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Do you know what to do when you find a young animal alone in the wild?

By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

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A white-tailed deer fawn were among the 63 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include an osprey, a barred owl, a Florida softshell turtle and two gray squirrels.

The white tailed deer fawn was found by a dog and its owner in Immokalee. The dog owner did not think her pet had injured the fawn but proceeded to take the fawn into her home overnight. Late morning the next day, she called the Wildlife Hospital for assistance because she was leaving town within the hour.

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Normally we would consider attempting to reunite the fawn with the mother deer but that wasn’t an option since no one would be home to monitor the situation. Also, not knowing if the dog possibly injured the fawn worried hospital staff. We decided it was best to bring the fawn to the hospital for evaluation.

Although very young, the fawn was in good condition. Staff settled him into a quiet room in the wildlife hospital and allowed him to rest before offering a bottle. We had the fawn that had been injured by the tractor mower but that fawn was much older and more active making it unsafe to house them together in the same enclosure.

The new fawn took to the bottle immediately. Hospital staff had arranged to transfer our older fawn to another wildlife rehabilitator on the East coast of Florida. With the new admission, we called to see if the other facility could take both fawns. Fawns require a quiet, secluded area to stay while growing. With our outdoor recovery area under construction, that just isn’t a possibility for us right now.

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The rehabilitator on the East coast was thrilled to take our two fawns and rehabilitate them with a permanent resident adult white-tailed deer doe she has at her facility. It is the absolute best options for these two babies.

Please, if you find a young animal alone in the wild, call the wildlife hospital before taking action (unless the youngster is in imminent danger). Many young animals are left alone while their parents are away foraging. Hospital staff can assess the situation and determine whether a baby is truly orphaned and in need of assistance.

Recent Releases — 18 Animals Go Home

  • 2 evening bats
  • 1 Florida red-bellied turtle
  • 3 eastern cottontails
  • 2 Brazilian free-tailed bats
  • 1 royal tern
  • 4 brown pelicans
  • 1 great egret
  • 1 laughing gull
  • 1 raccoon
  • 1 great white heron

Opportunities to Help

Volunteers are vital in our efforts to assist native wildlife.

If you are unable to give of your time as a volunteer, become a member or donate.

However you choose to become involved, your support will help the Conservancy continue to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.


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A week inside the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

Weekly blog from Joanna Fitzgerald, director of the von Arx…

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