Less Wordy Wednesday – A conversation between seals

Here comes Less Wordy Wednesday! Today I’m featuring a group of critters who popped out of the water to brighten your day. See the captions below to find out what they’re really thinking or saying to each other.

We’ll start with one of my favorites–the seal. These photos were taken in La Jolla, CA and by the number of pics I’ve posted you can tell they weren’t camera shy.

fuzzy seal

Oh, great. Look over there Stella, Bob’s having trouble pulling himself onto the rocks. Am I going to have to help him … AGAIN? Jeez, I just got dry.

climbing seal

I can do this. I can. I just wish everyone would stop staring. It’s the kelp. Yeah, it’s the kelp’s fault. It’s just so slippery. Hey, is Leroy laughing?

laughing seal

Bob, buddy, you’ve gotta hit the gym. Maybe do a few push-ups or something. You’re like a limp fish over there. Even the mollusks are laughing at you.

Another character that was all too happy to pose for the camera, although we were a little fearful, is the Louisiana Alligator.

Scary gator

I’m not hungry, just bored. Lean a little further this way…

Um, this was not taken with a zoom lens. We were in a small boat out in Cajun Country and our guide reassured us that it was too cold for the gators to eat (it was February). Right after that he informed us the gator could be in our boat in seconds if he really wanted to. Very reassuring. I will say he didn’t move at all, I’m not even sure he blinked. Different from the ones we’ve seen kayaking in Georgia and the Carolinas, but that’s a whole other story.

And now, the best for last. They’re not really the prettiest creatures and they’re not really hard to come by. The experience was just so bizarre I had to include it. The carp at The Spillway in Pymatuning State Park, PA.

spillway sign

carp

I love bread. Me too! Especially when it’s devoid of all nutrients! Hey, does anyone up there have Twinkies? Ooh, yeah. Or Cheetos. Those are my favorite.

This is an actual attraction listed in my travel book. People flock here to toss bread to the carp that have found themselves hanging out in the spillway. The carp become so thick that ducks supposedly walk across their backs trying to nab a bite of bread. We did not get to witness this, but it was still somewhat entertaining.

Bread is sold along the highway and even at the local liquor store. From what I understand, a few years back the parks people became concerned with the nutritional deficiencies that could be caused by eating loaves upon loaves of Wonder Bread. They decided to install those pellet machines, where you can by a handful of pellets for a quarter. Well, I guess the people were not having this–they wanted to toss bread and bread alone.

Thanks for checking out my photos!

I’d love to hear what you have to say. Any interesting animal encounters? How about your own caption for the gator or seals? Or leave a comment with anything else that jumps to mind 🙂

Being a squirrel momma: a tale of hope, love and exhaustion

I was inside lounging on the couch, sipping a cool glass of ice tea, when my husband stopped his yard work and bounded into the house, beet red and sweaty.

“Oh dear, it looks hot out there,” I said, squeezing more lemon into my tea.

“Why, yes it is,” he said, wiping the sweat from his brow. He turned and pointed to the pine tree. “But, you must come quick. There is something you have to see.”

My fingers loosened on the lemon, letting it slip into the glass. Whatever could it be?

I followed him to our big pine tree and the baby squirrel squirming just below it. Upon seeing him I knew exactly what I must do: search the Internet for exactly what to do.

Isn't he a cutie?

Isn’t he a cutie?

First I needed to try to reunite him with mommy. I scooped him up, warmed him, and set him near the base of the tree.

I waited. I drank more tea. I waited some more. Then I had a glass of wine. Where was she? I had another glass of wine and cursed the terrible rodent mother. Now it was dark and my squirrel was still an orphan.

I had called all of the animal rehabbers in town and everyone was full. So I plucked up the little bundle and sent my hubby out for supplies.

That night, I slept in the spare room with Pinkie. I named him that because baby squirrels are born with light pink skin and don’t have fur yet. Hence, they are called pinkies in the squirrel loving community. You’re impressed with my creativity. I know it…

I woke up every two hours to hydrate Pinkie with Pedialyte, using a 1cc syringe. I don’t have an actual picture so here is a recreation:

Okay, so it's a stuffed animal and a lemur. It's the best I could do...

Okay, so it’s a stuffed animal and a lemur. It’s the best I could do…

I also helped him potty. I was going to recreate this, but I thought I would spare you the horror.

And I made sure his shoebox was half on the heating blanket, and half off in case he needed to roll away from the heat. I was doting, what can I say?

So, it looks a little cramped. But you get the idea.

Yes, his shoebox looks a little cramped. But you get the idea.

In the morning I tried to reunite momma and baby again. But momma never came.

When it was dark, I went out to get puppy formula. Everyone online recommended Fox Valley formula, but that had to be ordered and then delivered. There was no time for that!  He’d been without nourishment for over 24 hours now, and that’s significant amount of time when you typically eat every few hours.

Well, Pinkie must have been famished because he loved it. No, I can’t read squirrels minds. But he made squeaking sounds when the syringe was pulled away and fought with his still rubbery fingernails to bring the syringe back to his mouth. So, I’m pretty sure it was at least palatable.

I woke up every two hours to feed him, and by morning I was exhausted and fully appreciative of all the momma squirrels out there, even Pinkie’s degenerate one.

My next step, besides trying to convince one my cats to foster this thing, was figuring out what to do about work. Not only would they frown on an infant squirrel in my office, I required more than a couple of hours sleep each night.

Pinkie after one of his late night feedings.

Pinkie after one of his late night feedings.

So, I called the only person left who I thought could help, an independent rehabber I’d met a couple weeks prior during a marmot rescue (another story for another day). I knew squirrels weren’t really his thing, but I thought he might know someone who could help­—and he did.

My husband and I packaged up Pinkie and headed north.

“You know,” I said to my hubby, “this woman will likely be crazy.” I stroked Pinkie along his tiny back. “I mean, how many people do you know running a squirrel orphanage out of their house?”

Twenty minutes later we were there. It looked normal enough, though the neighbors’ stares lingered as we walked up the driveway with Pinkie’s shoebox.

At least five and a half dogs greeted us at the door. The back room housed a variety of creatures including a toothless cat. Outside, chickens frolicked with bunnies. According to the woman, a raccoon she had rescued years ago still lived under her deck. It was both frightening and endearing at the same time, so many animals coexisting in one house.

Pinkie’s new home was already set up with lots of cozy blankets. She looked him over before setting him in the glass enclosure. Over the phone she’d been concerned about his survival—young little pinkies usually don’t fare so well. But, after seeing him, she was confident he was going to make it.

I left Pinkie that afternoon and never contacted the woman again. I don’t know if he made it or not. It was easier that way. It’s easier to picture him all grown up, hopping with the bunnies and taunting the toothless cat. It’s easier to think I did the right thing, that I helped save a little life.

How I picture Pinkie today.

How I picture Pinkie today.

**Disclaimer** There are many websites that provide guidance on caring for baby squirrels. The best thing for a baby squirrel is to be with its mother. A baby squirrel is very fragile and requires meticulous, constant care to thrive. In my case, I tried to reunite my squirrel with his mother and then tried to find a rescue group with staff trained in animal rehabilitation. Unfortunately, I was not able to do either of these things and so I took it upon myself to care for this squirrel. I did extensive research before I began feeding my baby and I was still terrified I might hurt the little creature. That being said, I felt I had no other choice. I would either be a foster mom or this little baby would die. Please, if you find an orphaned baby squirrel try to reunite it with its mother. There are resources online that will give you pointers on how best to do this. If this doesn’t work,  try to get your baby to a licensed/trained rehabilitator. This will be the squirrel’s best chance at survival. Lastly, in some states, it can be illegal to keep and care for a wild animal.