augusta free press news

Wildlife Center of Virginia prepares for a wild Thanksgiving

wildlife center of virginiaStaff at the Wildlife Center of Virginia are getting ready for a Thanksgiving feast for over 100 guests, including red-tailed hawks, Eastern screech owls, bald eagles, black bears, deer mice, and reptiles including Eastern box turtles, Eastern ratsnakes, and a snapping turtle.

The Center anticipates to be caring for approximately 90 patients and 20 resident education animals. Wildlife rehabilitators will be preparing and delivering meals, cleaning enclosures, and updating patient records. Turkey, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce aren’t on the Wildlife Center menus – instead of a traditional family-style Thanksgiving meal, the Wildlife Center crew will make dozens of species-specific diets, which cater to each species’ needs and each patient’s particular preferences based on observations during their time as patients at the Center.

“The animals that we will be caring for this year include over 30 reptiles, over 20 birds of prey, and almost 20 squirrels” said Wildlife Rehabilitation Supervisor Kelsey Pleasants. “Most of these patients have been admitted after being hit by cars or caught by domestic pets. Many of them require weeks of intensive care and rehabilitation.”

While the rehabilitation staff are busy in the kitchen, Center veterinarians will provide medical care for patients in need – distributing and administering medications, cleaning wounds and changing bandages, completing daily checks, and other medical procedures – and remain ready for any new patients that might arrive.

New patient admissions are always a possibility, any day of the year. By the time the staff go home to their Thanksgiving dinners, all 110 animals will be fed, watered, and cared for.

The Wildlife Center of Virginia is a non-profit hospital that is able to provide quality healthcare to wild animals in need through the generosity and support of caring individuals. “We’re so appreciative of the support of our donors that helps us to feed and care for each bird, mammal, and reptile,” said Pleasants.

To find out more about ways to support the Wildlife Center of Virginia’s work, the public can visit www.wildlifecenter.org.