A uncommon bald raccoon is within the care of a Nova Scotia shelter, the place workers hope she’ll develop her fur coat – together with a bandit-like, black streak throughout her eyes.

Hope Swinimer, the director of Hope for Wildlife, says the furless mammal has been named Rufus after a unadorned, squeaky mole-rat character within the kids’s tv present “Kim Doable.”

It turned out after nearer examination Rufus is in actual fact feminine, however the identify has remained because the pink-hued raccoon is proving to have an entertaining character in line with her cartoon namesake.

A pair in West Arichat found the shivering, three-kilogram feminine of their yard final week and introduced her to a Cape Breton veterinary clinic, the place she obtained fluids earlier than being despatched to the wildlife shelter in Seaforth, N.S.

Swinimer says pores and skin checks have decided Rufus’s lack of fur — a situation she refers to as alopecia — could also be a genetic situation somewhat than the results of parasites or different causes.

The shelter director says that with good meals and residing circumstances, the hope is for Rufus to step by step develop again her fur and be launched again into the wild.

If that proves unimaginable, nevertheless, she says the shelter might present Rufus with an enclosed, outside habitat together with her personal hut.

Within the meantime, the raccoon has gone from being “down and out upon arrival” to displaying her dexterity by rigorously eradicating plastic duct covers and scurrying via the ductwork within the constructing.

“We have been panicking for a couple of brief hours … however she bought hungry and got here out. She’s getting fairly feisty and we’ve seen a giant enchancment since she first arrived,” stated the shelter director.

Swinimer has been offering care to injured or ailing wildlife for over 30 years and says whereas she’s seen earlier instances of alopecia in raccoons, Rufus is essentially the most excessive instance.

She stated prior to now when raccoons have lacked hair, they at the least had their distinctive facial patterns throughout the eyes, however Rufus is even bald in that space.

“It’s simply tufts of fur across the snout, ankles and toes. This can be a extreme case,” stated Swinimer.

The case highlights the essential nature of fur and feathers to wild animals, she defined.

“In the event that they don’t have that good fur coat, they received’t survive. If compromised, they’ll succumb to frostbite.”

A number of of the animals who’ve turn into everlasting residents of the shelter, which at the moment has 250 occupants, have had particular habitat created for them.

That features a 10-metre lengthy house with a view of the ocean for Edward the bald eagle, who after surgical procedure by no means regained the flexibility to fly greater than a brief distance. There may be additionally a visually impaired fox who lives in a small, outside enclosure.

If Rufus strikes in completely, her outside dwelling will embrace timber, mulch and an area to crawl into and preserve heat, stated Swinimer.

“It’ll embrace enjoyable issues she wouldn’t have within the wild, corresponding to hammocks and nesting containers,” she added.

Swinimer stated there are a lot of issues that may be realized from such instances. For instance, if Rufus’s fur does develop again, that might imply there’s something within the atmosphere inflicting the loss that could possibly be investigated.

And for many who marvel why her centre would help an injured or sick animal that’s not an endangered species, the shelter director stated her coverage is to not discriminate.

A lot of the animals who come to the shelter have been injured by people, and the workers present care no matter whether or not they’re uncommon species.

“We accomplish that a lot injury to our pure world it’s good to have the ability to give again and do no matter we will, for regardless of the motive,” Swinimer stated.

SEE ALSO: Raccoon removed from Langford home by West Shore RCMP

This report by The Canadian Press was first printed March 16, 2024.


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