By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital
A baby raccoon was among the 96 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include two scarlet tanagers, two Acadian flycatchers, a marsh wren, a great horned owl and a Florida softshell turtle.
Staff at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital had gotten calls about this baby raccoon for a couple of days. Once we got a photo, we could instantly tell it was too young to have been without the care of its mother for any amount of time and needed professional care. When the raccoon arrived, it had wounds that were covered in fly eggs and infested with live fly larvae (maggots).
It has taken close monitoring as well as antibiotics, pain medication and daily wound cleansings to get the young raccoon to a point where he is now thriving.
All young wildlife is incredibly delicate; immediate professional care is the best chance a baby wild animal has to grow up healthy and ultimately be returned to the wild.
If you have questions and believe an animal is in distress, don’t delay, call the wildlife hospital at 239–262-CARE.
Staff will analyze each situation to determine the appropriate course of action and do their best to provide information that will keep you safe while ensuring the animal receives the help it needs.
If you offer assistance to an animal you believe is injured, sick, or orphaned, you must always make your safety the top priority; use personal protective equipment such as a small pair of gardening gloves, sunglasses or safety glasses and a towel. If attempting a rescue, always cover the animal’s head and entire body. Once the head is covered the animal can’t see what is going on and the darkness is calming. Place the animal in a securely closed, well-ventilated box and transport to the wildlife hospital for care.
Two black-and-white warblers, three Swainson’s thrushes, four grey squirrels, a Virginia opossum, an American redstart, five eastern cottontails, two palm warblers, an ovenbird, two mourning doves, a double-crested cormorant, a sandwich tern and an American bittern were released this past week.
Opportunities to Help
The von Arx Wildlife Hospital offers many opportunities for volunteer assistance. Please visit the Conservancy website at www.conservancy.org to view all of the amazing volunteer opportunities at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Your volunteer time, memberships and donations are vital in helping us continue our work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.