Wild About Wildlife
Enjoy these blog posts from staff, volunteers & board members at Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary!
More posts coming soon!
One afternoon, while we were syringe feeding our six baby squirrels for the fifth time that day, Allison answered the work phone. Sure enough, a young couple found three baby skunks meandering on the side of the road near Riggins. We assumed that they were orphaned because they were out during the day, were too young to be alone for any amount of time, and the couple found an adult skunk carcass on the road very nearby. These are all things that people need to consider before removing a wild animal from any situation. The last thing we want to do is kidnap babies that still have parents. We appreciate that these people assessed the situation and called us before taking action. Though not every animal that appears to be in distress needs our help, these three were almost certainly orphaned by a vehicle strike. Alex and I covered the rest of the bottle feedings that day so that Allison could drive three hours round trip to pick up our newest intakes.
While Allison was gone, Alex and I managed to look a few things up about how to raise baby skunks. According to one of my rehab textbooks, skunks, like most other omnivores, are bottle-fed with a puppy formula called “Esbilac” until weaned around ten weeks old. A preliminary google search also taught us that skunks weigh approximately 30 g at birth, apparently love to eat strawberries, and start to spray at three weeks old. So, we felt prepared to meet the little stinkers when Allison rolled up in Kelly (our trusty steed).
It was in the fall of 2017 when we received a particularly distressing call from Jake – Jake had a bear cub in his house. It was snowing and a bitter cold November day, and we wondered how this man ended up with a bear cub in his house. The cub would be 9 months old at this point and surely far too big and feisty for someone to have in a house, so…. Hmmmm…. Jake said that he found the cub lying in the road near his house. He instinctively just scooped it up in a blanket and rushed it home. The cub didn’t put up any sort of fight. Over the phone, Jake said that the cub was small and appeared injured and, in fact, that its head was “oozing.” Jeff immediately contacted the Idaho Fish & Game Regional Manager to coordinate with her regarding this rescue need.
We soon arrived at Jake’s house in a particularly blinding snow swirl. Several friendly border collies appeared out of nowhere to greet us. They seemed to multiply out of the snow dust! But it was all tail wags and some puppy love, so all was good. Then Jake appeared and escorted us into the house. What I saw next was heartbreaking.
My name is Allison and I am the second intern here at Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary. I’ve always loved working with animals but quickly found that I wanted my focus to be on wildlife. The ecological, genetic, and physiological differences in species fascinate me and I’m always spouting out biological facts to anyone that will listen. Because of this, I originally pursued a career in wildlife veterinary science and started my undergraduate at Montana State University majoring in animal science and organismal biology. As I got closer to graduation, the amount of schooling and money required in this field made wildlife veterinary medicine an increasingly less appealing career choice. I began frantically searching for other wildlife fields that might interest me. Veterinary clinics, agricultural studies, and conservation work, all had their pros and cons, but none of them felt right. This summer, I decided to look into wildlife rehabilitation. Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary was at the top of the list with relative proximity to home and an expansive range of species treated, cared for, and released.
My name is Alex and I’m one of two interns working at Snowdon Wildlife Sanctuary this summer. I’m an incoming college senior from Michigan and this is the first time I have ever handled wildlife, lived off the grid, or even ventured west of the Rockies. My dad and I made the nearly 30-hour drive to Idaho so I could participate in this eye-opening experience. Growing up, I have always had a deep passion for animals. Initially, I planned to go to vet school, but after learning more about the realities of student debt, I was left searching for another path in the animal care field. I have always been fascinated with wildlife, so when I saw the job posting for this internship it became my goal for my last summer as a college student. Previously, I’ve had the opportunity to work at the local animal shelter and with my school’s equestrian team. Those two jobs did not prepare me for what I was about to get myself into at Snowdon.