Mammals

Cottontail Rabbit:

 

Cottontail Rabbits can be born March through September depending on the weather. An adult female will find a hot spot, dig a hole, pull some of her belly fur out and put in the nest, and have her young, called kits. She will feed them 2-3 times in a 24 hour period, usually between dusk and dawn. She will leave the nest for the day, so as not to attract predators to her nest. 

  • If you find a rabbit’s nest leave it alone. If you are concerned that the mother has abandoned the nest place a couple strands of string across the nest in the evening. Take a picture of it with your cell phone. In the morning check to see if the strings have been disturbed, and compare with the picture you had taken the night before. If the strings have been disturbed, remove the strings and do not return to the nest. Checking on a nest often will create a path for predators, which will cause the demise of the nest.
  • If a cat or dog has disturbed the nest, contain them, and check to see if there is blood in the nest. If so, the mother rabbit will not return. The nest of babies will need to be taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
  • If an injured or dead kit is left outside the nest, remove it, clean any blood on the ground with hydrogen peroxide. Place a couple strands of string across the nest in the evening, and check in the morning to see if the strings have been disturbed. If not the kits will need to be removed and taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
  • If you find a small rabbit that is fully furred, and has its ears held up, it is able to be on its own. It is just vulnerable to predation at this age. 
  • If a dog or cat brings you a baby rabbit, it is probably injured and will need to be taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center.

Opossum:

The opossum is the only marsupial of North America. They usually have two litters a year. When opossums are born there can be 25 or so that can fit on a teaspoon. The gestation period is around 12 days. However, the young are extremely underdeveloped, are naked and blind and must crawl into the mother's pouch and attach to one of the 13 mammary glands. Those that do not find a mammary gland will parish.  After 9 weeks in the pouch and receiving nourishment, they are fully furred and their eyes are open. They will release from the mammary gland. They may come out of the pouch and climb onto the mother’s back.

Opossums are most often hit by cars as they are eating road killed animals. If there are young in the pouch, some may be thrown out, others will stay attached. If an adult opossum is found dead on or alongside the road and live babies are near the body, the babies and adult must be taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center. Do not try to pull the babies that are in the pouch and nursing out of the pouch.

  • If you hear a sound between a clicking and hissing sound, there are baby opossums in the high grass that need rescued. Call WIN Emergency Response of Pa. to rescue them. Do not walk in the tall grass. You may step on them.

Squirrels:

 

Fox, Gray and Red squirrels are diurnal, or active during the day, species of squirrel in Pennsylvania.   

Diurnal squirrels can nest in either holes in trees, or in nests made of twigs and leaves.

Be careful when deciding to cut a tree down, that there are no active nests in the tree. If a tree is cut that has an active nest, and the mother escapes and is not injured. She will return to retrieve her babies during the daytime only. It is advisable to stop cutting once the squirrels are found. Leave the area for the day to give the mother a chance to retrieve her young. If any of the young are obviously injured, then they will need to be taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center.  

The ones that are not injured should be reunited with the mother if possible. If at the end of the day, the mother has not retrieved the young, then they need to be taken to a rehabilitation center. Unless the tree was fallen at the end of the day, the young can be placed in a box with close knit material, a lid secured and taken inside a heated building and kept in a dark, warm, quiet and undisturbed place until morning. 

  • Do not give them any food or water. In the morning, take the box with the squirrels and place the box near where they were found and leave to give the mother time to return. At the end of that day, if they are still there, they need taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center.
  • Adult squirrels that have been injured will need to be rescued by an experienced handler. Call WIN Emergency Rescue of Pa. to contain the squirrel. 
  • Squirrels will bite through a leather glove, so please do not try to handle the squirrel yourself.

Mammals Continued

Chipmunk:

 

Young chipmunks, usually born in March, do not leave their nest or borrow until they are approximately half grown at two months of age. At that time they begin foraging for food with their mother. 

They are subject to predation, and are often times brought to the owner by their cat or dog.

Care must be taken when trying to contain a chipmunk because they can be quick, and bite. The best method to contain a chipmunk, is cover it with a small box, and slide another piece of cardboard underneath. Tape the pieces together. Put the box in a dark, warm, quiet and undisturbed place until a wildlife rehabilitation center is contacted for further instruction.

Beaver:

 

Beaver are not commonly seen because they are generally nocturnal. They build their dams or homes in and near water. The young stay with their parents for approximately 2 years until they become sexually mature. They will often times travel across land to find a new territory. As a result some may be hit by cars. If you should find an injured beaver, call WIN Emergency Response of Pa. Do not try to contain it yourself. They have very sharp teeth, and can inflict severe injury on you.

Newborn beaver, called kits, are born fully furred, eyes open and have teeth. They are raised in the dam and are not often seen until they are five to seven weeks. Sometimes they may become separated from their family by predators. Most young are brought to rehabilitation centers after a dog has brought it back to the owner. 

Fawn:

 

Fawns are born between May and July. Because newborn fawns do not have an order, they are usually left in tall grass or cover. The mother will be watching from a distance. She will return to her young a few times of day to nurse. If you find a fawn near a road or edge of yard, and do not see a dead adult deer nearby the fawn is probably not orphaned. If there is a dead deer nearby, leave the fawn alone overnight, and check in the morning to see if it is still there. If it has gone, then the dead deer was not the mother.

If there is blood, or flies on the fawn when you find it, then it needs to be taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center immediately, or call the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Older fawns that are able to run from people cannot be captured, and may be able to connect with another family of deer. Do not disturb them.

If an adult deer has been injured, do not go near it. They are very dangerous and can cause severe injury or death. Call the Pennsylvania Game Commission.