Please do not attempt to care for injured wildlife on your own

By Joanna Fitzgerald | Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital

Three grey squirrels were among the 91 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week.


The litter of three nestling grey squirrels was found after a tree had been trimmed. The “rescuer” kept the babies for a day, feeding them puppy formula before bringing them to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital. Two of the babies were uninjured by the tree trimming activities; one baby sustained a large gash on her right hind leg (1), had several broken toes on her right foot and bruises and swelling was evident on multiple locations on her body.

Staff immediately administered pain medication to the injured baby due to the severity of her injuries, knowing she had been suffering since the injuries occurred the day before. All three babies received subcutaneous electrolytes to address dehydration issues and were placed on oxygen in a warmed animal intensive care unit. Once stabilized and sedated a full exam was performed on all three babies. The injured nestling required humane euthanasia. Her two siblings are recovering in the nursery at the wildlife hospital.

The incomprehensible part of this story is that the person who found the squirrels lives one block away from the Conservancy. These babies could have received immediate medical attention and not suffered as they did.

Another person who is very familiar with the Conservancy also found a nestling squirrel last week and attempted to care for it himself. He brought the baby squirrel to the wildlife hospital three days later when the baby stopped eating and appeared weak. Staff provided medical care but the damage was done, the nestling squirrel died soon after arriving at the hospital.

Please, if you find an injured, sick, or orphaned animal, make their needs your top priority — do not attempt to care for the animal. Receiving an improper diet, especially during the critical stage when a baby is growing can cause health issues that can be fatal. Bring the animal to the Wildlife Hospital where it will receive immediate professional medical attention.

Recent Releases

Eight eastern cottontails, four mourning doves, a northern cardinal, a marsh rabbit, a great blue heron, a striped mud turtle, a Florida softshell turtle, a blue jay, two chimney swifts and two Florida box turtles were released this past week.

Opportunities to Help

Please visit the Conservancy website at 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.




Weekly blog from Joanna Fitzgerald, director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital.

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Conservancy of SWFL

Conservancy of SWFL

Protecting Southwest Florida's unique natural environment and quality of and forever.

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