2011 Year in Review: Vincent Farrell

Vincent Farrell, Animal Caretaker Preceptorship student (also known as “Vinny the pool boy”): In my time at the Wildlife Center of Virginia in the summer of 2011, I not only learned a lot and made some wonderful new friends, but I also came home with a lot of memories.  Some good, some sad, and some so funny that they still make me laugh with tears of joy!  One memory is particularly exciting. On a nice Saturday morning during my preceptorship, I came into the Center and went about my day the way I always did – preparing meals, feeding orphaned animals, exercising the raptors, and cleaning out enclosures.  On this particular day, I was also working in the aviary with the older songbirds – running out every hour to hand-feed them. As I was walking to the aviary I was looking over at an animal that was in the nearby waterfowl pens – not particularly paying attention to the path in front of me.  When I went to walk up the steps to the raised aviary, there on the steps was a bright yellow Timber Rattlesnake!  After freaking out for a brief moment, I ran down into the hospital to get Dani, one of the staff rehabilitators.  When we came back, the snake was gone! After getting back to work in the aviary, I saw it again.  Once again, I ran down to get Dani and when we came back it was gone –AGAIN.   After a little bit more time outside – on full alert – I saw it again, and fortunately Dani did too!  The snake was quite active and after pursuing it around several outdoor enclosures for a few minutes, Dani followed it under the aviary and was able to coax it into a large trashcan with a locking lid.  By this point, all the other students and volunteers were outside as well, all cheering her on – it felt like an action movie! We took the rattlesnake out of the immediate area where the Center has its outdoor enclosures and walked it down the Bear Oak trail in the forest and released it, so it could live free and away from the Center. Read about more "memorable moments" from our staff, volunteers, and students -- 2011 Year in Review.