Friday, December 31, 2010

CLAWS New Years Resolutions

As the year winds to a close and the New Year is quickly approaching, the humans tell us that we are supposed to make something called “New Years Resolutions”. They have informed us that this is a tradition among humans and think that somehow we could benefit from this as well.

The humans explained that a resolution is something like a promise to ourselves to work on something about ourselves that we would like to improve upon. And here we thought we were all perfect? How do you improve on perfection? Asked that, didn’t really get an answer, did get a smirk. What could that mean?

Well, not all of our friends have agreed to go along with this odd human tradition actually. The majority of the birds say they have no need to change a single thing about themselves, so it is mostly we mammals.

First there is Rocky the raccoon. Well, as perfect as he is, he says that he will try to keep his cage a little more neat and orderly. Oh, and he plans to try to stop pulling the sheetrock off the walls. For some strange reason that seems to bother the humans even though he finds it very entertaining.

Galileo the white fox, says he will try very hard to work on getting more comfortable with the leash and on being in front of crowds. He still thinks that having humans come to him would be better, since that is how he is comfortable, but the humans say “we only do outreach”, so he is going to work hard to get more comfortable going OUT in front of crowds and enjoying it.

Razzle the red raccoon says he will work on keeping his cage more clean and try to stop splashing water out of his water bucket all over what the humans used to call the dining room. They say it is ruining their floor. He says he’s a raccoon, what do they expect, but he’ll TRY.

Dazzle, the black raccoon, makes the same resolution, but adds that he will also try to exercise a bit more, eat a bit less and lose that weight the vet said he needs to. He still says he’s perfect the way he is, his plan to look like a bear is coming along nicely, but for sake of peace with his doctor, he will try.

Gadget, the smaller of the two gray foxes says she is going to really put forth an effort to stop trying to chew up mom’s computer and all the gadgets that go with it. Especially while she’s working, she says its really not helpful for me to take her mouse while she’s working. Even if cords are like the BEST thing in the world to chew on, since the humans say it is not a good thing to do, she’s going to work really hard to stop doing that.

Gidget, the other grey fox, says she is going to work very hard to like Galileo so that she can move back in the house where she belongs. She says it was just ONE time months and months ago, she thinks the humans should get over it and she didn’t really hurt him anyway. BUT, she will work on proving that she can be the perfect inside fox. Though she does not promise to share mom with others.

Kabuki, the kinkajous has said that he is going to try to come out more, be more social so that he can go back to doing programs. And he’s going to try to make friends with Rocky the raccoon, so that he can, once again do World Procyonid Wrestling shows. He misses Pooka and isn’t thrilled that he has to train another raccoon, but he says, for the sake of the family, he will try.

Huffalump, the new bearded dragon says she’s going to try to work on her weight problem. Eat less exercise more.

Odo, the short eared owl says that he will try harder to work better with humans other than the love of his life, Gina. He does say this will be very difficult for him because, after all, she is the perfect woman for him, but he is going to try, for the sake of the family!

And last, but by no means least, Mortimer has agreed to go into a 12 step program for banana addicts. He says he won’t be giving up bananas all together, but he is going to try to be more patient when he is getting them.

So, those are our New Years Resolutions. We figure this is an ok list, because we have heard that humans RARELY actually stick to theirs, so if we try it and it doesn’t work, it’s really no big deal, right? I mean, mom was gonna lose weight this year and trust us, she hasn’t done that! Heehee…please don’t tell her we told

Happy New Years to all of our fans and family from all of the animals here at CLAWS, Inc. We hope that you all have a wonderful 2011!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa CLAWS,

My name is Rocky and I’m one of many animals who live here at CLAWS, Inc. Since my hands work better than most, I was asked to write a letter to you from all of the animals here at CLAWS.

First, we promise, we have all been very good boys and girls this year (one look at my little face should tell you how sweet I am)! We have educated many, made many laugh and been generally either totally cute or stunningly gorgeous (I am both). So here is the list of things we would like you to consider putting under our tree this year:


  • Snugglesafe Heat Pads - these are great gadgets, you put in the microwave and hold heat for 12 hours

  • Squeaky toys - don’t tell dad, but we love them

  • Chew toys - ones that can withstand the largest of dogs

  • Shiny things - this can include rocks from aquariums, old keys, anything shiny that we raccoons can put in water.

  • Dog Beds - all sizes

  • Tug-o-war toys - foxes love this game!

  • Wooden Chew Toys

  • Coop Cup beds for like guinea pig sized animals


  • Bird Baths - the kind that sit on the ground AND the kind on pedestals, we need both

  • Bird Houses - big enough to hold a 5 inch tall owl, and some larger, like for barn owls

  • Table Perches - for all sized birds

  • Sturdy Leather - always needed for those things the feds say have to be on our legs

  • Suet

  • Suet holders


  • Bat houses

  • LOTS of meal worms!!!!!

  • Clorox wipes - apparently we are a messy lot

  • Paper Towels

  • Magic Erasers - mom says they truly are magical!

  • Medical supplies - contact mom at for a list of these

  • Powdered Goats Milk - you can buy this at Harris Teeter, it’s for baby mammals

    Rocky Balcoona

Friday, December 3, 2010

The truth about rabies

This will be one of our only blogs with no photo attached to it. The reason for this is that, in our experience, humans do not tend to fully read and we do not want anybody to look at a picture and assume that the animal has rabies. We do ask that you PLEASE read this entire blog and help educate yourself.
While rabies, if contracted, is a completely FATAL disease, it is also a completely preventable disease if you educate yourself and take appropriate actions.
We felt it was time to write this blog because CLAWS educates with 3 types of rabies vector species, raccoons, foxes and skunks. A vector species is a species that has a variant (type) of rabies named after it; the variants are raccoon, skunk, fox, bat and dog. Yes dog. And prior to the US adopting an aggressive vaccination program, dogs were the largest reservoir of rabies in the US. They still are in many other countries that do not require vaccinations.
All variants of rabies can be contracted and passed by all mammal species, and all are given the same vaccine for prevention. So, do not be confused by the fact that there is a name for a particular variant.
Rabies is a viral infection transmitted from saliva to blood (bite). This means you cannot contract the disease by petting an animal or having it walk through your back yard. It is actually a saliva to blood transfer, which can only be caused by either a bite or by a rabid animal drooling into a gaping, open wound.
It is also a very fragile disease that lives only approximately 3 seconds outside of the body. So, finding a dead animal, whether it died of rabies or not, is not typically a concern. Since, unless the animal died within 3 seconds of being found, the virus is dead.
Any mammal can contract rabies, and EVERY animal that contracts it does die within 3 months of exposure. The reason this takes so long is that it can take weeks and weeks for an animal (or human) to become sick from exposure. The disease can only be transmitted during the “shedding” (sick) period, which lasts about 7 days. Once that time has passed, the host animal dies. Meaning, even if the animal contracted the disease 3 months prior, it only was capable of passing it to another for the last 7 days of their life.
We hear all the time “oh, it had rabies because it was out during the day” or “it had rabies because it was acting funny”. There are NO true symptoms of rabies. We hear “mad rabies” and many other things that people think are actual variants of the disease. These are just SOME symptoms that can be present; however, there can also be NO symptoms present at all. For instance, being out during the day is not at all uncommon for raccoons except during the summer. They are opportunistic animals/scavengers, who will be out when food is most readily available. The same is said of skunks. Skunks are crepuscular, meaning up at dawn and dusk, both times of day when it’s light outside! These “old wives tales” do not help the animals, nor the humans!
Here is a quote directly from CDC’s website:

“In 1950, for example, 4,979 cases of rabies were reported among dogs, and 18 cases were reported among humans. Between 1980 and 1997, 95-247 cases were reported each year among dogs, and on average only two human cases were reported each year”
This DRASTIC improvement is due to the aggressive vaccination program previously mentioned.

Note that 12 of those cases in humans were contracted while on vacation in countries that do not vaccinate the way the US does.

We get asked SO often, when we are out, especially with our raccoons “does he have rabies”. NO is the answer. All but one of our rabies vector species were born in captivity in USDA licensed facilities, which are required to vaccinate their animals, as we are.
Even though we are very certain that our animals are rabies free, we still do not allow contact with the public and our animals. Not only to protect humans (from scratches, not rabies), but to protect our animals from the mass panic that seems to be prevalent in this area.
Right now, in the US, yes, wildlife are the largest reservoir of rabies, however, feral cats run a VERY close second.
As we teach in all of our programs, if you do not know the animal, DO NOT touch it, whether it be wild or domestic.
If you are bitten by an animal that you do not know, please contact a health care professional immediately. As we said, rabies is preventable. If you get a post exposure vaccine in time, you will NOT contract the disease, even if the animal was rabid.
If your pet is bitten by an animal you do not know, please contact your veterinarian. Even if your animal is up to date on their vaccines, it may be advisable to get a booster shot just to be safe.
Much more information can be found on CDC’s website at

NOTE: All CLAWS permanent volunteers are vaccinated against rabies and get our titers checked every two years. This is NOT because of the wildlife we deal with, but because of some of the exotic species we rescue.