By Sue Tiffin
Recently on a Saturday morning, I opened a door to a storage room in the basement and lo and behold, was welcomed by a milk snake stuck to the wall. You read that right.
Somehow – and it’s something I’m trying very hard not to think about – the snake found its way into our house, crawled along pipes on the ceiling that surely have some sort of purpose and became, somehow – again, avoiding much thought of it – quite drastically stuck in several different places to tuck tape at the top of the wall.
Needless to say, especially for those of you who shuddered just at the word snake, it was a situation filled with mild panic as we tried to carefully cut the aggressively-sticky tape around the snake. The snake, also panicking, then tightly coiled itself around one of those pipes in a last ditch effort to not be put into a box intended for its safety.
But what brought some calm is knowing exactly who to turn to for help. Once freed, it was clear the tape was not going to come off the snake on its own, and that if we tried to remove it we might cause more damage. A quick call to Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary made us exhale. “Bring it in,” the volunteer on the other end of the phone said. “That’s what we’re here for.”
Into the depths of the Blairhampton Triangle, on Duck Lake Road, Monika Melichar’s Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary might not necessarily be top of mind of everyone for its seclusion.
You’ve read about the incredible work they’ve done in this paper, seen success stories online, and you know how much they value taking care of wildlife that has so often been injured as a result of human activity – cars on the road, boats in the water, tuck tape on the wall and also habitat destruction and increasing effects of climate change – but you don’t necessarily know how busy they are and yet how quickly they spring into action to help until you feel helpless yourself.
Just this year alone, the sanctuary team has helped 350 animals and have more than 130 in their care as you read this: squirrels, opossums, skunks, fawns, barred owls, songbirds, ducklings, minks and lots of injured turtles.
As for Friar Tuck, as he became known, a video on the Woodlands Wildlife Sanctuary Facebook page shows you the attentive, knowledgeable care he required before being released to freedom where he hopefully won’t encounter any other sticky situations. How lucky is he, and how lucky are we all to have kind-hearted help locally from people with expertise who care about all creatures great and small.
To learn more about the work WWS does, or to donate so that essential work can continue in our community, visit https://woodlandswildlifesanctuary.ca/donate/.