It is assumed that if you are looking for emergency information at this location that the animal in question is either in your possession or nearby where you can keep an eye on it. The first and most important thing to do at this point is to call a Wildlife Rehabilitator in your area. Your state division of wildlife management, your local veterinarian, area animal shelters, state or local police or animal control officer should be able to supply you with information on how to contact them.
You can search the following for your state's government agencies:
Your local Wildlife Rehabilitator will direct you on how to proceed.
There are some things you should do while contacting a Wildlife Rehabilitator.
Keep all animals (pets), people and children away from the animal in question. This means to confine pets in an area away from the afflicted animal. Groups of people standing around watching will overly stress an animal whose main defense is to flee from humans, diminishing its chance to survive.
If you must observe the animal, do so from a distance that does not upset it.
If you or anyone else is bitten or scratched when dealing with a wild animal you MUST immediately contact your area Health Department and report the incident.
As always, use common sense - don't approach an animal that is acting strangely or viciously.
Additionally, most Wildlife Rehabilitators do not respond to animal nuisance calls. These are handled by paid nuisance control professionals. Nuisance Animal Control professionals are generally listed in the Yellow Pages or through your state wildlife management department.
Do Not attempt to feed or water distressed animals or birdswithout contacting a Wildlife Rehabilitator - The wrong food or improper watering can kill.
State and Federal Law requires special licenses and or permit(s) to rehabilitate wildlife. Always contact a Wildlife Rehabilitator when you take possession of a wild animal in distress.
Interesting facts about Opossums
North America's only marsupial - a mammal with a pouch for nursing their young - is the opossum. Covered with a grayish white fur, opossum weigh 4 to 15 pounds and measure 2-3 feet long with a bald, rat-like tail. With a pointed snout it has a white head, black legs and feet, the toes are light pink, and has naked ears. The opossum boasts the most teeth of any land mammal with 50. The female is generally smaller than the male.
Gestation is only 12 days - even the shortest for marsupials. 5 to 25 young are born - no bigger than a bee - both naked and blind. They must crawl the approximate 2 inches from the birth canal to their mother's pouch - once inside they attach themselves to one of thirteen nipples - the nipples then swell in their mouths providing constant food for more than 2 months.
The opossum ranges in the eastern two-thirds of the United States on from 3 to 40 acres. In the wild their dens are generally located around sources of water, creating dens in hollow trees or vacated dens of other animals. Being adapt at also living in urban areas they may nest in culvert pipes, debris piles, leaf piles, under buildings and decks.
The eating habits of the opossum include almost anything - what has probably led to their survival from prehistoric times. Living up to 3 years in the wild they continue to grow throughout their life spans. Infant mortality in the pouch is from 10 to 25 percent and with those that survive weaning only around 10 percent reaches one year of age.
Opossums are nocturnal animals, spending most of the daylight hours in their dens. During the winter months they spend longer periods in their dens, but do not hibernate. They do not store food and require a constant food source through out the year. They suffer frost bitten ears and tails in northern regions during cold spells.
The opossum uses its tail as a fifth limb, primarily for grasping. They do not sleep hanging upside down from their tails. The rear feet have an opposing thumb used for tree climbing.
Though preyed on by virtually every carnivore, the opossum has unique survival methods. Its number one choice is to climb a tree to safety. If cornered it can growl, hiss and bare its 50 teeth. It can also emit a putrid smelling substance from its glands - drool and defecate. One of its most distinctive methods of survival is to "play possum" where as it reacts to fear by going into a catatonic state - lowering its heart and respiratory rates
What Makes Squirrels Go So "Squirrelly"?
As the leaves change from green to colors, the diet of gray squirrels change with the passing from one season to the next.
They begin by burying nuts in the ground as soon as they are more plentiful. They will not unearth these hidden treasures until food stores in their nests become scarce on about early winter. This treasure hunt continues until green leafy vegetation appears come early spring.
The abundance of nutty foods in fall starts the gray squirrel on his hoarding frenzy. Seemingly over night they are either eating or caching everything they can find. Walnuts, hickory nuts, acorns sugar maple seeds, pine seeds, corn etc. They will also attack peanuts and other nut fruits left out by kind hearted bird watchers.
Squirrels will also eat certain mushrooms, a good source for nutrients in their diet.
Gray squirrels will eat birds' eggs. They will take advantage of deer antlers and animal bones as a calcium and phosphorus source, chewing and gnawing on them until sated.
Many studies have been done on the highest energy bearing foods chosen by squirrels. Interestingly enough, they do not select the best foods for themselves as their favorite, opting (like a small spoiled child) to favor the more tasty (to them, anyway) offerings. Often they will eat "green" nuts of their favorite trees, not having the patience to wait for them to ripen.
Squirrels bury their nuts in about 3 inches of soil, point down and filling the hole with earth and repositioning any leaves over the site to act as camouflage. The finding of the buried nuts has more to do with smell than memory. They rarely unearth the ones they have buried, but things seem to average out. The keen sense of smell will allow them to locate the buried nuts in as much as a foot of snow.
Some of the nuts that survive the hunt and remain buried can become trees. However, squirrels are not nature's biggest planters of trees, an honor falsely bestowed upon them. But they do supply much needed food supply for other gray squirrels.
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