The von Arx Wildlife Hospital is part of and located at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Open 365 days a year from 8am-8pm. Located at 1495 Smith Preserve Way in Naples, FL. Call 239-262-2273 for wildlife assistance.
A wood stork and a nestling grey squirrel were among the fifty-one animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include a Cooper’s hawk, a black vulture, a turkey vulture, a white ibis, a river otter and a Florida softshell turtle.
Squirrel Found Under a Tree
A nestling grey squirrel was found on the ground behind a local business under some palm trees. Overall, the nestling was in good body condition.
The squirrel was visibly scared and vocalizing when admitted. A physical exam showed the squirrel had dried blood around her nose and she had sustained a laceration on her right inner thigh that was swollen and bloody.
Staff administered pain medications and placed the nestling on oxygen in an animal intensive care unit to rest. Once stabilized, electrolytes were provided. The squirrel continued to bleed from her nose, but she was much calmer. The squirrel was favoring her injured leg and swelling was visible at the wound site. Staff continued to provide supportive care throughout the day and evening.
The following day staff noted the squirrel was sneezing but was no longer actively bleeding from her nose. Staff offered a dilute milk replacement formula specifically formulated for squirrels. It took several feedings before the squirrel began to latch onto the nipple and eagerly nurse.
Each day the squirrel’s pain medications were adjusted as needed as her condition improved. The percentage of milk replacement formula was increased each day so after several days, the squirrel was on full strength formula. A solid diet was introduced allowing the young squirrel to feed on natural food items ad lib in between scheduled formula feedings.
The squirrel continues to gain strength as she recovers in the nursery at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital.
Surprisingly, many species of wildlife are breeding and raising young even though we can experience relatively cold temperatures for the next two months.
Von Arx Wildlife Hospital staff have received reports of young eastern cottontails, marsh rabbits, great horned owls, eastern screech owls, mourning doves, American crows and white-tailed deer fawns.
Find a Fawn?
If you encounter a young animal, such as a white-tailed deer fawn, it is imperative for the well-being of the fawn to call the wildlife hospital before taking action.
Mother white-tailed deer do not stay with their fawns during the day, so it is typically perfectly normal to see a fawn resting while tucked away in shrubs or long grasses. A fawn’s spotted coat helps camouflage it so it blends into the natural surrounding vegetation. Usually the doe is nearby; she will return to care for her fawn at dusk.
Interfering with a healthy fawn that is not a true orphan can have significant negative effects on the health and safety of the fawn.
If you need information on breeding habits of native wildlife, call the wildlife hospital for information. The staff at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital has extensive knowledge about the breeding habitats and behavior of native wildlife and will gladly answer questions to ensure only animals in need of assistance are brought to the hospital for care.
Three eastern cottontails, a snowy egret, a herring gull, an eastern harvest mouse, a royal tern, a sanderling, three laughing gulls, a red-shouldered hawk, four double-crested cormorants, two grey squirrels, a mourning doves and three raccoons were released this past week.
Opportunities to Help
Please visit the Conservancy website to view all of the amazing work done at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida.
Currently we are in need of volunteer Critter Couriers to transport injured, sick and orphaned wildlife to our facility; we especially need volunteers from Marco Island and Bonita Springs. Consider getting involved and supporting our efforts. 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 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.