Multiple babies admitted this past week

By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

A Virginia opossum were among the 84 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include a red-shouldered hawk, a great horned owlet and a peninsula cooter.

The young Virginia opossum was admitted after it was found alone in a yard. The opossum was clearly too young to survive without its mother. A full exam showed the orphan was bright, alert and responsive and in good health. It is unknown what caused the baby to be separated from its mother. Currently the baby opossum is being housed in the von Arx Wildlife Hospital Nursery and is receiving multiple formula feedings throughout the day and night.

Several other opossums were admitted this week with obvious causes of injury. Six babies arrived at the hospital attached to their deceased mother after she was killed by a car strike. Another deceased mother was brought to the hospital with her four live babies after she was attacked by a dog.

What You Can Do

Please be aware it is breeding season for many species of wildlife in Southwest Florida. If you have pets, monitor them when they are allowed outdoors. Monitoring pets keeps them safe and allows you to intervene if your pet crosses paths with a wild animal.
Another way to prevent injury to wildlife is to slow down when driving (especially at night). Being alert and aware that animals are on the move in search of nesting sites, mates and food may help you avoid hitting an animal crossing the road.

Recent Releases — XX Animals Go Home

  • 4 eastern screech owls
  • 1 mottled duck
  • 1 laughing gull
  • 2 grey squirrels
  • 4 double-crested cormorants
  • 1 anhinga
  • 1 tricolored heron
  • 1 diamondback terrapin
  • 2 great blue herons
  • 3 raccoons
  • 5 eastern cottontails
  • 1 mourning dove
  • 1 bald eagle (VIDEO)
  • 1 Florida red-bellied.

The great blue heron release was especially rewarding. The heron had been admitted with severe wounds to its neck, wings and legs after being entangled in fishing line and hooks. After almost one month of intensive care the heron made a full recovery.

A great blue heron is released after requiring a month of care while healing from injuries caused by fishing line and hooks.

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