Nature has been in my face all week, more than usual. Don’t get me wrong, I love nature.
However, this week I have dealt with more animal tragedies than I have the entire year before. It seems spring has sprung and baby animals are everywhere. Our cats, Rocky and Scooter, are expert hunters it seems. I love this quality when it comes to them keeping our barn mouse free. I hate this quality when they deliver bunnies and snakes to my doorstep.
Last week Big Z found Rocky had a Northern Fence Lizard pinned to the ground playing with her prey. We were able to rescue “Rufus” and he is almost ready to be released, though he is missing part of his one arm which we learned will grow back. He had some puncture wounds from the cat and had to be given some antibiotics from the wildlife rehabilitator. He moves around nicely now and gets his own water and ants. Prior to this she had caught two snakes and dismantled them on our walkway for our viewing pleasure.
Last Friday night I came home to a very distressed Lil’ Z. He was very concerned for the squirrel he found in the driveway. Apparently it fell out of a tree and was now paralyzed. It was quite a sad sight to see. Lil’Z got a bucket and gloves and moved the squirrel inside out of harms way. Sadly the critter didn’t make it, and this led to many tears from a compassionate little boy.
Yesterday Rocky, our wild mama cat, showed up with a red-bellied woodpecker in her mouth. The kids made a plan to let her in and grab her by the neck, then she would release the bird from her mouth. That planned worked for the most part, except we had a woodpecker flying frantically around the house for a few moments. We were able to release the woodpecker unharmed, but not without a few squeals and screams from the girls. The woodpecker also left behind a little token of his time here, splattered to the floor.
Now that we realize Rocky is on a killing spree and has discovered a nest of baby bunnies, we need to keep her in the house. She came to the door yesterday with a baby bunny in her mouth. We are trying to keep the bunny warm, but she was quite frightened, I’m not sure she’ll make it. We have a fantastic animal rehab person, Lynne McCoy, that dedicates her life to raccoons, foxes, squirrels and other wild creatures of East Tennessee. We were able to take Rufus, the lizard, and the baby bunny to her today. She treated them with antibiotics and placed the baby bunny in an incubator. He didn’t seem to suffer any physical injuries but was in shock. It was amazing to see all of the animals she takes care of in her home. There were squirrels, baby birds, eggs, and turtles everywhere. What an incredible lady.
So what did we learn through all of this up close and personal interaction with nature this week? We learned about animal identification, habitats, and care. We also learned about compassion and mercy. We learned about more jobs available in our community and had discussions about what kind of dedication it takes to have such a job as a wildlife rehabilitator. We also learned more about death and the circle of life. We also learned about cats and the damage they can do in the spring, so it’s best to keep your cats inside this time of year, no matter how much they protest. Wow, what a lot of learning we accomplished and we didn’t even have to set down at a desk once for it.
What have you learned from your interactions with nature?