A raccoon was among the 40 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida this past week. Other admissions include a great blue heron, a blue jay, a peregrine falcon, a mourning dove, an eastern harvest mouse, and a Florida softshell turtle.
A staff member from Shy Wolf Sanctuary brought the nestling raccoon to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital shortly after we opened at 8 am. Staff had found the injured raccoon on top of their coyote enclosure and could see the raccoon’s hind right foot was bleeding. There was a storm the previous night; winds and rain may have caused the raccoon to fall from her nest. Shy Wolf staff quickly retrieved the raccoon from the enclosure roof and brought her to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital for care.
The young raccoon was dull but aware, her right hind foot and toes were swollen, and one toenail was missing leaving the toe ‘bone’ exposed and bloody. Hospital staff provided pain medication and settled the kit in a warmed animal intensive care unit to rest. Once the pain meds took effect, staff cleaned the wounds, took a radiograph, performed laser therapy, applied a bandage to the foot and administered antibiotics and fluids.
The young raccoon requires multiple formula feedings throughout the day and night due to her young age. The raccoon was slow to take to bottle feedings. On her third full day at the von Arx Wildlife Hospital, the raccoon finally consumed the full amount of formula she required per feeding. The raccoon is using her foot surprisingly well considering the extent of the injury and she continues to recover in the nursery at the wildlife hospital.
Every aspect of this rescue occurred as we would hope. Raccoons, and several other species of native wildlife, are considered high-risk rabies vector species meaning these species have the potential to carry the rabies virus. The staff member at Shy Wolf used gloves when handling the raccoon so there was no concern for her safety; she had no direct contact with the raccoon with her bare hands, therefore, no risk of exposure.
Please, if you find an animal in distress, call the wildlife hospital before taking action – hospital staff can provide information that will ensure your safety and the safety of the animal. If immediate action is required, take precautions before handling the animal – utilize protective equipment such as gloves, towels, safety glasses, etc. needed to keep yourself safe.
Two laughing gulls, three eastern cottontails, an eastern screech owl, a Florida softshell turtle, a red-shouldered hawk, a sandwich tern, a Virginia opossum, five raccoons and a blue jay were released this past week.
Opportunities to Help
Please visit the Conservancy website at www.conservancy.org to view all the ways you can support our organization. Become a volunteer at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Consider the von Arx Wildlife Hospital for an end-of-year donation. As the New Year approaches, make plans to take action, get involved and have a positive impact on the environment. Even the smallest action makes a difference. Your volunteer time, donations, and memberships are vital in helping us continue our work to protect Southwest Florida’s water, land, wildlife and future.