The coywolf, groundhog and black squirrel we’ve been following have all done pretty well in the last week.
The coyote captured in SoHo last week (and probably the same one that’s been lurking around Central Park this winter) got released in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, where a pack already lives, the city’s pre-eminent wildlife rehabber Bobby Horvath says. This young female may have been part of that pack, but was pushed out in mating season. Three coyotes were spotted up at Columbia University this winter. One was hit by a car on 130th Street and another may still be out there.
The groundhog that turned up on the street near the Soho Grand is doing fine, awaiting release into Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. No one is sure how the woodchuck turned up there, but the staff caught him and gave him a dog crate. Bill–as I call him, though he may well be female–turns out to be quite healthy. He enjoys apples, chestnuts and acorns, but shuns the greens he is supposed to like. Bill lunges at the cage bars when I hang around too much–proving that he’s quite healthy and most likely not a misbegotten pet.
Bobby researched where groundhogs live in the city–where I’m required to release him. He only found evidence in Pelham Bay Park, Van Cortlandt and Fort Tryon. I called a parks biologist to find the best place to release him. At first he was unsure whether I’d be allowed to release him in the park at all, then confirmed I could. He suggested a nice field in Van Cortlandt.
Mickey, the black squirrel who came to me with bottom teeth grown into her top gums, is getting stronger. She had a top tooth, lost it and now has one back again. She is an odd duck, preferring to throw out the padding I put in her cardboard box; most squirrels can’t stuff enough junk in their makeshift houses. I got her a lovely cedar house that she repeatedly rejected. Until all of a sudden she decided she loved it and didn’t want to leave. Since then she comes out only to eat–though she prefers I just hand-feed her avocado at her house door–and to pee on her roof. I take that as a sign she likes the house.