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Winter can leave Coloradans feeling dull and somber. The sound of songbirds fades away, the green turns to gray, and wildlife viewing is sparse. As soon as spring approaches, baby animals start to appear in tree nests and burrows, the sound of birds finds its way back through our windows, greenery emerges, and chattering squirrels frolic. For Greenwood, this is one of the busiest times of the year.

A litter of baby squirrels, tiny and eyes closed, wander through the leaves of their mother’s nest. We call them pups. Baby raccoon siblings look like fuzzy headed rascals as they snuggle in the hollowed tree of their mother’s den. We call them cubs.

Wildlife at the Center; from the Greenwood Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in CO. Aug 29, 2018 ; © Ken Forman

Pups begin to open their eyes after about 3 weeks and start to wander outside of the nest with their mother. Raccoon babies stay with their mother about 16 weeks until they are able to roam outside mama’s den. Animal mamas rear their young in many ways that seem unfamiliar to us humans. Take it from us, the best thing we can do for young wildlife is leave them in the care of their mother. Nothing compares to mom!

Wildlife lovers across Colorado are so excited when new babies start to emerge, some can be overzealous when trying to help them. The site of a lonely baby animal without their mom can seem concerning, but it is our job as wildlife lovers to ensure that we explore every opportunity of reuniting pups with their mother before interfering. If you think you’ve found an orphaned animal, check out our orphaned animal checklist. Remember: babies want to be with their mothers! Going a few hours without mom is just part of being born in the wild.

Born in the Wild