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Maplewood Raccoon Rescue

On April 21st, 2012 we received a phone call from a frantic resident of Maplewood, Missouri.  The resident had a large heating unit installed in the ceiling of her garage and baby raccoons could be heard and seen from outside the heating unit, presumably trapped inside.  The poor girl had been listening to the babies cry since the previous evening, but had tried everything possible to get to the babies to help them to no avail.  The babies were stuck behind the main panel of the heating unit, and just were not reachable by the homeowner.  If you have ever encountered baby raccoons you know how incredibly loud and panicked they can sound when they are unhappy about anything at all.  Momma raccoon seemed to no longer be in the picture considering she was nowhere to be found, and couldn’t possibly get to these babies any easier than we could.  They had just fallen too far into the heating unit.  

Thankfully, we have two amazing new volunteers with the Wildlife Hotline who were in the perfect position to help.  Bill Menzel, a handyman and jack of all trades, and his wife Linda Menzel, a veteran rehabilitator with extensive experience in raising baby raccoons (amongst everything else!) were called and asked to look into these babies stuck in the heater.  Bill arrived first and tried everything that he could think of to get the babies to come towards the front of the heater, as well as attempting to contort himself in any possible way to reach them himself.  After much effort, Linda arrived and tried everything she could as well.  After much frustration, the Maplewood Fire Department was contacted to see if there might be a couple of animal loving firefighters who might be willing to assist in this rescue.  Much to our amazement, a team of five firefighters showed up to help these little raccoon babies.  The department shut off the electric and gas access to the house, and proceeded to remove the heating unit’s vent pipe from the wall in order to access the raccoons.

The fireman weren’t too crazy about handling baby raccoons at first, but after reassurance from Bill & Linda that they wouldn’t bite or hurt anyone, the Dept. was willing to pose for a couple of photos with the little critters.  We are eternally thankful to the Maplewood Fire Department for all of their help with this rescue.  It isn’t often that we have to call on other organizations like theirs for assistance, but we were extremely impressed with their compassion, professionalism, and selflessness.

In total four baby raccoons were rescued from the home.  They were approximately 2 1/2 weeks old and extremely dehydrated, cold and wet from rain water.  Linda Menzel took them in and got them warm, rehydrated them, and began the process of getting them rehabilitated.  That evening, one of the little ones had passed away due to the stress and just being dehydrated and cold for far too long.  However, the other three are doing amazingly well and thriving in Linda’s care.  They’re still babies and will be in rehab for quite a while still, but when they are old enough and large enough, they will be released again to the wild to live out their lives, as all of our animal patients do.  

Special thanks to Maplewood Fire Department, the homeowner, and Bill & Linda Menzel who’s hard work and perseverance saved three little lives that day, and continue to save many more!   The Wildlife Hotline’s rehabbers and staff use their own personal funds for gas to get to rescue sites, formula for babies, medical supplies and equipment.  Please consider donating to our organization in order for us to continue the work that we do!

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