The Folsom Zoo is home to a variety of small mammals such as ferrets, rabbits, raccoons, opossum, prairie dog, and grey squirrels.
Kevin - Flemish Giant Rabbit
Weight: 7 lbs.
Rabbit Kevin and a companion had apparently been “turned loose” in an area of office buildings. A Zoo Docent discovered Kevin and was providing food and later rescued him. (His companion had been purposely killed.) He needed immediate care: a lower tooth had overgrown through his nostril and the upper tooth had curved up like the letter J. His teeth must be filed every three months. Given his size it is not likely that Kevin is truly a Flemish Giant, although some of his relatives may have been
Unfortunately, along with some confiscations due to abuse, there are also over 50,000 rabbits voluntarily given up to shelters each year. Far too often people buy rabbits as pets when they are cute little bundles of fur, only to abandon them as they grow.
Crash - Raccoon
Weight: 20.9 lbs.
In 2005, when he was just a year old, a car hit Crash, breaking his shoulder and wrist. Non-releasable, he came to the zoo sanctuary in 2007. Although raccoons are nocturnal, Crash has traded the night shift to adjust to zookeeper work hours.
Stinky Pete - Skunk
August - Ferret
It is likely that European ferrets made their way to North America along with early colonists who prized their rodent hunting abilities. Ferrets are legal in most states (but not in California) and most pet ferrets are raised on “breeding farms” for the pet shop trade. The ferrets at the Zoo are relinquished or confiscated illegal pets. Because they are social animals, they will often be seen snuggling together.
Cinnamon - Ferret
A local resident found Cinnamon in a trash can and contacted Folsom Animal Control. Cinnamon was in foster care until she moved to the zoo in 2009. Female ferrets are called “jills” or if spayed, “sprites.” Male ferrets are called “hobs“. Babies are called “kits.
Helen - Grey Squirrel
Western gray squirrel Helen spent four years with a rehabber from Sacramento Wildlife Care and moved to the Zoo Sanctuary in 2009. Helen has cataracts in both eyes. Although she can see well enough to get along safely in her exhibit at the Zoo, she couldn’t survive living wild. If you look closely at the little nest boxes in the squirrel exhibits, you’ll notice that they are full of stuff – paper, wool, etc. that was provided by zookeepers so the squirrels can construct perfect nests of their own design.
Nessee - Grey Squirrel
In 2006, baby eastern gray squirrel Nessee and her siblings were illegally brought to California from Tennessee. Because she’s a non-native animal, the California Department of Fish & Game wouldn’t allow her to be released here. Guess how Nessee got her name?
Holly - Prairie Dog
The next time you spot a slender athletic squirrel running up a tree, consider Holly, Folsom City Zoo Sanctuary’s black-tailed prairie dog. While she’s a member of the same genus, clearly Nature’s intention was for round, short-legged, pudgy prairie dogs to live in burrows in the high desert. Huge colonies are made up of small family groups: one male, several females, and some good-looking offspring. At the Folsom Zoo, Holly is cherished by a growing clan of human fans. She’s a day sleeper and living inside for now. She makes use of a big four-level enclosed space with hammocks, round prairie dog-sized beds with nests of multi-colored soft fleeces, a daily bowl of crunchy rodent chow and chopped veggies, and lots of newspaper that she seems to enjoy tearing into strips. Sadly, wild populations of prairie dogs of all five species are dwindling due to eradication and habitat loss with prairie dog populations like Holly’s declining by 98% in the last 150 years.