When Coco the woodchuck was badly injured, she lay down in the middle of a family’s yard, unable to move anymore. She stayed there in the same spot for three days, and when the family finally noticed her, they assumed she was dead.
The family tried to lift Coco up with a shovel to move her body out of their yard – and that’s when they realized she was still alive.
Poor Coco was incredibly close to death, and so the family decided to call a local wildlife rehabber, Molly Ryan, to see if she could save the struggling woodchuck.
Ryan, who has cared for all kinds of wildlife, including many woodchucks, agreed to take Coco in, and immediately set about trying to save her life.
“The first thing I had to do was get her stabilized on fluids to rehydrate her and get her body temp back to normal,” Ryan told The Dodo. “While Coco was in the 90-degree heat of that yard, birds had started to come down and peck at her head, so once she was stabilized, I started looking at the wound on her head. Every step of the painful cleaning and poking with needles, she was sweet as could be.”
Little Coco was just skin and bones when she was rescued, and Ryan struggled for weeks getting her health to improve so she could finally gain back her weight and strength. Ryan would get up twice a night to make sure Coco was doing OK, and eventually she decided it would be easier to keep her next to her bed so she could keep a closer eye on her.
After a while, Coco decided it would be even better if she just slept in the bed with Ryan instead, and Ryan was happy to comply.
“She would snuggle up right by me and make sure part of her body was touching me all night,” Ryan said.
Normally, Ryan cares for wild animals with the goal of eventually releasing them back into the wild, and that was the plan for Coco – until she realized that something about her wasn’t quite right.
“I noticed she held her eyes at half-mast or sometimes not open at all,” Ryan said. “She would start walking, and then start walking a bigger and bigger circle, until she was in a straight line again. I had a hunch so took her to the vet to verify: Yes, Coco was blind.”
Because Coco is blind, Ryan knew she couldn’t be released back into the wild, and so Coco became a permanent member of Ryan’s family. She now works as an education animal, teaching people all about the dos and don’ts of wild animals.
Walking around and around in circles was Coco’s way of mapping out her surroundings – and she now has no trouble getting around her house.
Coco is an incredibly sweet woodchuck and has acclimated well to her new home. Despite being blind, there isn’t much she can’t do, and she loves hanging out with the various other animals who are constantly coming in and out of her house.
Her favorite activity is definitely snuggling up in bed with her family …
… who are more than happy to let her do so.
“There is nothing that makes getting out of bed harder than having to leave a gently snoring round fluffball of snuggling woodchuck,” Ryan said.
Coco also adores getting treats, especially candy canes and Golden Oreos.
“The trick is she is brand-specific,” Ryan said. “Don’t try to give her a different brand of Oreo or she will spit it right out!”
Coco nearly died after spending three days in that family’s yard, but thanks to her new mom, she’s now healthy, happy and loving everything about her new life, especially the Oreos.