Animal Ambassadors

Raccoon

Procyon lotor

“Chuckie,” a raccoon. Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Chuckie” was confiscated by TWRA and brought to Walden’s Puddle after being kept as a pet for several years. He was exceptionally obese, more than twice the weight of a healthy adult raccoon, and completely dependent on humans for food.

Since being at Walden’s Puddle, Chuckie has lost a significant amount of weight; however, he is still too heavy to maneuver efficiently in the wild, and continues to associate humans with food and protection.

 

 

 


Broad-winged hawk

Buteo platypterus

“Natchez,” a broad-winged hawk.
Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Natchez” was found on Natchez Trace Parkway after being hit by a car. She suffered significant damage to her left eye, which led to the loss of the eye. Because hawks use depth perception to hunt, she is unable to survive on her own in the wild.

 Broad-winged hawks are migratory and leave this area after breeding season to spend the winter in South America. For this reason, Natchez uses a heat lamp during winter months to stay warm.

Natchez became a Walden’s Puddle Educational Ambassador on April 6, 2007.

 

 

 

 


Eastern Box Turtle

Terrapene carolina

"Sheldon," an eastern box turtle. Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Sheldon,” an eastern box turtle.
Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Sheldon” was kept as a pet for over 40 years as part of a hoarding situation. When the owner passed away, the numerous turtles were “adopted” by friends and neighbors. Eventually four turtles wound up with a family in Tennessee, whom upon learning the laws regarding wildlife, turned the turtles over to Walden’s Puddle.

Sheldon became a Wildlife Ambassador for Walden’s Puddle and the other three turtles were placed with other educational facilities.

 

 

 

 

 


Red-Tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis

“Maverick,” a ted-tailed hawk.
Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Maverick” was found on the side of the road, most likely struck by a vehicle. His eye was removed due to his injuries, which means he is unable to hunt live prey.

Maverick became a Wildlife Ambassador for Walden’s Puddle on January 13, 2003.

 

 

 


Common Nighthawk

Chordeiles minor

"Jill," a Common Nighthawk. Photo Credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Jill,” a common nighthawk.
Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Jill” came to Walden’s Puddle with wing injuries. She never healed enough to ever be able to fly again making it impossible for to catch food. For this reason, Jill cannot be returned to the wild.

This crepuscular (active during the hours of dawn and dusk) member of the nightjar family eat only insects they catch while flying. Researchers found that an individual nighthawk consumed 500 mosquitoes in one night! Males have bright white throat patches while females have buff colored throat patches. Other members of this family include Whip-Poor-Wills and Chuck-Will’s-Widows.

Jill became a Wildlife Ambassador on January 28, 2009.

 

 


Virginia Opossum

Didelphis virginiana

blossom

“Blossom,” a Virginia opossum.
Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Blossom” came to Walden’s Puddle as an orphan who had been attacked by a dog. In addition to being covered in maggots and fly eggs, she sustained neurological injuries which left her with weakness in her hind legs. Blossom does not have the mobility required to escape predators and potentially threatening situations; for this reason she is unable to survive in the wild and, therefore, non-releasable.

Blossom became a Walden’s Puddle Educational Ambassador on January 24, 2013.

 

 

 


Eastern Screech Owl

Megascops asio

“Demetri,” an eastern screech owl.
Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Demetri” was admitted to Walden’s Puddle after flying into the side of a car. He suffered from head trauma and a detached retina in his right eye. Demetri is fully-flighted but, because of his decreased vision, is unable to hunt his own food, deeming him non-releasable.

Demetri is a Red-phased Eastern Screech Owl. Both red and gray can be found in a clutch of hatchlings. The reason for this color difference is still unknown.

Demetri became an Educational Ambassador for Walden’s Puddle on June 7, 2011.

 

 

 

 


Corn Snake

Pantherophis guttatus

"Nagini," a corn snake. Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Nagini,” a corn snake.
Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Nagini” was admitted to Walden’s Puddle after being surrendered by her owners who purchased her from a breeder. Nagini is an amelanistic Corn Snake; amelanism is similar to albinism, however, amelanistic animals produce some melanin pigment, where albinistic animals produce none. Melanin is the pigment for dark colors such as browns and blacks; this is why Nagini is yellow and white.

Nagini became an Educational Ambassador for Walden’s Puddle on January 24, 2013.

 

 

 


American Kestrel

Falco sparverius

phoenix

“Phoenix,” an American kestrel.
Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Phoenix” was found, while still in her egg, by a well-meaning rescuer who tried to hand-raise the bird after it hatched. She did not receive proper diet or care and was nearly dead when she arrived at Walden’s Puddle. The nestling was nursed back to health with proper care and nutrition and is therefore named after the phoenix, a mythical bird that dies after bursting into flames and is reborn from the ashes.

However, because she had never seen another kestrel and was raised by humans, Phoenix is imprinted and relates humans to food. For this reason she cannot be released back into her natural habitat.

Phoenix became a Walden’s Puddle Educational Ambassador on July, 18, 2005.

 

 

 


Great Horned Owl

Bubo virginianus

"Sowa," a great horned owl. Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Sowa,” a great horned owl.
Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Sowa” (pronounced so-vah) came to Walden’s Puddle after being electrocuted, likely as a result of flying into power lines. He suffered a severe wing injury and damage to his beak. The wing did not heal enough for flight, which means he cannot survive in the wild. Also, the exit wound could not be completely healed, and as a result, Sowa has a hole in his beak. He has regular check-ups to monitor this wound for infection.

Sowa is the Polish word for owl. Polish folklore says that owls do not come out during the day because they are too beautiful, and would be mobbed by other, jealous birds.

Sowa became a Walden’s Puddle Educational Ambassador on September 24, 2010.

 

 

 


Red-shouldered Hawk

Buteo lineatus

"River," a red shouldered hawk. Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“River,” a red-shouldered hawk.
Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“River” was admitted to Walden’s Puddle with a wing injury. There was an infection in the wrist joint that required amputation of part of her right wing. Because her wing tip is missing, she cannot fly and is therefore unable to survive in the wild.

River is so named because that’s where she was found. She became a Walden’s Puddle Educational Ambassador on September 21, 2007.

 

 

 


Barred Owl

Strix varia

"Micah," a barred owl. Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Micah,” a barred owl.
Photo credit: Brenda Walker Photography.

“Micah” came to Walden’s Puddle after flying into the side of a vehicle. The impact resulted in a dislocated wrist, which never healed properly, and slight cataracts in both eyes.

As a result of the injuries, Micah cannot fly and is unable to effectively hunt live prey, meaning survival in the wild is not an option.

Micah became a Walden’s Puddle Educational Ambassador on May 9, 2012.

 

 

 

 


Eastern Fox Squirrels

Sciurus niger

“Pinto Bean,” an eastern fox squirrel.

“Pinto Bean” was admitted to Walden’s Puddle as a juvenile, after being kept as a pet. She was imprinted on humans and never developed critical survival skills needed in the wild. For this reason she can never be released back into her natural habitat. Pinto Bean became a Walden’s Puddle Educational Ambassador on July 1, 2010.

Jellybean was admitted to Walden’s Puddle after being kept as a pet. She was fed an improper diet, resulting in MBD, metabolic bone disease, a condition in which the bones of the animal are weaker than they should be or are deformed. MBD is most often seen when an animal receives an improper diet, leading to malnutrition. Opossums and other babies are especially susceptible to MBD.

Jellybean’s developmental deformities include improper growth of teeth and nails, which need to be trimmed regularly.

She became a Walden’s Puddle Animal Ambassador on April 14, 2010.