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December 16, 2017
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Babes in the woods

Investigating the source of repeated distress calls over several days, I discovered these baby raccoons, which were taken to the Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center for proper care. When fully grown, raccoons range in size from 28 to 38 inches, including a 10-inch tail, and typically weigh between 10 to 30 pounds, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission. They are omnivores, which means they eat both vegetable and animal matter.
TRR photos by Sandy Long

July 27, 2016

While working in the yard earlier this year, I became aware of an unusual and repetitive call emanating from the forested hillside behind our home. Uncertain whether the sound was coming from a bird or animal, I grabbed my camera and went to investigate. Drawing closer to the source, I discovered it was emanating from a football-sized opening in the upper reaches of a very tall oak tree. Soon, a petite furry face emerged, followed by a second masked creature. Baby raccoons!

At first, I was delighted at the thought of raccoons nesting in such a well-chosen site. But as the daylight hours wore on and the cries of the cubs continued, I became concerned, as this species is nocturnal. The following day, a third cub emerged and I discovered that two of the three babes had crawled down to the forest floor where they continued to emit the sound described as a “wailing tremolo” by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

It was then I recalled passing by a dead adult raccoon along the roadside above the hill where the baby raccoons were calling out in distress, most likely in need of nourishment. Judging by their size, they appeared to be between four and six weeks old (based on some Internet searching) and would require a special formula to meet their needs.

It took some doing—and some thick leather gloves—to gather the feisty trio and stow them in our cat carrier for transport to the non-profit Pocono Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center (PWRC) in Stroudsburg, PA, where 39 other baby raccoons were already receiving care. Assessed to be in good health, their prognosis was positive for an eventual return to the wild.
PWRC cares for nearly 1,300 orphaned or injured animals yearly, thanks to volunteers and donations.

Please consider supporting their vital work. Visit www.poconowildlife.com to learn more, or call 570/402-0223.