Chattering in the Chimney

What was that noise? Scratching and chattering....up and down, only at dusk and dawn. Fellow wildlife rehabilitator, Krystal Moore, from Conway set out to resolve the question. A quick look with a flashlight revealed several pair of eyes staring back at her and she knew in an instant it was raccoons. A few emails between us and a resolution was decided to try to trap mama and babies for removal and relocation. The babies came easily and were all trapped the first night. Mama coon came back that night and looked frantically for her babies, which had been taken away. Krystal was heartsick about the mom losing her babies and was determined to reunite the family. The second night, Krystal put out a live trap with a fresh can of stinky canned cat food. She placed the crying babies near by in a kennel cab to attract mama coon's attention. It worked and the mama was quickly trapped. Krystal contacted HAWK Center in the morning when removing the trap. She had noticed the mama coon had a severe laceration to her belly and would need medical attention. So, I drove to meet her half way in Morrilton.

As we loaded the trapped raccoon from Krystal's car to mine, it was obvious that the coon was very angry and in pain. The skin on her belly was hanging loose and I worried about the outcome. Krystal thought the coon had ripped herself open on the trap and I assured her that this injury had happened elsewhere. I loaded the babies in case we could still reunite the family, and then Krystal & I parted company. She, back to work, and I to Dr. Davis for the mama coon.

At the clinic, we immediately anesthetized the raccoon and quickly assessed her physical condition. Her belly was indeed ripped open, but not from any laceration. She had suffered from mastitis, a sometimes severe infection of the mammary glands. This infection literally caused her teat to split open, resulting in a deep gaping wound. Because of the severity of her wound, the time it would take to heal, and the requirements to clean the wound would mean daily anesthesia, we chose to euthanize. It wasn't an easy decision, especially because of the babies she would leave behind.

Sadly, we now have four truly orphaned raccoon babies. On the way home, I dropped them off with another Russellville rehabilitator who only had a solo baby. The solo will benefit tremendously from having new siblings, so all is well in the end.

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