Jul 29, 2016

Skunk stuck in a bathtub

By Rebecca Dmytryk

It was supposed to be a day off (What's that?). Duane and I were headed for a sweet little coffee shop for pastries then to an early showing of the Bourne movie, when we received a call from the Santa Cruz Animal Shelter about a skunk, stuck in someone's bathtub. What? Really?... Yep.

We threw on rescue tees and headed for Aptos to one of the oddest calls we've ever had... how did a skunk get into the house and climb into the bathtub in which he is now stuck because he can't climb out? The family had been home all night, lots of kids (sleepover), boxer-dog, but maybe the sliding glass door was left open... 

In preparation for the rescue, the sweet dog was put in one of the bedrooms and the kids were going to wait outside to watch the release. They were super great - very quiet and patient. So was the skunk.

The idea was to get the animal covered with a sheet so the fabric will take the hit if it sprayed - which I really thought it would. I warned the homeowner that it was a distinct possibility, and gave some tips on airing out the house - like simmering French roast coffee all day to neutralize the odor.

The key with skunks is to be really quiet - silent - and very, very slow. I used a large bed sheet to approach and cover the animal. He was super tolerant and didn't spray until we were running towards the slider - I am sure the sound of my heeled boots on the hardwood floor didn't help! In the end, the only casualty was the Ken doll.

Check out the rescue:

Jul 22, 2016

Entangled great horned owl

This afternoon, WES received a call from the DeLaveaga Golf Course in Santa Cruz. An owl was entangled in the drive range netting, about 30' high or so. Lewis Tree Service had offered use of their bucket truck, they just needed some experienced hands to free the bird.

Once scene, we asked patrons to stop hotting balls while we performed the rescue.

Lewis Tree Service allowed Duane to use the bucket to reach the owl. It took a bit of doing to untangle the bird's sharp talons, but in just a couple of minutes, the bird was free.

 The bird was bright and alert. We consulted with a wildlife hospital for instructions and it was decided the bird was fit enough to be released.

Check out the video of the rescue:

Jul 13, 2016

A new nest for a mourning dove family

Yesterday afternoon, Deanna Barth, lead responder for wildlife emergencies in her community of Hollister, answered a call about a fallen baby dove - mourning dove. When she arrived on scene, one of the parents was on the shallow twig nest, tending to a nestling, the other one was on the ground just below. 

For safe keeping, Deanna boxed up the fallen baby and took it with her while she gathered supplies and crafted a new nest. 

The new nest was made out of a shallow plastic bin to mimic the depth of the dove nest. Holes were drilled in the bottom to allow for drainage. 

When Deanna approached the tree to replace the nest, the parents flew onto a nearby roof and watched.

Deanna placed the original nest material in basket, cable tied the plastic bin to the branches, then placed both birds into their new nest.  

One of the most important but time-consuming steps in reuniting baby wildlife is monitoring afterwards to confirm a successful reunion. Deanna watched from afar, and it wasn't long before one of the parents flew to the nest.

Great job, Deanna!!!

Jul 9, 2016

Grate trouble

This morning, WES was called on to help a skunk reportedly stuck in a drain grate at New Brighton State Beach near Capitola. It had evidently tried to go down into the drain and got caught at the hips. 

When we arrived, we found the upturned skunk in excellent condition, considering. He was very alert and a biter. 

There was no way to manipulate the skunk's body through the opening, so we used two types of grinders to cut through the thick metal. The animal's fur was soaked with water so it wouldn't catch fire and the metal was cooled with water during the process.

Check out the rescue video: