It's Lila with our wildlife center's 2015 year in a Nutshell. Read stories about the wildlife orphans we helped in the 2015 year.
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2015 In a Nutshell

   This has been an amazing year of firsts for our old wildlife rehabilitation group. We have been operating for 14+ years but this year we experienced some interesting and unexpected rescues that kept us guessing  about what was going to happen next?! 

But first, let me give you an overview of the work we have done this year.
"Wildlife Rehabilitation" : (v) an attempt to mitigate the human impact on our natural environment by rescuing orphaned wildlife animals and raising them with the expressed purpose of being released back into the wild, giving them a second chance at a normal life.
     2015 brought us many wildlife orphans in need. Although we are still crunching the numbers, we are estimating this year to top off at somewhere in the neighborhood of 340 animals, with our busiest season being between February - October. That works out to almost an animal each day! For our tiny, grassroots, all-volunteer-run and donation-funded only organization, that is a lot!! We will tell you a few of the stories of this year's orphans shortly but first, please enjoy this collage of just a few of our patients from this year.

GAME OPPORTUNITY: How many different species do you see? Answer will be at the bottom of the section.

Repeatedly, throughout the year, we have been impressed at the care people have shown for these helpless orphans, and the lengths they will go to help them. Whether it was driving over an hour in the middle of the night to get them into our care, or overcoming deep fears by taking the first step of catching the animals in order to help them, our faith in the human race has been renewed. It is an odd side-effect of this type of work - For every angry, frustrated, wildlife-hating person we talk with over our helpline, there seem to be at least 4 people who stop their lives to appreciate and save these little ones in need. For this, we are encouraged and very grateful.


A First in Cuteness!

This helpless, eyes-closed little chipmunk was found in San Francisco's Tenderloin neighborhood, at an automotive repair shop. A minivan had recently been towed from the Tahoe National Forest, where it had sat with a broken serpentine belt for several weeks. During the time in the mountains, a mama "Least Chipmunk" must have decided that inside this van was the perfect location for her to make a nest and have her babies. Unfortunately, the van was then towed to San Francisco's Tenderloin for repairs. When the van drove off the lot, the janitor swept up 2 tiny eyes-closed babies! He rushed them into the office where 

the manager cradled them in her hand to warm them while she waited for Animal Control officers to pick them up. Once in the care of Yggdrasil, they grew swiftly and when they were old enough, they were driven by volunteers back to a Least Chipmunk colony in the Tahoe National Forest. However, we were also concerned about the mother chipmunk and any other potential babies. We were able to track down the minivan's owner and explain the situation. After a thorough examination, we found that the mother chipmunk had moved her nest into the wilds of the Oakland hills. We hope she is doing well and we look forward to seeing Least Chipmunks in the Oakland hills in the years to come!

The Least Chipmunk is the smallest species of chipmunk, measuring about 6–10 inches in total length with a weight of 0.88–2.33 oz. The body is grey to reddish-brown on the sides, and greyish white on the underparts. The back is marked with five dark brown to black stripes separated by four white or cream-colored stripes, all of which run from the nape of the neck to the base of the tail. Two light and two dark stripes mark the face, running from the tip of the nose to the ears. The bushy tail is orange-brown in color, and measures around 4 inches long. Least chipmunks are found through the western United States from northern New Mexico and western Dakotas to eastern California, Oregon, and Washington as well as throughout much of southern and western Canada from the Yukon to Ontario, and into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota. Least chipmunks are diurnal and eat seeds, berries, nuts, fruits and insects. Because they need to eat less food in order to survive, least chipmunks are more numerous where resources are scarce.They are agile animals, and have been recorded running at speeds of at least 4 mph!.

Migrating Marmot!

     Oddly enough that was not the only bizarre mountain wildlife animal we were going to cross paths with in San Francisco this summer. A week after the chipmunks arrived, we heard about a Yellow-Bellied Marmot roaming backyards in Noe Valley! Apparently these marmots, according to the
National Wildlife Federation, are attracted to radiator fluid. They climb up into engine compartments to gnaw through cooling hoses to drink the super sweet fluid. They will often accidentally end up in strange places, when the vehicle they are raiding, turns on and drives off with them still under the hood.

   Yellow-Bellied Marmots, also known as Rockchucks, are found in mountainous areas in the western United Stated as well as Canada. They are in the Ground Squirrel family and live in colonies of about 25 or so, making their homes in burrows in rocky outcroppings. The are cat-sized and weigh between 4-12 pounds depending on their gender, the time of year, and their age - and they can live up to 15 years! Yellow-Bellied Marmots hibernate from September through May, depending on elevation and weather.

   Our Marmot, a lady, was captured by San Francisco Animal Control and brought to me to be housed in my Squirrel-Proof caging until transportation back to the Sierra Mountains could be arranged for this Marmot. Lady Marmot was very confused, but passed the days eating carrots, corn-on-the-cob, wildflowers, flowering kale, and other goodies. By Day 4, when I went outside to check on her, I found her nowhere to be seen.


My squirrel cages measure 12 feet high by 12 feet long by 8 feet wide. The ground is dirt-covered wire to prevent digging out. Along the back of the cage is a 1 foot deep by 12 foot planter box which provides living plants for the animals to live in for their comfort. I have always through of my cage as secure. No one could dig in – or out. But...I was wrong.

Miss Marmot had somehow dug down the 5 feet of hard-packed dirt in the planter-box, then dug through the 12 inches of round boulders at the base of the planter-box for drainage. She plowed through it like it was nothing and wandered off into the hilly backyards of Potrero Hill. You can imagine my extreme concerns. Over the course of the next week, following a very amusing conversation with sightings and updates about our Marmot Visitor on my local Next-Door community message board, we were able to locate our Marmot. She had chosen to stay close-by and was enjoying our neighbors' backyard gardens and vegetable patches a block away. We were able to trap her again using Corn-On-The-Cob as bait and she was put back into a completely self-contained cage to prevent digging out again.

A few days later, with transportation secured, she was driven up to the Tahoe Wildlife Center and released back into the wild in “Sierra Tahoe” Ski park, in a large colony of Yellow-Bellied Marmots. I can picture her there now, telling tales of her adventures traveling far from home.

Special Thanks are owed to all our neighbors who worked together to find our Marmot – especially to Katie who's entire parsley and marigold garden was munched up by our renegade escapee!

Members of the family of volunteers who drove Miss marmot
back up to Sierra at Tahoe, where she was released into an
established colony of Yellow-Bellied Marmots.
Click here to see the video of our Marmot
Click the image to see our Marmot Vocalizing!

Education Abounds

We are very proud of our educational classes, teaching youth about local wildlife. In addition to our classroom visits and nature walks for kids, we also partner with Wild Oakland, a monthly adult-focused, citizen science education program. If you have not yet been on a Wild Oakland walk, we encourage you to visit their website and pick a date!! Or read about their previous walks on their blog. They are always exciting!  We look forward to continuing this partnership as Wild Oakland transitions to become the California Center for Natural History!


Another first for this year was in making contact with 2 new veterinarians in the City of San Francisco who are willing and interested in treating wildlife. You might think this would not be a hard service to find but actually most vets would rather stick to domestics than wildlife. To find two new interested veterinarians is like striking gold!

The first veterinarian we are newly working with is Dr. Curtis Press from Mission Pet Hospital. The staff at Mission Pet has been wonderful and as yet we have not been charged for the minor medical procedures and all medication is at cost! That helps to keep our expenses down and as an all-volunteer-run and donation-funded organization with VERY limited funding, we are very grateful!

The second veterinary hospital we are newly working with has been helping animals in San Francisco since before the 1906 Earthquake! Dr Morris guided us through a particularly awful outbreak of Coccidia in our orphaned squirrels this year, without hesitation and without any bill for services or for medications!!! We are excited to have such help hopefully for years to come!

San Francisco Pet Hospital is located at 1371 Fulton Street in San Francisco, 
(415) 931-8312 ~ Dr Morris holds a baby Fox Tree Squirrel in the photo to our left.

Mission Pet Hospital is located at 720 Valencia Street at 19th St. in San Francisco. (415) 552-1969 ~ HOURS: Monday - Friday 8am-6:30pm Saturday 9am-5:30pm


Wildlife Quiz

1.   Which local wildlife mammal can see in FULL COLOR VISION just like we do?

A.   Raccoon           B.   Opossum           C.   Squirrel        D.   Deer

2.   Which local wildlife mammal has a natural body temperature too low for the rabies vector to harbor in?

A.   Squirrel          B.   Deer          C.   Skunk          D.   Opossum

3.   Which local wildlife mammal is so near-sighted that they can only see 12 inches in front of their nose?

A.   Deer          B.   Skunk          C.   Raccoon          D.   Opossum

(Answers are listed at the bottom of this page)
We are a small, grassroots, all-volunteer-run and donation-funded organization.
Thank you for your consideration. Our fate is in your hands.
Or mail a donation to:
Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue
2200 25th Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Our grassroots wildlife rehabilitation group wishes to express our extreme thanks to all of our volunteers who have given countless hours of their time nursing these wildlife orphans back to health or driving them all over the state, to all of the finders of wildlife in distress who took the time to stop and help, and to all of the local businesses and individuals who see the value of the work we do and help by providing us the tools we need to do this work.
Thank you.


We are often asked to supply a wishlist of needs. This is difficult because our needs are constantly changing. However, there are some needs that come up on a regular basis so I am listing them  in the "WishList" category.
  1. Regular supply of fresh fruits and produce
  2. Regular supply of Nuts IN the SHELL
  3. Regular Supply of SHELLED nuts.
  4. MORE FOSTERCARE VOLUNTEERS who will commit to doing it more than once! The amount of time it takes for us to train a volunteer, build enclosures in their yards, etc, is too great to just do it once. We need people dedicated to rehabbing orphaned wildlife.


1.  (C) Squirrels see in Full Color Vision just like we do!!! In fact, they do not open their eyes until they are 5 weeks old because it takes their eyes longer to develop. Compare that to Cats and Dogs who open their eyes in the first 2 weeks of age.

2.   (D) Opossums have a normal body temperature of 92-95 degrees and the rabies virus, which can infect any mammal, needs to have a body temperature of 98 degrees in order to survive. The rare times that an opossum has become sick with rabies has been because the opossum was sick with a fever that raised it's body temperature to the necessary 98 degrees and rabies came in as an opportunistic secondary infection! Remember that although opossums drool, it is because they are scared of you and want to look unappealing as their defense mechanism. They are actually very beneficial to our environment, eating mice and rats and slugs and snails.

3.   (B) Skunks are extremely near-sighted and can only see 12 inches in front of their noses! Because of this, they tend to get startled and this makes them spray. A skunk has a limited amount of spray and they need to save it for life-threatening situations, so if you see a skunk about to cross your path be sure to make some noise to let it know that you are there. It won't be eager to spray you - it will actually just turn around and go another way. Same is true for when you let your dog into your yard at night. Turn on the lights and make some noise before letting your dog out to avoid your dog getting sprayed. The skunk - and your dog - will thank you for the warning. 

Also, remember that tomato juice was BUSTED by Mythbusters years ago as being INEFFECTIVE in removing skunk spray. You need to actually neutralize the chemical reaction that is making the smell. To do this, use this recipe:  
1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 
1/4 cup baking soda, 
1 teaspoon dawn detergent

and check out this interesting article about Skunks:
Pet Food Express is a local company, based in Oakland, CA. with a very strong philanthropic values. For the past 12 years they have been donating returned items (food, supplies etc) to our wildlife center. This has been a giant help to us. Thank you Pet Food Express!
Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue wants to acknowledge another tiny grassroots wildlife rehabilitation project called SFROMP. Based solely in San Francisco, they are a small organization with too few volunteers and too few monetary donations, doing great work both with wildlife and also in providing solutions to human/wildlife conflicts on their hotline. YUWR has partnered very closely with SFROMP in the last few years since opening our office on Potrero Hill. We still work mainly in the East Bay but we are proud to partner with SFROMP helping San Francisco Wildlife as well. A special Thank you goes to the SFROMP and it's director, Jamie Ray (415) 350-WILD.
Copyright © 2015 Yggdrasil Urban Wildlife Rescue, All rights reserved.

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