Spring Babies

Spring is here, and that means baby animals cavorting through backyards. Baby animals are about as heart-warming as mammals can get, and that’s a deliberate act on nature’s part. Round faces, big eyes, short noses, and large foreheads are the hallmark of babyness, and those features are deliberately meant to instill attraction and protection in adults so that we will attach and nurture those babies, ensuring survival of the species. We are genetically engineered to think babies are cute, whether they’re human or bunny. This is the entire rationale behind Persian cats and teacup dogs.

 Dogs and cats we know and love, but what do we do when we find a wild baby animal all alone? They’re no less adorable than that puppy or kitty, and no one on your street has a baby squirrel or fox or raccoon, so why not keep it and raise it as your own?

  1. It may not be abandoned
  2. It may be sick or carrying something harmful (squirrels and prairie dogs carry bubonic plague; groundhogs can carry hepatitis). 
  3. You have no idea how to feed it to keep it healthy.
  4. It’s a wild animal. No matter how much you love it and how tame it might get, the call of the wild is too strong. It will try to return to nature but won’t know how, because it hasn’t been raised with others of its kind. They will not respond to it. Your animal won’t know how to fend for itself, find food, hide from predators, and has a high chance of dying miserably. Or it may attack you, your pets, or your children.

So what should you do if you find a baby animal all alone?

Different animals require different approaches. The best thing to do is just wait, and watch. Some babies are left alone during the day, and mom comes back every few hours to check and feed. Baby bunnies nest in tall grass, so finding them alone in brush is normal. While you shouldn’t randomly handle wild babies, few mothers will abandon them just because you touched them. The mother may not like your smell, but their need to nurture is too strong. 

If you find a bird with no feathers, or the beginnings of them, put the bird gently back in the nest if possible. If it’s fluffy with feathers, leave it alone. Birds mature in 2-3 weeks, and it’s probably ready to leave.

Deer: If it is wandering around and crying, leave it alone. Mom will return. If it’s moving about and distressed, call rescue.

Squirrels: if it’s got a bushy tail and is playing and climbing, leave it alone. If it’s tiny, give mom a chance to find it. If mom hasn’t returned by nightfall, put it in a warm box and call for help.

Fox: If they’re happy and playing, they’re fine. Call for help if they look weak or sickly.

Raccoons and skunks: DO NOT handle raccoons or skunks, as they have a very high rate of rabies. If in doubt, place a laundry basket over the baby and place a weight on top. Mom will flip the basket to get her baby back.

Rabbits: Baby rabbits may be left alone for hours at a time. Mark the spot with an X of yarn. If mom comes back, she’ll disturb the string. 

Possums: if a possum is more than 7” long, it’s old enough to be on its own. If smaller, call for help. Possums are marsupials, not mammals. They need pouches and don’t feed like a “regular” baby. 

Do not attempt to rehabilitate wildlife by yourself. In many cases, it’s illegal to do so. Call the police department, or the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Dispatch  at 860-424-3333, and they’ll send someone out.

For a safer approach to wildlife and animal rescues, check out these books!

An Easter Playlist

Every occasion needs a soundtrack. Check out this list of classical and contemporary music appropriate for Easter celebrations. Some of these you might remember from church, but not realize who actually wrote them. Others were written secularly, but adopted later as hymns. Did you know that Elvis Presley started out as a gospel singer?  He attended a Pentacostal church that encouraged modern music.
1) Cantata 147: Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring, by Johannes Sebastian Bach
You probably remember this one from church
2) Concerto no. 1 in E (Spring)  by Antonio Vivaldi
You’ve heard this one in the movies and on TV
3) How Great Thou Art by Elvis Presley
One of his most-requested songs
4) The Old Rugged Cross by Johnny Cash
5) The Lord’s Prayer
There are many beautiful instrumental songs on Windham Hill’s Prayer album, perfect for quiet meditation.
6) Amazing Grace  by Anne Murray
7) El Shaddai  by Amy Grant
According to Exodus 6:2, Shaddai is the name by which Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob knew God
8) You’ll Never Walk Alone by Elvis Presley
9) The Passions According to St. John and St. Matthew   by J. S. Bach
10) Ave Maria  by The Priests
11) Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah   by G. Handel Baroque at its finest
12) Symphony No. 9 in D minor “Choral”   by Ludwig von Beethoven
You probably know this better as the “Ode to Joy,” or Hymn # 8, “Joyful, Joyful”
13) Judas Maccabeus by G. Handel
14) Russian Easter Liturgy A whole service on one disc!