A Day In The Life Of A Wildlife Rehabilitator
Warning: Reading This May Make You Tired
My day starts at 5am. A load of baby wildlife laundry (blankets, towels, diapers, etc) is taken out of the dryer. The wet load from the night before is put in the dryer. Baby squirrel formula is made and warmed and I feed between 20 and 30 (at times there have been more than 50) baby squirrels. I clean their cages, warm their hot water bottles and tuck them into their warm little beds for a nap.
Next are the baby raccoons. Formula must be made and warmed. Bottles are filled and the baby raccoons are fed, burped, and pottied. Their carriers are cleaned before their hot water bottles are warmed to prepare tem for their nap.
Baby opossums are next. Formula is made and the baby opossums are fed via feeding tubes. Each is pottied and returned to its pouch (we use sweatshirt sleeves to simulate a pouch) in a cleaned warm tank. They’ll rest until it is time for their next meal. Older baby opossums are put in clean tanks and given warmed formula and baby fruit in dishes for breakfast.
Time for more laundry. One load out of the dryer, one into the dryer and one into the washer. This is repeated between feedings all during the day.
After the baby chipmunks and flying squirrels are fed, cleaned and tucked into their nests, the baby groundhogs depending on their age either get bottles or a dish of slurry. Slurry is a special mixture of formula, cereals and fruit. Their cages are cleaned and then they are tucked in for a rest.
Bats are next on the agenda. Mother bats are fed and exercised in our flight cage and orphaned baby bats are fed formula. Their cages are cleaned and since it is day, all retire to their warm roosts until nightfall.
Older animals are fed and cleaned which usually consists of moving the animal to a holding cage, cleaning the cage they were in, preparing their food and returning them to their clean abode to enjoy their breakfast.
Injured or sick animals are then cared for. Wounds are cleaned, medicated and dressed. All morning medications are given and all progress is assessed.
Laundry is done once again and all dishes and utensils (spoons, feeding tubes, knives, etc.) are washed. It is now about 9am and we start all over again with the tiniest baby mammals being fed once more before I leave for work. I’m an RN and work part-time in an MD’s office.
I usually arrive home by five and the feedings, cleaning and laundry start all over again. The last and final feedings begin around 11pm and end about 1am.
Add to this answering many telephone calls, admitting animals, shopping for fresh fruits, veggies and other supplies, visits to the Vet, and planning for the eventual release of all the little ones who come here and you have a pretty full day.
I love what I do. I think I make a difference, and truly believe that I have one of the best jobs in the world!