Box Turtle Spa Day
Winter in the sanctuary is generally a time to catch our breath, especially given the summer of COVID-19 and a lack of volunteers to help with the season's babies! This year, the curveballs kept coming, along with the many lists of enclosures to fix, repair, and clean to prepare for spring baby season. In one unexpected turn of events, we transformed our nursery into a "Reptile Room" to take in some overflow injured woodland box turtles that needed an overwintering space. Nine turtles have spent the winter in our spa, where they enjoy thrice-weekly hydrating baths and gourmet meals (raspberries in winter!) while awaiting their upcoming summer release.
When not attending to our turtle guests, other projects included constructing a multi-level snake enclosure for our education ambassador, Teeny Nagini. Teeny is an eastern ratsnake, and he measures in at a whopping 7 feet long! It was time for him to upgrade from the enclosure he had arrived into a more spacious and enriching environment. Teeny's new home is about four times the size of his old home. It features a variety of new, exciting substrates for him to slither across as well as four separate "floors." But there are no elevators here - Teeny gets to use a custom-built wooden climbing gym to explore the many levels of his new space. We’re pretty sure we saw Teeny smile when he moved in!
Our next big project is to repair and expand our three existing fox enclosures. Our fox enclosures have weathered many busy baby seasons with us, but they're showing signs of age. Whether it's warped doors, ripped wire mesh, or over-loved enrichment features, these enclosures could use some TLC. In fact, tending to these fox enclosures is our biggest priority going into the rest of winter here at RWS. That's because red fox kits seem to be arriving sooner and sooner every year. Last season's very first baby was a tiny 100-gram red fox kit that arrived at the end of February! Foxes grow fast and spend little time in the nursery, so they are moved to enclosures relatively quickly. We can have over fifteen fox patients in rehabilitative care at a time, and they each need plenty of space to grow up in and explore with their littermates. Considering that we are one of the only facilities that rehabilitate foxes in Virginia, we are anticipating yet another season filled with fox patients. Thus, we are hoping to build another enclosure before the baby season hits. Our goal is to raise $2500, which will be matched by a generous anonymous donor. This will allow construction to begin before our baby season kicks off. Anything you can do to help will be greatly appreciated by staff and foxes!
New Snake Enclosure
Spring Fox Kit
Overwintering/recovering from mange fox