Five nestling raccoons left behind after mother was relocated

March 25, 2024

Five nestling raccoons were among the ninety-three animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include a sanderling, a killdeer, a bald eagle, three limpkins, a great blue heron, a white-tailed deer, and a Florida softshell turtle.

A homeowner called a wildlife trapper to remove five nestling raccoons from her attic. She told the trapper she thought the mother had been injured and was no longer returning to care for her babies.

When the trapper brought the babies to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital, it was clear the babies were recently fed and the mother was still caring for her babies. Hospital staff requested the homeowner be contacted to see if we could reunite the five babies with their mother and use a humane option to encourage the mother to relocate her babies to a different nest site.

The trapper told us if we reunited the raccoon family, he wouldn’t get paid. He showed no concern for the welfare of the animals involved. During our conversation, the trapper mentioned he tells clients he has a partnership with the von Arx Wildlife Hospital, so his clients don’t feel bad about trapping wild animals and separating them from their babies.

Five nestling raccoons are admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital after their mother was trapped and relocated. The babies were left behind in an attic.

To be clear – the von Arx Wildlife Hospital does not have an agreement with any wildlife trappers.

Trapping is not a solution we promote since there are humane options that encourage wild animals to move out of areas humans find inconvenient. Case in point, the day after the encounter with the trapper, hospital staff had another “nuisance” wildlife situation. A worker from Driftwood Garden Center called to ask for advice on how to handle a situation with a raccoon getting into their fruit trees.

Due to construction, the fruit trees were exposed and the raccoon was taking advantage of the food source. Hospital staff recommended a couple options that could encourage the raccoon to move on and we were grateful the staff at Driftwood actually showed concern for the welfare of the raccoon. A follow up phone call with Driftwood staff confirmed our suggestions worked. There was no sign of the raccoon returning to the fruit trees. 

Please, if you have a ‘nuisance’ wildlife situation, call the staff at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital for information. Trapping an animal should be the very last option considered since it is ineffective and often results in the death of the relocated animal. Our goal is to provide easy, practical solutions to “nuisance” situations and promote coexisting with wildlife. 

Recent Releases

A chuck-will’s-widow, a Florida softshell turtle, five eastern cottontails, a belted kingfisher, a gray catbird, a Florida box turtle, a sandwich tern, eleven diamondback terrapins, two mourning doves, and two grey squirrels were released this past week.

Opportunities to Help

Please visit our website to learn about opportunities to get involved. As many species of wildlife are breeding and raising their young, the hospital gets very busy. We desperately need additional volunteer help. If you are unable to give of your time as a volunteer, become a member or donate. Your support will help the Conservancy continue 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