Litter: It’s not just an eyesore
Neighbors notice raccoon with paw stuck in bottle
By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital
A raccoon was among the forty-two animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include an American kestrel, a snowy egret, an evening bat, and two peninsula cooters.
Concerned neighbors take action
The mother raccoon was first seen over 10 days prior to her actual admission to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital. Concerned residents on Isles of Capri called the hospital for advice because they noticed a previously uninjured mother raccoon had gotten her front right paw stuck in the neck of a glass bottle. The bottle had partially broken below the neck but the part constricting her leg was intact.
Hospital staff recommended a live trap be set. After diligently monitoring the trap for 10 days, the mother raccoon was finally caught and transported to the hospital.
The constriction damage caused by the bottle was devastating. Part of the leg extending from below the elbow to her toes was severely infected and necrotic. The repeated wear of the bottle on the soft tissue of the leg had severed the skin, muscle and tendons leaving a large section of bone exposed.
The only course of treatment was humane euthanasia. The mother raccoon’s babies were at an age that they had been weaned and therefore should be able to fend for themselves. The residents on Isles of Capri will keep us informed if they feel there is need for concern for the babies’ well-being.
What you can do to help
This type of situation is preventable. It is common knowledge that raccoons are inquisitive and will raid trashcans while searching for food. They can smell the leftover food in jars, cans, and bottles and will often reach their paws in to access the remaining food. Once the can or bottle is on the animal’s leg, it is nearly impossible for them to free themselves.
Please keep garbage and recyclables in bins that are securely closed and don’t put them out to the curb until garbage day.
Be proactive. Pick up any trash you see lying around — even if you weren’t the one littering. This simple act can save an animal’s life.
Recent Releases — 8 Animals Go Home
- 1 evening bat
- 2 eastern cottontails
- 1 Florida box turtle
- 1 grey squirrel
- 3 raccoons
Opportunities to Help
Please visit our website at www.conservancy.org and learn about the many opportunities there are to get involved.
Volunteers are vital in our efforts to assist native wildlife.
However you choose to become involved, your support will help the Conservancy continue to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.