I received a call from a pet shop owner who asked me if I was interested in taking a baby rat who was critically ill with pneumonia. By the time I got to the shop, the 2 1/2 week old baby was lying flat on the floor of the cage and we all thought he had died. When I picked him up, his legs and head were limp, he was barely moving and his body was quite cold to the touch. I held the baby against my neck to warm him as I spoke to the people at the shop, and as the baby became warmer, he started to come to life. I brought him home, administered antibiotics and placed him in a warm environment. At first it was a bit difficult to feed such a sick baby because it's easy to accidently drown any animal that is occasionally sneezing/coughing while it's trying to drink fluids. However, with slow, careful feedings every 2 hours he began to revive. Now after 2 days on medication he's running all around and starting to play, wrestling with his blankets. He will be on his medication a few more days but it looks like he'll be fine. Ellen
Here's an updated photo of baby Piglet. Here, he is 13 days old.
Here are today's pictures of Piglet, the rabbit, who arrived as a naked newborn and now has some hair. He's now 7 days old and gobbling up the formula. He oinks like a pig each time he's hungry. If he survives past weaning, it will be a challenge to find a good home for him. Ellen
"Bit-bit" the domesticated rabbit arrived here as a newborn. Apparently some people had pet rabbits which they grew tired of and they released all their rabbits in the yard. It wasn't long before some of the rabbits were hit by cars, getting into the neighbor's gardens and, in addition, they began to breed. One female rabbit gave birth on an adjacent property under someone's shed, and this baby was found nearby, lying in the middle of the driveway. I'm guessing that Bit-bit was drinking from his mother as she hopped from her burrow and Bit-bit dropped off, landing in the driveway. He was rushed to me and is doing fine so far.
The people who found the baby are also now attempting to humanely capture all the loose rabbits and find homes for them. That will be quite a job because there are not enough good homes for the number of pet rabbits in need of adoption as it is. Rabbits are curious and intelligent animals, and need room to run around and have fun outside their cages.
When you look at this photo, you'll see that domesticated rabbits are born hairless, whereas the wild Cottontails are born with very short dark hair on their backs. Ellen
Sam the rat had suffered a badly broken leg at a pet shop after getting it caught on an exercise wheel. The kind owner of the shop heard him crying and ran to the rescue. She did her best to put a splint on his leg, and although Sam cried pitifully the entire time she worked on his leg, he never attempted to bite her--he only licked her hand. She offered him to me for adoption because he needed a quiet place to live while he healed and I took him home. He absolutely loves people, and when he hears me enter the room, he crawls out of bed, asking to be picked up. I took him to the vet, who replaced the splint and now Sam just needs time to heal up. He is what's called a "Dumbo Rat", which is a breed characterized by ears that are situated more on the sides of his head than on top.
Yesterday I went to visit a friend and when I got there, Stephanie told me she had found a baby rat lying in the sink in her barn. It had fallen from it's nest inside a hole in the ceiling above the barn sink. It had been lying in a puddle of cold water but Stephanie had been able to warm and revive it. Often, baby animals that are near death can be revived simply by warming them up gently. Anyway, Stephanie asked me to take the rat and so "Alfred" rode home under my shirt in order to keep him warm for the hour and a half ride. At first he was very dehydrated and I gave him warm fluids at frequent intervals including during the middle of the night. Today he is much stronger and doing very well. Some people might ask, "Why save a rat?" and my answer is "Because he wants to live, just like the rest of us do". Although it's hard for me to tell what species of rat he is at this young age (he's just a few days old), he is probably a Norway Rat, the same species as pet rats and laboratory rats. Ellen
Here is today's newest arrival, a two month old (approx.) baby opossum, found clinging to his dead mother on the side of the road. The kind woman who stopped to check out the dead mother spent some time looking for other babies in the ditch as well as inside the mother's pouch, but found none. Often, if the babies are mobile, they will crawl off the dead mother and hide in the ditch among the grasses. They can be located by little hissing sounds, which is their way of crying. This one appears to be doing fine, and is currently being rehydrated before going onto opossum formula. Often, if a mother opossum has been hit by a car and killed, her babies will still be alive inside the pouch or clinging to her body. Ellen
Here's a short video of the 12 baby opossums that arrived at Ellen's house a few weeks ago. She has received over 30 baby opossums this Spring and Summer. She writes "Now that they have been bathed, warmed and fed, they are as happy as clams."
This orphaned hatchling cockatiel arrived today. A man had some cockatiels who had laid eggs but when this baby hatched, they ignored it. Babies of this age cannot keep themselves warm and must have one of the parent birds snuggled down on top of it nearly every minute for the first few days. Since this baby is just hatched, it must be fed much more often than older babies. It is being fed a very nutritious formula which is made for hand feeding baby birds. This bird will be fed at frequent intervals throughout the day and night. Although many songbirds do not have to be fed at night, this type of bird has to be fed 24 hours a day at first. To keep a baby bird alive and thriving, it must be kept at the right temperature, fed often, fed the correct formula and the formula must be given carefully so that the baby will not drown. In addition, all feeding equipment and hands must be kept very clean, the formula itself must be at the same temperature as the bird's temperature and the bird itself should never be allowed to become coated in formula or soil of any kind. That's part of what goes into hand raising a baby bird, and though it's rewarding, it's very time consuming. I don't mind doing this at all, however, and will work as hard as I possibly can to save this baby. Ellen
This is a picture of Button (on left) and Little Bot (on right). Button was a 10 day old baby Deer Mouse, found at a restaurant with terrible injuries. He was only 1" long at the time and was missing one of his feet and part of his tail. He recovered just fine, and can run as fast as any mouse. Button was lonely for the first few months of his life and although he likes people, he really needed another Deer Mouse friend. Then along came Little Bot, another 1" long baby who had terrible Bot Fly parasites on her body. After I removed the parasites, she recovered beautifully and after she grew up I introduced her to Button. The two instantly fell in love and are absolutely happy together. They live in a huge cage with a tray of field grasses planted so they can dig holes in the dirt and chew on the plants. I gave them a branch from an apple tree and they had a great time chewing on the branch and climbing around. When the blizzards are raging outside their window this winter, these two will be feasting on gourmet food and sleeping in a warm nest box with plenty of things to do. Ellen
This is "Tidbit", a 3 day old sparrow, who was found lying on the floor of a parking garage. Tidbit is only 1 inch long and must be fed every 30 minutes. Animals this young need to be kept warm since they cannot maintain their own body temperature. Tidbit has a great appetite and is doing very well! I was only able to show you Tidbit's face because I didn't want her to fall while taking the picture and had to hold her very carefully.
Here is "Bitsy", a little House Finch who had fallen from her nest too early. At the time she was found, this bird had very few feathers and mostly bare skin. Any baby bird that does not have all it's feathers should still be in the nest. In this photo, Bitsy now has most of her feathers but still has a lot of growing to do before she can be released into the wild.
This baby red squirrel was orphaned after its tree was cut down. It was raised and released earlier this year and is now living the good life, back among the trees!
This baby Mourning Dove had fallen from its nest soon after hatching. The nest was too high to reach, so the baby could not be returned to it's nest. Baby doves must be tube-fed, as they cannot open their mouths to beg for food the way other baby songbirds do. This one was raised and released earlier this year and has happily joined other doves out in the wild.
Stop by this page often to see more of Ellen's new friends. If you want to pass a message onto Ellen regarding her Friends, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org