On Wed, 24 Jun 2009 18:47:02 -0500, email@example.com wrote:
I had to laugh when I read this. One of my very first experiences
years ago: I was able to capture an ailing squirrel easily. Took her
to a specific vet tech who had lots of experience with squirrels--had
even kept and raised a few. As she was reaching for the door, she
said "Stand back...if you don't know what you're doing..." and of
course, right on cue, the squirrel took a flying head butt against the
door, and was past us in a flash. We ended up chasing a pissed off
squirrel up and down a huge veterinary lab for an hour and a half.
Poor little thing was probably stressed, but she ended up doing well.
Some are so quick that it's like being in a Star Trek time warp...just
running in a different time reference from humans.
Such a joy to see that, isn't it. They do seem to take so much joy in
Yes, I think we humans can learn a lot from squirrels. My dog loved to
chase squirrels in his younger days and the squirrels seems to equally
enjoy it. They had a route they would follow every day. I think it's
all about living in the moment.
Even worse when they have their incisors buried in yer bloody thumb.
There have been many moments when I said "This is it...I'm done", but
I really can't blame them for defense against the big creature with
the syringe. Probably like an alien abduction for them.
Can't turn your back for a microsecond, that's for sure. I had one
that did some kind of amazing contortion...I looked over and he's
standing calmly -in front- of his cage door. I thought I had lapsed,
but the door was locked. Put him back in and watched closely--he did
this amazing twist that somehow got his skull through through a space
just over an inch wide. That was a full-grown adult, too. I had to
thread wire through all the wider gaps in the cages.
Never had a chance to spend much time with one. Seems like fun. They
do have their own type of charm.
First time I saw a big one lumbering through a city park at 2 am, I
admit that he gave me a jolt. You're expecting that movement to be a
rat, so the size is startling.
I've rarely seen them any time but very late. I suppose someone could
try to mess with one and pay for his ignorance, but I never saw them
as a problem. Raccoons, maybe a bit more. I assume that you've heard
about increased incidence of Baylisascaris procyon (a nematode). It's
been killing off more small mammals lately. Exotics vets are seeing
more of it.
The damn eggs are so durable and resistant that we were instructed to
use propane torches to disinfect cages.
Brave little guys, eh. There's a Baylisascaris species that affects
skunks too. It's not procyon...I don't remember the species. Lower
incidence, so probably not as much a threat.
Thanks, Lee. Doesn't look good for immediate improvement. I don't
see how it can be contained, so the only short term hope may be
There's a video at Cave Biota that may be useful to people who ask
about Bats or WNS:
As others have said there are going to be real difficulties with keeping the
grass growing and preventing it from turning into a churned up smelly bog.
What seems to be kind for the animal isn't necessarily right. There is no
need to reinvent the wheel, why not consult with people who know how to
support the animals that you rescue? I don't know where you are but here
there are networks set up for doing just that who have great experience.
On Tue, 23 Jun 2009 14:19:14 +1000, "David Hare-Scott"
I appreciate the suggestion, David, but I'm in a big city, and there
aren't many resources, especially for seriously injured animals. Their
main requirement is veterinary care, medication and monitoring, and
that's my job. The 'gardening' thing is an aside. I felt that it
would help their recovery and hopefully relieve some stress.
These particular critters are from parks where they have lived on
regular manicured grass for many generations. Obviously I couldn't
monitor them if they were running loose in a field (not that most of
'em would be up for that), so the small patches of grass seem to be
the closest I could get. And keep in mind that the alternative is the
floor of a cage, which is not exactly natural.
Anyway, the suggestions for more hearty vegetation (clover?) seem to
be the most productive suggestion so far. The cages are arranged so
that they get natural sunlight, but of course there has to be enough
shade, so whatever kind of turf may not be uniformly exposed to sun.
Sounds like I'd have to give up on trying to keep grass alive over the
winter. So be it.
So...clover or...any others?
The cages have flat plastic flooring. I could perforate it easily if
there's a requirement for ventillation from below, or for more
drainage. Or maybe set up pan-shaped bases with sand or pebbles
underneath for drainage? That's the kind of advise that would be
PS: Your comment about 'smelly bog' made me laugh, cause that's where
the first small-scale test was headed.
Squirrels will appreciate sticks. They need to chew to keep their
teeth from growing too much. If you're indoors, perhaps leaves and
straw which could be cleaned out daily.
For grass and such, you can buy wheat grass at many supermarkets. Or
buy grass seed and sow it in pots.
On Tue, 23 Jun 2009 08:42:37 -0500, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Hi Kate. Your practical reply kind of caught me by surprise (the
thread has taken on a life of its own <g>).
Yeah, we provide sticks and limbs, and have people pick up driftwood,
etc. Their teeth grow constantly, and they need to keep them worn
down. A couple of the little guys think they're beavers; amazing how
much wood they can chomp through. We also build low structures out of
limbs for those who are safe climbing. (Some of the more severe
injuries need to be kept in low cages so they can't attempt to climb).
Re the 'mini-lawn': I first tried small test patch of grass, but it
probably had too little drainage. Not sure what our supermarkets
have, but I'll check that.
The indoor enclosures do have substrates, etc., but I try to take
advantage of our summer weather, especially for those who have been
cooped up for a while. The natural UV makes a big difference.
Seems like this question is off the beaten path. I suppose that most
are more familiar with growing grass lawns, but it occurs to me now
that this is relatively specialized. Maybe wishful thinking on my
part to be attempting the 'mini-lawn' thing.
I understand your desire to make life better for them. I volunteered
at a wildlife rehab several years back and would take in herbs and
greens and carrot greens from my yard for the bunnies and gathered
sticks and limbs for the squirrels. I work in dog rescue now and am
always trying to come up with ways to make the dogs lives better while
they're with us.
I don't know about lawns but as others have said, rye is a quick
growing grass and oats grow quickly too. There are short variety
carrots that would grow in a 6 inch deep planter, maybe made of peat.
The wheat grass is usually found in the produce section, I think, for
people who drink it or something. I've bought it once for a cat - the
peat pot it was in wasn't heavy enough for the cat grazing and I
repotted into a clay pot.
Good luck, have fun and thanks for doing what you do.
If you're done with this silliness, here's the complete quote that you
- ... the sod will just be
- used as a 'floor' in enclosures. I suppose I'll have to get some
- kind of a large pan, and possibly punch holes in the bottom to make
- sure it doesn't get too wet (that was the mistake made on the first
- smaller scale test). Again, absolutely no experience with this,
So to recap:
Experience with growing 3' * 3' clumps of grass: None
Experience rescuing animals: Lots
Please be done with the judgemental thing soon, OK? Do you have
practical advice on the question that was posted?
I'm sorry I don't know a lot about gardening so I can't help you
there. I think some of the ideas you have come up with are great and
you should try them. Obviously you've already discovered what doesn't
I read some of you're other responses. I just wanted you to know that
I think it's a great thing what you're doing for the rescued animals.
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