Friday, March 25, 2011

Kids Say the Funniest Things

I gave a tour of HAWS the other day to a group of 8 year old Girl Scouts. One of the girls told me that she had a girl guinea pig and wanted to get a boy guinea pig so that "they can get married and have babies". I asked her what would happen to all the babies, and she responded that she would keep them. I then mentioned that she would need 2 cages -- one for all the girls and one for all the boys so that there wouldn't be even more babies. Her response to this was "I didn't know relatives could get married!"

Friday, March 18, 2011

Got Your Goat?

One of the best things about working at an animal shelter is that you never quite know what will be in the building when you get to work in the morning.

Last night HAWS Operations Manager, Mark Hess, got a call about a stray goat in Genesee, WI. She's got a collar, seems to be used to walking on a leash, and isn't phazed by dogs.

So if you've lost this maaaa-velous creature give us a call!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mother Nature Knows Best

Kids love to tell stories about experiences they've had with animals, and I hear a ton of those during programs I do as a humane educator.

One common story is of finding a nest of baby bunnies. Often times the kids will tell me that the mother rabbit isn't caring for her offspring.

Spring is getting closer, and with spring comes an increase in the number of calls HAWS gets from people who have interactions with wild animals -- frequently these calls involve orphaned or abandoned baby animals. We also get an upswing in the number of wild animals brought in by caring individuals who only want to do the right thing.

What many people don't realize is that not all animals care for their babies 24/7. Rabbits will make a nest for their babies and leave them alone for most of the day -- returning only to feed at dawn and at dusk. This makes good evolutionary sense -- an adult rabbit hanging around a nest all day would tip off predators as to where an easy lunch could be found; baby rabbits are safer by themselves when not feeding.

Our advice to anyone coming upon a nest of baby rabbits is to leave them alone - mom most likely is going to come back. And while a wildlife rehabilitator can attempt to bottle feed rabbits -- the truth is that they don't have a good survival rate being raised by humans. Mother Nature really does know best.