So how do we tell them apart?

Summer time brings in litters of orphaned animals. It’s not uncommon to receive two or three litters of squirrels or rabbits or even a few nests of baby birds all in one day. So how do we tell them apart when they all look alike? With mammals we can tell males from the females but with birds there’s no external features to help us. So what do we do? 

With a litter of squirrels or rabbits our secret is nail polish. A little bab on the ear tip with brightly colored nail polish does the trick. The crazier the color, the easier it is to identify who is who. It’s important to weigh baby animals daily or every second day to make sure they’re gaining weight but if they weren’t marked, we wouldn’t know who’s gaining and who might be losing weight. Nail polish only lasts for a couple of weeks so before release their markings are gone.


If you have any nail polish you’re not using, consider donating them to PWRC. We love blue, green, yellow, orange, fushia colors or even sparkle colors. Eventually we start calling the squirrels by which color they are. “Sparkles, Blue, Lemon, etc”.   With birds, we place a colored vet wrap or plastic band around one leg.  On each casefile, their band color or marking is written down so when the caller is wondering how their animal is doing, we can refer to the file to figure who’s who.


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