Although I remember every wild animal that comes through my door, certain animals have had personalities that have stuck with me.
Belfry – This Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus) was found hanging on the siding of someone’s house when he was only four days old in June 2001. The homeowner tried to reunite him with his mother but she wouldn’t accept him back into the roost, so I became his surrogate mother. He was raised alongside 21 other bats that summer but he had a birth defect that prevented him from being able to fly for long periods of time, deeming him unreleasable. He became an educational ambassador and created quite a name for himself! In addition to visiting numerous elementary, middle, and high schools, Belfry was my sidekick for a presentation at SciTrek, the children’s science museum in Atlanta. Unfortunately, Belfry passed away in January 2004.
John & Yoko - These two orphaned raccoons came to me in the summer of 2003. John had three littermates (named Ringo, Paul, and George, natch), while Yoko, the only female raccoon I had that year, had no siblings. About two weeks before I released all of them, John and Yoko escaped from their habitat onto our farm. Because they were nearly old enough to be released, I decided not to catch them. Although the raccoons are able to forage for food on their own, my parents took interest in supplementing their food (especially in the winter) and built a raccoon feeder on their deck. John and Yoko are regulars at the feeder. In the spring of 2009, Yoko gave birth to three kits. After a couple of months, Yoko started bringing the kits to the raccoon feeder for nightly feedings. My parents were able to capture some photos of Yoko and the three kits with a game camera they set up on the deck. At the time these two pictures were taken, the kits were too short to stand up and reach into the feeder, so they had to climb up on top of it!
Twitchy – Twitchy was found in someone’s backyard after a storm had knocked his nest out of a tree in 2004. The woman who found him named him “Twitchy” because he made jerky movements every time she touched him. Thankfully, despite falling out of a tree, he didn’t have any neurological injuries and the twitching subsided once he realized humans were here to help him. However, the name stuck. Twitchy was released into the wild in July 2004.
Larry, Curly and Moe – Larry, Curly and Moe were the first opossums I ever rehabbed.
They came to me by way of Debbie, another rehabber, back in 2001. Debbie had so many opossums to raise that she gave me three with the instructions of “Let’s see how you do with these guys, and then I’ll give you more.” These three marsupials were just the *beginning* of the many, many opossums I’d rehab that summer. Each week, I’d bring the opossums over to Debbie’s house so she can look at my progress, and each week I’d leave with another batch of opossums in a basket. I think I rehabbed 25 opossums that season!