Thanks for the pumpkins Meribeth Abigail and Elizabeth! And thanks to everyone else who has donated so far, we really appreciate it! We’re still looking for more, as well as for people to help us carve or who can deliver carved pumpkins as of the 23rd. Hope to see everyone at Night of a Thousand Faces this weekend!
Today’s post is a heartfelt thank you to Quinlan Connors, who you can see on the right in this photo holding the bag of dog food. Quinlan had his 9th birthday recently, and instead of asking for presents of any kind for himself he arranged for all of his guests to bring donations and supplies to us at NEWC. We received a huge amount of much needed food, cleaning supplies, and other essential items that we need to keep running. We are nearing winter, and we are going to be getting more and more animals suffering from exposure and lack of food. This kind of large donation is absolutely incredible for us, and really helps us to keep the animals we rescue healthy and well cared for. Thank you very much Quinlan, you’re amazing!
This is a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker which was just released recently from NEWC. One of many species of woodpeckers, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers will drill holes in trees by repeatedly tapping with their beaks in order to consume the sugary sap inside.They live mostly on the eastern side of North America, migrating down to the tip of Mexico in the winter and up to the middle reaches of Canada in the summer. You can tell one of these birds has been around by the neat row of holes, called sapwells, that they leave in the trees they feed in.
Today I want to say a huge, huge thank you to Kyle Sweeney, who recently had his 14th birthday. Instead of asking for gifts, he instead requested that his guests and relatives bring money and supplies to donate to the wildlife center. He raised over 200 dollars for us, as well as tons of supplies that are much needed for the daily upkeep of the Center. It’s because of people like him that we can keep treating New England’s wildlife. Thank you so much Kyle, it was really the act of an amazingly generous person.
Hey everyone! As you know we’re getting ready for our very exciting Night Of A Thousand Faces event, and we’re looking for pumpkins! If anyone could donate some that would be amazing. We’re looking to start collecting them on the 14th so that they don’t go bad before the weekend of the event, so if anyone could bring us any pumpkins on or after the 14th that would be absolutely awesome!
Also, if anyone wants to come join us for carving we’re going to start on the 21st so the pumpkins stay completely good for the nights we need them. We will be having a great time practicing our carving skills, and we welcome anyone who wants to join in!
Waffle is leading up the pumpkin collection, and he’s very concerned that this might be our only pumpkin.
Hey everyone, I wanted to let you know that the amazing writer and journalist Sandra Lee is organizing an awesome fundraiser for the New England Wildlife Center. It’s $50 a ticket, and will include excellent food, a silent auction, music, dancing, and words from keynote speakers Dr. Greg Mertz and State Representative Bruce J. Ayers. It’s happening Thursday October 23rd from 7-11 pm at the Waterclub at Marina Bay in Quincy MA. Here’s a link to the site:
This weekend was very exciting for us, as we got to send all of our orphaned raccoons back into the wild with rabies vaccinations and our best wishes. Here we have some pictures documenting the endeavor.
Here the raccoons are investigating the source of all the noise, as our team of veterinarians, veterinary technicians, and interns got ready to go in. It’s liberation day!
This little guy was particularly interested, he looks like he’s saying “it’s time for me to go!”
Here’s the start of Raccoon Nation roundup. Our team started out heading in to grab the raccoons one at a time.
Once we had one, they got their rabies vaccine to make sure that they wouldn’t be at risk themselves or pose a danger to the public after their release. After they were given the shot, they were immediately put into large carrying cases so that they could be transported out to a more remote forested region. There they were released together, and we wish them all the best!
We were recently visited by a local group of Weymouth Cub Scouts coming for a guided tour around NEWC. They were awesome, very inquisitive, and incredibly interested in the animals and environmentally friendly technology at the Center. Here you can see Zak Mertz leading the educational tour. It was a pleasure to have them with us, and hopefully they’ll be back soon!
It’s almost time for our yearly Night Of A Thousand Faces event! On October 24th and 25th at NEWC there will be music, refreshments, animals, and of course both the beautifully illuminated pumpkin trail and the very spooky haunted trail. It will be incredibly fun for the whole family, and we hope to see you there!
This is a bearded dragon that came through Odd Pet Vet recently for a routine exam. Bearded dragons are native to Australia, and did not become popular pets in the United States until the mid 1990’s. When they get excited or scared, it’s common for their lower head and neck region to turn black, which can be intimidating to someone unfamiliar with the effect. They generally eat a combination of insects, fruit, and vegetables in the wild. This little guy is doing great, and got an all-clear on his exam.
Thanks to everyone who stopped by our table at Hull’s Endless Summer Waterfront Festival! We had a great time talking to people about who we are and about the educational animals that came with us. Falco in particular was very popular, and he was having a great time being out for a windy day by the beach. We hope to be there again next year!
This is an orphaned Ruby-throated Hummingbird that came to us awhile back weak and unable to fly. We have been caring for her as she grows older and stronger, and she will hopefully be ready for release soon. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the only hummingbirds found in Massachusetts. The males have a distinctive red patch of color on their throats, which gives the species its name. Their wings beat incredibly quickly while they fly, at an average speed of roughly 53 beats per minute.
This is a photo with (from left to right) Martha Smith, vice president of animal welfare at Animal Rescue League, Katrina Bergman, our Executive director, Dr. Greg Mertz, our CEO, and New York Times best-selling author of the book “Elephant Company” Vicki Croke. Both long-time friends of the Center, Ms. Smith and Ms. Croke were at a reception with Greg and Katrina recently held at the JFK Library in Boston, celebrating the release and success of her latest book. “Elephant Company” is the story of a man’s amazing connection with the elephants of Burma, and how together they managed to become heroes during World War II. If you’re interested in finding yourself a copy, here is a link to its amazon page.
What do you think is wrong with this snake? At first glance, it might appear to be the rat in its belly, but that’s quite normal. It’s actually in the space around the middle of the photo, immediately below the rat’s head. If you look closely at the snake’s ribs, you can see that at this point there is a separation where they curve away from each other as opposed to the normal curvature found everywhere else. This is called a subluxation of the middle ribs. The muscles the snake uses to move are actually attached to its ribs, and in this case some of them pulled too tightly and the ribs got moved out of position. It’s nothing more than an inconvenience for the snake, but if it happened multiple times it could cause the snake to lose its freedom of motion.
This is an Eastern Bluebird, one of the last of this summers babies. She is almost ready to be released, and is currently outside building up strength in one of our flight enclosures. Eastern Bluebirds eat mostly berries and insects, however they have been documented catching and eating larger prey such as lizards and small snakes. They are very social animals, and will sometimes gather in flocks of over a hundred birds at a time.
This is a mourning dove we have with a fractured coracoid bone. The coracoid is found in the upper chest region, and is necessary in order to fly. It is often broken when birds fly into windows. We are going to splint the right wing, which is the side of the break, and we are hopefully that he will recover in 6 to 8 weeks.
This is one of our orphaned Eastern cottontail rabbits. We have a special room for them, because they are very high stress animals that are difficult to treat and rehabilitate. We make sure they stay mostly in the dark, and always have quiet, with minimal human contact outside of feedings and medication treatments. This little guy has been with us for awhile now though, and will hopefully soon be ready for release.
Raccoons suffer from many diseases, however four that stand out to us as a wildlife hospital are Baylisascaris procyonis, rabies, parvovirus, and distemper virus.
Rabies is the most well-known of these diseases because it is a big problem for humans as well as raccoons. It is a virus that causes acute inflammation of the brain, and is almost invariably fatal unless the victim has previously been vaccinated. Signs include flu-like symptoms, confusion, hydrophobia, and hallucinations. In addition to its deadliness, it has also been known to lie dormant in an animal for years before manifesting as symptomatic. It in zoonotic, meaning it can be transmitted between species. We have to be especially careful with raccoons, as well as other likely carriers such as bats and skunks, due to this risk.
B. procyonis is a type of parasite called a roundworm. It is fairly innocuous when infecting raccoons themselves, however it is of great concern to us due to the fact that it is also zoonotic. Infection of humans is extremely rare, with less than 20 cases reported in the last 30 years. Unlike in raccoons however, in humans, B. procyonis has the ability to penetrate the brain tissue. Due to this fact, it is extremely dangerous and difficult to treat. It has almost universally resulted in serious neurological damage or death. Even more so than rabies, B. procyonis is the reason we have stringent safety protocols when treating and caring for our orphaned, sick, or injured raccoons.
Distemper and parvovirus are both big issues primarily due to the high mortality rate involved, and their tendency to spread quickly. Neither of these viruses are zoonotic, meaning human caretakers have no need to worry about contracting them, however we still vaccinate all our raccoons for them when they arrive at NEWC. If one raccoon comes in with distemper or parvovirus, it is very possible for our entire group to get sick. This contagiousness makes them both very scary illnesses. Distemper symptoms include fever, respiratory issues, and neurological confusion. Parvovirus is characterized by vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy.
Due to all these risks, we make sure to quarantine our raccoons when they first arrive. We test them for parasites, and observe them for symptoms that could indicate a rabies infection, parvovirus, or distemper. During this period we also begin any other treatment they may need for more mundane injuries or illness. Once we’ve determined that they’re likely doing OK, we move them in with the rest of our raccoons.
This is a spider called the spined micrathena, scientific name Micrathena gracilis. Our veterinarian found it tangled up in its own web, as you can see in the photo below. These spiders spin a web with a diameter of about 10 inches, that is very tightly coiled. It is often found in woody areas, and is harmless to humans.
Generally spiders create a web using two basic types of strand, although there are exceptions to this rule. One type is sticky, and is used for catching prey, and this strand variety is criss-crossed with a normal non-sticking type that the spider can walk on. Spiders are generally very good about identifying the correct strand, and will not generally tangle themselves up, however this little girl simply had the misfortune to be caught in a big gust of wind. It tangled her web up in a ball around her, and caught her with the sticky bits. Fortunately, one of our veterinarians was walking by, and managed to free her from her predicament. Here she is ready to make another nest!
This year Dr. Mertz, Zak Mertz, and our Executive Director Katrina Bergman made a guide to creating a successful online presence for dog shelters. This project teaches the basics about setting up an organization’s website, getting information out to the public, and generally getting off on the right foot online. It has a lot of fascinating information and is worth checking out!