Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Yellow-bellied marmot


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Yellow-bellied marmot
In June 2009, the wildlife hospital received a yellow-bellied marmot, one of the largest and most unusual rodents ever received in the hospital. It was an immature female that made the journey from near Pinecrest in the engine compartment of a Dodge Ram pickup truck. The truck had been parked at the Crabtree trailhead at the entrance to the Emigrant Wilderness and the marmot must have thought she had found a good place to hide. We occasionally receive rodents such as deer mice and chipmunks from remote areas of California, but the marmot was by far the largest.
The marmot had abrasions on her chin and a partially skinned toe. She also had fleas, which is common in wildlife. She was anesthetized to clean her wounds and administer fluids and vitamins subcutaneously. She was powdered and given an injection for fleas. After recovery she was placed in a stainless steel cage heated by a large heating pad and was given food and water.
She didn’t eat much the first night—just a little kale and parsley—so the second day she was syringe-fed mixed vegetable baby food, which she ate well. She was quite BAR (bright, alert and responsive) and managed to escape her cage several times while in the hospital. She was offered a different variety of food the second night but still didn’t eat much more than a few flowers. On the third day an examination showed her wounds were healing well and it was decided she should be released back in her home territory as soon as possible. A volunteer who has a cabin in the area where the marmot came from returned to the trailhead and released the wayward marmot back to her home. this post courtesy of the Lindsay Museum

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