Dateline – May 2, 2020 – Plano, Texas
Those of you who follow this website know that I am always on the lookout for unusual and unique wildlife stories originating from here in the metroplex. Well, few things are as out of the ordinary as this… Take a look at this beautiful little snow-white, red-eyed, albino Raccoon. This is definitely NOT something you see everyday!
This one-of-a-kind Raccoon has been given the name Andrew by Sharon Finney, his new caretaker. Sharon has worked as a state licensed wildlife rehabber for fifteen years, and she says Andrew is the first albino Raccoon to ever come into her care.
Little Andrew’s story began after his mother was trapped and relocated from a residence in Dallas, Texas. At the time, it was not recognized that the female Raccoon would be leaving behind a litter of helpless babies.
Soon afterwards, Andrew and his litter mates were discovered by following the sounds of their cries. The babies were hungry and needed help right away.
This is an important part of Andrew’s story to keep in mind whenever considering having urban wildlife trapped and removed. The possibility of orphaning babies always needs to be weighed carefully whenever the decision is made to capture and relocate a wild animal in the metroplex. This is true all year round, but it is especially so during the spring when we are in the middle of baby season. If you trap a mother, the orphans that are left behind will starve where they lay.
Upon the discovery of the crying babies, Dallas Animal Services was called to come out and assist. They quickly located and collected the orphaned baby Raccoons. The litter included albino Andrew, and his three siblings—each with ordinary Raccoon coloration.
The four babies were delivered to Texas Metro Wildlife Rehabilitators, who then placed the babies with licensed wildlife rehabiltators to provide the special care they would need to survive.
Little Andrew was assigned to wildlife rehabber, Sharon Finney. Under Sharon’s dedicated care Andrew will get a second chance. But because of his unusual condition, the little white Raccoon is going to require special considerations.
Albinism is a recessive genetic condition that results in a lack of melanin pigmentation. White fur and red eyes are its signature presentation. Albinism is a relatively rare condition, occurring in only one out of every 10,000 births in mammals. Unfortunately, animals with albinism sometimes have additional health issues to contend with. Hearing and sight can be compromised by albinism in some animals, for example.
Without his natural coloration, Andrew would face many difficult challenges in the wild. Vulnerability to predators, inadequate protection from sunlight, and the possibility of other health conditions threatened Andrew’s ability to survive. Because of this, the decision was made that Andrew would not be returned to the wild, but would be sent to a wildlife refuge instead.
In the meanwhile, Andrew would require several months of specialized care. Rehabbing baby Raccoons is no small job. The demanding little critters are always hungry, and must be fed a special formula specifically designed for the particular dietary needs of baby Raccoons. Feedings occur every four hours, but there is no need to set a clock… Fussy baby Raccoons serve as a reminder that is not easy to ignore!
Because of the challenging nature of carrying for young Raccoons, Texas Metro Wildlife Rehabilitators prefers to distribute the work load among several of their affiliated rehabbers. Sharon would be taking two baby Raccoons. Andrew will be sharing his enclosure with a similarly aged female named, April.
At the time of this writing, little Andrew and April are about one month old. Their teeth are starting to come in, and they will slowly be transitioning to solid foods over the next several days.
As Andrew and April get older they will get additional training. The pair will be given opportunities to participate in exercises designed to help develop the prowess they will need to survive in the wild. These lessons will be especially important for April, as she will need to master many critical skills before being released.
The two baby Raccoons will remain in Sharon’s care until they are around five months old. At that point, April will be released back into her natural habitat, and Andrew will go to a metroplex Wildlife Refuge/Education Center. There he will be able to live a long, happy, and safe life. This outcome has the added benefit of allowing us to continue following Andrew’s intriguing story as he begins his new life as a very unique education animal.
All of this was made possible by the good works of Texas Metro Wildlife Rehabilitators, a nonprofit organization located here in the metroplex. Their network of dedicated wildlife rehabilitators work together to aid and assist injured and orphaned wildlife. If you would like to learn more about Texas Metro Wildlife Rehabilitators, offer your volunteer services, or donate to the cause please visit their website by clicking the link below…
To get timely updates on their latest wildlife rehab cases and other important news, follow TMWR on Facebook…
If you need help with an injured, orphaned, or nuisance wildlife situation, please contact the DFW Wildlife Coalition for their expert assistance…