Not one but two albino animals are cared for at Hope for Wildlife.
A young skunk, about 8 weeks old, is in much better shape than when she arrived at the center on July 16.
“He was actually caught on duct tape,” says Hope For Wildlife medical team member Emma Studley.
This is the type of trap intended for mice and rats. The people who found him used olive oil to loosen his fur from the duct tape. Some had to be cut.
Medical staff don’t know how long the skunk has been there, but she was dehydrated and malnourished when she was brought in.
“He needed fluids and rehydration,” Studley says. “We had to get him used to formula milk because we didn’t know when he was last fed. We started to slowly introduce him to foraging.
The rehab center is also caring for an albino mink.
“Albinism is a genetic disease. These animals don’t produce enough melanin and that results in white hair, white fur, or white feathers,” says Hope for Wildlife founder Hope Swinimer.
It’s a condition the team doesn’t see much of, so dealing with two albino animals is a bit of a rarity.
“We usually see it here maybe once a year, maybe once every two years, and we’ve seen it in many different species,” Swinimer says.
Caregivers say the kit responds well to treatment, just like the mink. Both should make a full recovery.
As for the release of these albino animals, the mink was kept as a pet and imprinted itself on humans, so it will be used as part of Hope for Wildlife’s educational program.
The skunk will be held for a little longer to assess its health. Swinemar says a decision will be made on his future before the fall.