Boris & Natasha as babies.,
orphaned brother and sister.
First raccoons raised and
released from Sky Harbor.
STORIES FROM THE HEART
Just two handfuls of fur and big eyes, Chuckie arrived. Three
young raccoons were spotted huddled against the cold in a
residential yard. Chuckie was the smallest and the slowest.
a day or so passed and no mother seemed present. Hungrey,
cold, the young ones clearly needed help and the call came into
Sky Harbor. As the rescue capture began, Chuckies’ larger
siblings found a broken board in the fence and made their
escape, leaving small stumbling baby brother behind, destined
Chuckie was the most terrified little guy we had seen in a while.
He had wide frightened eyes, displayed defensive posture, did
a pretty good impression of a big mean snarly raccoon and
was pretty accurate with his biting aim. My fingers and hands
can attest to that! We scooped him up and giggled as he
whimpered pathetically, curled into a ball, slapping both paws
over his eyes. He was so frightened he wet all over himself and
us. ” Poor little guy”, I cooed as I wrapped him in a soft blanket
and held him close.
His body was thin, his fur scruffy, he wasn’t interested in our
offerings of milk replacer. We placed him with two other baby
coons about his size. He cried, cowered and they began to
work him over. We quickly rescued him from that situation.
Chuckie remained terrified of other raccoons, us, the dog, cats,
free ranging chickens, ducks and basically , whatever moved.
He would sneak out to grab some chow, fruit or veggies and
race back to the safety of his hammock, where he would tuck
himself under his quilt and remain there, munching away.
Each day we would grab him up, wrap him in a big soft blanket
and try to get some warm milk formula in his tummy. We held,
cooed to him a while and hoped for the best. We will never
know the whole story of what happened to him or his mother,
but it must have been terrible for him.
We continued to work with Chuckie and he soon decided
maybe we were not so bad after all. He remains wary of us but
has become all that he needs to be as a healthy young boy. He
will continue to make progress and with any luck Chuckie will
scamper off this spring with several other of his cage mates,
into the heavy woods to explore and learn and be wild again.
KUMQUAT, KI W I & BERRY
Three tiny furry bodies, barely three weeks
old, complaining heartily about empty
tummies. There they were, huddled inside
a box of fruit delivered to a Tampa produce
stand from Plant City.
Thanks to some very caring folks, who
luckily knew about hand feeding newborn
kittens, the babies were cared for overnight
and brought to our center by a terrific lady
Hungry, confused and lost, they were fed
and quickly transferred to their warm
enclosure of soft blankets and stuffed toys.
Within a few days, all three were devouring
bottle after bottle of formula. Moira called
to check on their progress several times.
The little masked bandits had quickly stolen
her heart, but she knew she had made the
best decision for their care.
Kiwi, Kumquat and Berry will sleep, eat,
play and snuggle and take many months to
grow and learn what all raccoons must
know. In the wild, they would stay with
mama up to a year, so they will be with us
7-8 months before being released. They
will learn to eat on their own, swim, climb,
play, defend themselves, discover what
delicious golden substance is inside an
egg and chase fish around their pool.
All three will become more territorial,
aggressive and independent as they reach
maturity. Fast and strong, with long sharp
teeth, a vicious bite, wicked claws and
increasingly unpredictable as the wild
instincts take over, we will wisely be much
less “hands on” with them. In the end, we
will close the gap and prepare them for
release far from humans, around April or
May, 2009, as soon as the weather is
Our success will be bittersweet, there will
be no good bye hugs or kisses…just an
open door and a few tearfully whispered
words as they scamper out into the
world…..goodbye little ones, our job here is
done, be free now and take care!