24 June 2011

Home for Wayward Wildlife

Aparently I am now running a wild animal refuge center.

On Wednesday morning, I glanced in the compost bin to see two tiny trembling rats completely covered in mud. It has been quite dry in recent weeks and I have seen a rat climbing out of there at night. Not a bad place for a nest really; it's warm and full of food.

Mama Rat was clearly not anticipating the deluge of rain we had late Tuesday night that left her nest soaked and her babies in a swamp land. 

Drowned Rats
 I scooped the little ratties up on a big shovel and deposited them in a new nest of fresh pine shavings. They just sat and shivered for quite a while, but eventually took a few nibbles of the moistened cat / dog / chicken food mixture I offered them (we were fresh out of rat food I'm afraid). 
Almost dry.

By afternoon they had dried out and fluffed up and are actually pretty cute. I now fully understand the reference to looking like a "drowned rat."

Much better now.
On Thursdsay morning, I checked the compost bin to be sure I'd found all the rats. No rats. There was a baby possum in there! This one I was not so eager to scoop up. Even at its small size, it still hissed at me. I left it there. 

In the evening, I offered it the same cat / dog / chicken food mixture (fresh out of possum food too) which it happily accepted. I left some branches propped against the inside of the bin and said goodnight. 

Friday morning there were no baby animals in the compost. Little possum must have found its way out by climbing the branches. The rats are happy in their temporary home until they are big enough to be let out.

I fully expect to to find a litter of kittens, skunks or racoons one of these days! 

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