Keeping Wildlife in Mind This Independence Day

By Samantha Sander, DVM, Dipl ACZM

As the Fourth of July draws closer, many communities are actively preparing for their annual festivities. Patriotic fanfare coupled with the shimmering lights and booming explosions of fireworks are honored traditions often synonymous with Independence Day celebrations. Unfortunately, these celebrations can be quite harmful to local wildlife.

Fireworks in particular can be hazardous, startling any number of species to display abnormal behaviors and movements. Wildlife have been documented fleeing into public spaces and across roadways, flying into buildings or other obstacles, and abandoning nests as well as their young. This extreme flight response can cause injury and death, increased exposure of young to predators, and a stress response so severe it can cause death to the animal. Fireworks and firecrackers have also been blamed as a source of litter, which can be a choking hazard and toxic if ingested, as well as starting wildfires, which can cause extreme habitat destruction in some cases. These extreme responses aren’t unique to wildlife – fireworks celebrations have triggered PTSD episodes in people, overwhelmed individuals with sensory sensitivities, and are associated with a marked increase in runaway pets each year. Continue reading

Fathers of the Animal World

Last month, we took a look at some adorable photos of animal moms in honor of Mother’s Day. This month, let’s talk about some interesting animal dads that we see in the Wildlife Medical Clinic!

Red Fox

Red foxes are one of the animals we see on a fairly regular basis in the clinic, and they do have some very cool dad-ttributes. See what I did there? Once the pups are born, the vixen (mom) needs to stay with her newborns, so the tod (dad) is responsible for providing enough food to feed the entire family! As the pups get older, dad will take them out to play, roughhouse, and learn valuable hunting and survival skills, all while giving mom a much-needed break! Continue reading