How many baby opossums do you see?

Our new favorite resident is “Momma Opo,” the presumed victim of a hit-and-run vehicle accident. A kind person found her in a Home Depot parking lot and contacted us for help. She has skull fractures and pelvic fractures, but we’re doing what we can to save her. She also has a pouch full of babies! Our veterinarian provided this X-Ray. How many babies do YOU see? We are all placing bets, and so far the guesses range from 6 to 13!

Belle Meade Pileated Woodpecker Released in 48 Hours

This beautiful male pileated woodpecker hit a car, really hard, with his head.

His rescuer found him sitting next to the road, dazed and barely moving. He was being cared for temporarily at a domestic animal rescue until he could get to a licensed wildlife rehabber, and we were thrilled when he arrived at Harmony Wildlife.


Once admitted for care, we were relieved to learn that he didn’t have any serious injuries, just a concussion. He started feeling better, and kept everyone else in the rehab aware of his presence by his non-stop pecking.

Forty-eight hours later, our woodpecker was free and back in his Belle Meade home territory. We’re so happy he was able to make a full recovery in such a short time – for his own sake, of course, but also because it was going to be difficult to keep him supplied with wood! 

We won’t soon forget this special patient.

Graduation for this little opossum

This little opossum was being tube fed three times per day by our animal care staff. We’re thrilled to announce that he’s graduated to “lapping” and eats the formula on his own, from the lid of a jar. It’s incredible to watch these animals grow and develop.

Beautiful Great Horned Owlet

A Brentwood homeowner found this beautiful Great Horned Owlet in her yard today and called for help. We could have taken her, but it’s always preferable to reunite baby animals with their parents, if possible. We made a temporary nest and contacted our friend who is Tennessee’s re-nesting specialist; she will find the nest, climb the tree and put the owl back. In cases where the nest has been destroyed, she can affix baskets, crates, or laundry hampers to the tree branches.

We love cats…inside the house

We love cats, but we’re sad when people let them roam outside. It’s dangerous for the pet, and dangerous for every songbird and small mammal that they just can’t help but hunt. Please, please, please consider keeping your cats inside, or providing a catio for fresh air? We are trying to save this little bunny now. He’s feeling pretty miserable after a probable cat attack. We’re doing our best to treat his wounds.

Next up: a baby mourning dove

Our most recent patient is this baby Mourning Dove. It’s not uncommon to find young baby doves on the ground after they tumble from the nest, as doves’ nest-building skills are…lacking. Thankfully, they’re very attentive parents and will continue caring for their babies even if the nest was destroyed. A makeshift nest can be made using a homemade basket hung or placed close to where the previous nest was located. The majority of the time, the parents will return and continue raising their young. This is true of most songbird species and every effort should be made to reunite babies with their biological parents. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible for this precious little one, but he’s doing great in our care and we expect to release him back to the wild when he’s old enough!

Straight from TWRA: it is illegal to keep wild squirrels as pets in Tennessee

Sometimes the internet just steers you wrong.

A search for “are squirrels legal pets” highlights an answer that is misleading or false. According to squirrelenthusiast.com “Squirrels fall under the Class III law in Tennessee, which clearly states that animals such as chipmunks, squirrels, rats, etc., Tennessee residents are allowed to keep squirrels as pets.” But, they are wrong. This is not true for wild squirrels.

Some people don’t want to believe this, so I asked Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Captive Wildlife/ADC Coordinator, Captain Rusty Bowles, for the official answer. (Spoiler alert: it’s not legal to keep wild squirrels as pets.) Here’s what he wrote:

The public gets confused when they think squirrels and chipmunks are legal to own in TN because they are listed as Class III animals.  They only are considered Class III when the squirrel or chipmunk is non-native (or exotic).  Class II Animals are native to TN.  The grey squirrel is native.  To possess the grey squirrel, you must obtain the animal from a permitted propagation source (captive bred, not taken from the wild).  Once the Class II animal is proven to be captive bred, it becomes a Class III animal in the “eyes of the law” so to speak.  Those animals are treated the same as a gerbil, boa constrictor, dog or cat…they are pets.  If a squirrel is taken from the wild, it is a Class II animal.  NOT A CLASS III ANIMAL

If you have more questions, Rusty says you are welcome to call or email him! His info is:

rusty.boles@tn.gov
(615) 934-7505

Baby bunnies, everywhere

One of the best outcomes is when we DON’T need to help the animals. I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls about the family dog digging up baby bunnies (they’re called kits or kittens). If it’s not hurt, and if you can find the nest, put it back. You can place a small piece of string or yarn on top of the nest; if it’s moved you can be pretty sure that mom came back. This little kit was going to be admitted, but the rescuer found the nest and put her back. That’s a win!

Drumroll: Patient 2 is Another EGS

EGS is shorthand for Eastern Gray Squirrel. If you’re thinking, “not very exciting” consider that squirrels are North America’s most prodigious and ecologically essential natural forest regenerators.

And, look at this face!

Patient #1: Sciurus carolinensis

This female gray squirrel’s nest fell through a roof. Efforts to reunite her with mom didn’t work, so she came to Harmony Wildlife for care. She’s about 5 weeks old, and already a feisty little gal.