how old the fawn is, where they are in this sort of stage of life, but, she’s visiting frequently and as needed and usually, no one’s the wiser. And that’s the point, so not to lead predators to find the fawn where they are in that sort of fragile and vulnerable state.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Reuniting and Renesting Orphaned Wildlife.