The woodchuck was found paralyzed and nursed back to health by a local wildlife rehabber.
A family recently came across an unfamiliar animal after it had been in their back garden for three days. When they finally noticed the small creature, they thought that the helpless animal was dead, only to find that she was alive after they closely approached her and tried to move her with a shovel. The family quickly called Molly Ryan, a local wildlife rehabber, in an attempt to save the injured animal.
The animal was named Coco and is a woodchuck. Before being discovered in the garden, Coco would lay in the 90-degree heat, and birds would even come down and peck at her head. During the three days that she was in the garden before being discovered, she was completely paralyzed and unable to move.
Once Coco was in the care of Ryan, she was being given all of the nurturing possible in an attempt to regain her health. At the time that Coco was rescued, she was merely skin and bones, and Ryan consequentially struggled for weeks to get her health to improve so that she could get back to a healthy weight and strength. The wildlife rehabber would get up twice every night to check on Coco, and eventually, they ended up sleeping together. Ryan said, “She would snuggle up right by me and make sure part of her body was touching me all night”.
Once Coco’s health had greatly improved, Ryan began thinking about releasing the recovered woodchuck back into the wild, as she normally does with all of her rescued animals. However, she then noticed that something was very wrong and took Coco to the vets. She said,
“I noticed she held her eyes at half-mast or sometimes not open at all. She would start walking, and then start walking a bigger and bigger circle, until she was in a straight line again.”
After a veterinary examination, Ryan was told that Coco was blind. Due to her complete lack of sight, Ryan decided that she could not be released back into the wild, as she would be extremely hindered without her sense of sight, and therefore would not survive on her own for long.
That is when Coco became a permanent member of Ryan’s family. Coco now loves snuggling up with her new family who is responsible for her newly recovered health. Not hindered by her lack of eyesight, she has adapted and learned her way around her new home. Ryan said,
“There is nothing that makes getting out of bed harder than having to leave a gently snoring round fluffball of snuggling woodchuck”.
Coco now works with Ryan as an education animal, and helps Ryan to teach others about the dos and don’t of wild animals.
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