Five baby raccoons huddle in a live trap after being separated from their mother. -

“Nuisance ” call leaves baby raccoons trapped, separated from mother

By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

Five baby raccoons arrived at the wildlife hospital huddled in a live trap, visibly frightened, after being removed from their nest in a church ceiling. The babies were separated from their mother and although she tried to protect herself and her babies, she was no match for the nuisance wildlife trapper.

The situation at the church did not allow for us to try and reunite the babies with their mother, which was heart breaking - especially since the babies were only a couple of weeks away from being able to leave the nest and travel with their mom learning skills vital to survival in the wild.

The mother raccoon was obviously extremely capable of providing for her babies. All five were healthy, plump and in beautiful condition.

Although the babies had gone for 24 hours without food prior to arriving at the hospital, they were too frightened to take formula from a bottle. Staff provided bowls of milk replacement formula hoping the babies would self-feed.

It took two days for the babies to successfully figure out how to eat from the bowls of food they were offered. Currently the babies continue to rehabilitate in the mammal room at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital.

When dealing with an undesirable “nuisance” animal situation, it is extremely important to resolve the cause of the problem. Trapping and relocating is only a temporary solution.

When the trapped animal is removed, another animal will move into the vacated space.

Generally, the “nuisance” behavior is occurring because food and/or shelter (two vital components to survival) are available. The church is surrounded by fruit and nut trees so food was abundant. The quiet, warmth and darkness of the attic provided the perfect setting for the mother raccoon make her nest and raise her babies.

Keep in mind, raccoons, squirrels and various other wildlife species often have a second nest site available if their primary nest site is disturbed. Making a nest site less desirable makes it possible to gently encourage an animal to move on while allowing her to take her babies with her. There are many humane options that may encourage an animal to move on. Call the wildlife hospital for humane alternatives to trapping.

Recent Releases — 11 Animals Returned Home This Week

  • 1 big brown bat
  • 1 eastern screech owl
  • 1 brown thrasher
  • 1 gray catbird
  • 1 peninsula cooter
  • 1 hispid cotton rat
  • 2 eastern cottontails
  • 3 double-crested cormorants

Wildlife Housewarming

As the outdoor expansion has reached completion hospital staff needs to furnish and acquire supplies for animals rehabilitating in our new outdoor recovery enclosures. We are reaching out and asking community members to bring a gift item or gift basket from our wish list to our Wildlife Hospital Housewarming on Saturday December 10th between 10am to 3pm. Donations will help provide the best possible care to recovering wildlife.

Donations can be dropped off at our nature center, where we will be offering one free admission to those that donate. You will have chances throughout the day to take a peek in our nursery viewing window to see our wildlife staff at work. Our new wildlife exhibit hall and wildlife viewing courtyard will be open for nature center visitors to explore.

Our wish list and event details can be found on our website at www.conservancy.org/housewarming. Thank you for your support!