Spring means baby animals and Ontario SPCA Animal Control Officers often receive calls about wildlife in need of help.
In early May, we received a report about a mother raccoon and her babies in distress. Karolina, one of our Animal Control Officers, attended the home in Richmond Hill and heard the cries of baby raccoons coming from underneath a garden shed. When she looked a bit closer, she noticed what looked like a rabbit hole underneath one side of the building. It was small enough for baby raccoons to crawl inside, but not large enough for their mother to retrieve them.
After consulting with Shades of Hope Wildlife Rescue, it was decided the best approach would be to cut holes in the floor of the shed to free the animals. The homeowner, who also wanted to see a happy ending for these kits, agreed to help. They carefully began cutting, as the mother raccoon watched from a distance. Once the first hole was cut and she could hear the babies cry even louder, the mother approached a little closer, climbed the fence and watched through a window.
“We left the shed at this point to allow the mother to come in and potentially pull out some of the babies, but instead she left into the other backyard and circled back around to the initial spot where she had been sitting. She waited again very patiently,” reports Karolina.
That’s when Karolina knew this raccoon family needed a bit of extra help. She reached in and began rescuing the babies, which were covered in mud from the damp conditions under the shed. She placed them in the warm spring sun and watched as their mother approached and moved them, one at a time, to a safe spot nearby.
After hearing more crying coming from underneath the shed, the officer noticed another baby raccoon crawling towards the hole in the floor. The animal was cold, wet and weak. She laid it in the sun to warm up and watched as its mother came and carried it away.
Sadly, there was one final kit under the shed that appeared to be dead. It was drenched in water that wasn’t moving. On closer inspection, the officer could see that it was alive, but its vital signs were very weak. She immediately took the baby for assessment to see if it could be saved. But by the time she arrived, this resilient raccoon kit had rallied! It was moving around, looking for food and crying out for its mother.
Eager to reunite this raccoon family, the Animal Control Officer immediately returned to the home and placed the raccoon near where she knew the mother was hiding with her babies.
“As I stepped away from the baby, the mother poked her head out from the deck, looked at me, and then ran towards the baby, grabbed it and brought it right in to where the others were,” Karolina says.
This story could have had a much different outcome, but thanks to a concerned property owner and a fast-acting Animal Control Officer, this raccoon family had a happy ending. Search “wildlife” on our blog for more great stories about wildlife, and tips to keep wildlife safe.
See below a photo story of the mother raccoon coming to collect her kit!