One of "Those" Moments
Ever had one of those moments when you realize humanity and wildlife both hurt and help each other? We did just recently.
The Stitt Group’s offices sit on a large city lot nestled among dozens of mature trees – Oaks, Maples, and Redbuds. One hot afternoon, we found a baby raccoon wobbling around in our parking lot. Not knowing whether it just fell out of its nest or what, we moved it to the base of a tree that appeared to have a nesting cavity and kept an eye on it.
As the afternoon wore on, we heard chattering high in the tree and suspected one or more babies were still in the nest. Our offices are next to Highway 71, a heavily trafficked thoroughfare, and after talking together, we determined the mother raccoon had become a fatality. We had unknowingly seen evidence of that earlier in the week. We guessed that after several days alone, the baby fell from its nest while instinctively looking for food.
David Stitt, our CEO and not-so-secret fan of wildlife, determined we would need a 40-foot ladder to reach the remaining babies. Being in the custom home design/build business, we were fortunate enough to have one on hand, so we positioned it on the tree and David climbed up. He rescued one more baby, who was much livelier and more vocal than the first, which was nearing exhaustion.
We put them together in a box and called around for a local wildlife rehabilitator. Northwest Arkansas has been growing rapidly, and much of the habitat for local wildlife has been eliminated. As a result, the rehabbers we spoke with already had full loads. Everyone in our office who saw the babies was distraught over the situation. Following the rehabber’s advice and feeling a sense of urgency, we dashed to the store and purchased a bottle of Pedialyte, powdered KRM (kitten replacement milk), and tiny bottles. We tried to feed them while considering what to do next.
A temporary home
With the end of the day fast approaching and no options left, David sent a photo of one of the babies to his daughters, who immediately agreed to become temporary surrogate parents. After a week in their care, the babies had names: Rigby and Rocket. They had also recovered from their trauma and were climbing up everything – from people’s legs to the bricks on the walls. They were ready for a new home!
Devils Den State Park to the Rescue
Devils Den State Park is about 50 miles south of Rogers. Hoping the Park would be able to help, David called and spoke with Terry Anderson, who agreed to take the babies that weekend. David and family packed them up and drove to the Park to deliver them to Terry. Following up with her several days later, she said, “They are growing and doing great.”
The Life and Times of Baby Mammals
Rigby and Rocket will become a part of the Devil's Den State Park’s summer educational program: The Life and Times of Baby Mammals. If you want to see them , join Terry and special guests on June 16, 2018, from 8:00 – 8:45 p.m. to learn the unique qualities and importance of some of the Park’s baby animals. Plan to meet at the amphitheater near Area E.
What we learned
- Wildlife rehabilitators are in short supply, so please support them in any way you can!
- Raccoons forage for food at night, so moms should be with their babies during the day unless something is wrong
- A mother raccoon will only reject a baby if it is sick, injured or has a defect.
- It’s against the law in many states to keep a racoon as a pet
- Raccoons can potentially carry the rabies virus, and humans can contract it through a bite or scratch
From humans to raccoons, every creature deserves a good home. We're here to help make that happen - primarily for humans!