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Soon-to-be-mom rescues newborn otter from Sacramento roadway

Newborn otter rescued from Sacramento roadway
Newborn otter rescued from Sacramento roadway 02:42

SACRAMENTO — A soon-to-be mom's instincts kicked in when she saw a baby animal in the middle of a busy Sacramento road. She heard its cries and knew she had to do something.

With no help from animal control, which only takes cats and dogs, she turned to Nextdoor and the community helped connect her with a wildlife rescue organization.

"Everyone behind me was just swerving around it. No one stopped for it," said Samantha Pruitt, the otter's rescuer.

It's a good thing Pruitt was driving down the road when she was.

"I just saw something very, very small in the middle of the road," she said. "I walked up to it and there was a little bit of blood on the floor. I was like, 'OK,' but it started crying and moving."

The baby otter was found on San Juan Road near Witter Way, near San Juan Reservoir Park. It's thought the otter was left behind when its mother was transporting it to the canal across the roadway.

"Otters are pretty rare. We get, per year, we might get 1-3 if that," said Sandra Foreman, animal care manager at the Wildlife Care Association.

Pruitt took the baby otter to the Wildlife Care Association, a nonprofit animal rescue that takes in and cares for 7,000 animals per year.

"She had a very small superficial wound on the tip of her tail, which we cleaned right away. We put her on antibiotics," Foreman said.

The otter is in good shape and will be transferred to a facility better suited for her care once she opens her eyes. Once she's old enough, she will be released in the same area she was found in.

"I thought it was a kitten. 'Oh, yay! Another kitten before the baby is here!' But no. It was a baby otter. It's illegal to have that," Pruitt laughed. "Plus, I have no experience with otters. I'm not going to care for it. That's not responsible. I'm just so happy I stopped. I wouldn't have been able to sleep at night."

The Wildlife Care Association relies on donations to rescue, rehabilitate and release wild animals. They've helped more than 300,000 animals since they opened in 1975. Their Big Day of Giving is coming up on May 2, and they could really use the help to keep the program running.

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