Eastern mole injured in cat attack

March 12, 2024

An eastern mole was among the forty-nine animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include a black skimmer, a red-shouldered hawk, an anhinga, and two Virginia opossum.

The eastern mole was injured in a cat attack. The mole suffered soft tissue damage and was showing an inability to use her hind limbs. Antibiotics and pain medication were required.

The mole was extremely stressed each time she was handled for treatment, so it was fortunate she began to eat on her own after only needing one round of hand feeding. Moles spend their entire life underground so hospital staff provided a habitat with several inches of fresh soil that allowed the mole to dig and forage for insects similar to what she would do in the wild.

The mole’s strength and coordination noticeably improved every day and within a few days, she was doing so well staff was able to reduce the mole’s treatment to once a day. Once the mole received a full course of antibiotics, she was cleared for release.

Eastern mole digs in hospital made habitat

While the mole survived the cat attack, two young rabbits and a nestling mourning dove admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital last week were not so fortunate. The injuries sustained in the cat attacks were fatal. As we enter breeding season, many species of small mammals and a variety of songbirds are breeding and raising their young. Helpless nestling baby animals make easy targets for prowling cats. 

Please ensure the safety of your cat and protect wildlife by not allowing cats to roam free and help stop the suffering and loss of life caused by cats. Cats that are well fed still have an instinct to hunt, thus causing great damage to native wildlife populations. Cats are domestic animals and pet owners have a responsibility to keep them safe from harm. Cats that roam are easy targets for predators such as coyotes and dogs, car strikes, increased chance of ingesting rodents that have consumed rodenticides, and are susceptible to diseases, many of which are fatal. Please keep cats indoors. For more information on protecting wildlife from cats, visit abcbirds.org/program/cats-indoors.

Recent Releases

A mourning dove, a pileated woodpecker, four eastern cottontail, a painted bunting, royal tern, a marsh rabbit, a pied-billed grebe, two peninsula cooters, an eastern screech owl, an evening bat, a banded water snake, laughing gull and a double-crested cormorant were released this past week.

Opportunities to Help

Please check the Conservancy website to view all of the amazing volunteer opportunities at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Your volunteer time, donations, and memberships are vital in helping us continue our work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.

Joanna Fitzgerald is the Director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, 1495 Smith Preserve Way, Naples, Florida 34102. Call 239-262-2273 or see conservancy.org.