A vole is a type of field rodent... shorter tail than a mouse and smaller ears. Punkin, the orange tabby, likes to catch voles.
Most often the voles are dead and this doesn't bother me. However, lately Punkin has been putting me in the middle of her war on the voles.
I've talked to her at length about this.
"Punkin. Really. STOP putting me in the middle. Either kill it or leave it alone.
Besides, what is the sport in these little wriggly babies anyway? They can't run from you Punkin. They just lie there wriggling.
Geez Punkin. Seriously. (me shaking my head in disappointment)
Like shooting fish in a barrel, Punkin, like shooting fish in a barrel.
Now, you stop bringing me these helpless voles and I won't hold out on your cat nip... you need a fix? Then STOP with the baby voles Punkin. I mean it. I'm serious."
And still, she comes along singing her little kitty death song, spitting out this little baby vole with eyes not yet open, wobbling and wriggling on the ground in front of her. She watches for a time, grows bored that it isn't playing the run and hide game and she leaves.
I can't kill the vole.
I know it's vermin. I know people set out traps for these things. I know people kill them regularly.
But it's a baby.... it's helpless.
I pick up the little, teensy, tinsy, baby vole and I bring it in. It's the size of a grape. (an eatin' grape, not a wine grape) I put it in a plastic shoebox lined with paper towels. I have a sock filled with rice that I heat in the microwave to provide warmth and I found instructions for orphaned rats and mice on the Internet.
(This drives Furry Husband crazy by the way.)
I actually BOUGHT Enfamil soy milk powder for human infants and I mix it according to the rat/mouse website. I hold the itty bitty vole and I squeeze a drop of soy milk from a syringe, put it to the vole's little tiny mouth.... nom, nom, nom.
I do this every 3-4 hrs. I actually wake up in the middle of the night to feed this minuscule baby vole.
I sneak the vole into work and every 3 hrs I go to the first floor bathroom with my vole hidden in a lunch sack for it's feeding.
Oh - and rodents that small can't pee or poop without the mother rodent licking it's genitals... it's a cleanliness thing evidently so the burrow doesn't fill up with vole waste. So I get a small piece of a napkin, paper towel or t.p. and I flick it across the baby's bottom... sho' nuff', the teeny thing pees and poops on cue.
The first one lived 3 days and I thought for sure she was gonna make it. I named her George.
Nope. She expired on day 3.
The second one lived 2 days before it died. I named that one George II.
I really think it had to do with not having a good, constant heat source because they can't regulate body temps at that size ... my office just isn't conducive to vole body temps and the rice sock doesn't hold heat long enough.
Punkin brought me one even YOUNGER than George and George II. I kept her alive over the weekend.
We discovered if we set our oven on "warm", I could keep it at 100 degrees and that kept the baby voley vole nice and toasty.
Of course we put a big sticky note on our stove top that said, "VOLE!" so we wouldn't pre-heat the oven for something, forgetting about the vole in the oven and cook George III.
Monday rolled around and while I know the saying is "Third time's the charm..." I took George III to the Wildkind wildlife rehab center. I made them show me where George III would be housed... they had a litter of pinky mice they were rehabbing so maybe George III will have some friends to play with!
I am a complete freak.
I keep telling you this!