NAPLES — A fox squirrel and two gray foxes were among the 26 animals admitted to the Conservancy of Southwest Florida Wildlife Rehabilitation Clinic this week. Other admissions include a snowy egret, two anhingas, six eastern cottontails and a Florida box turtle.
Calls for Advice
One of the gray foxes was found in a yard in Bonita Springs. The homeowner noticed it lying in the grass unable to stand.
As advised by the Wildlife Clinic team, the homeowner safely covered the fox with a laundry basket, keeping it contained until a Wildlife Clinic volunteer could arrive and transport the animal to the clinic.
Using a towel to cover the fox, and wearing gloves for protection, the volunteer easily contained the fox in a pet carrier. The fox was incoherent and in extremely poor condition.
Because the fox began having seizures during its physical exam, we suspected distemper and the fox was put in quarantine.
Canine distemper is a highly contagious viral disease which can affect dogs as well as foxes, coyotes, raccoons and skunks.
Great care must be taken to ensure animals at the wildlife clinic do not get exposed to infectious diseases from other wildlife.
The fox passed away before any diagnostic tests could be run to determine cause of illness.
A resident at Pelican Bay saw an injured raccoon lying on a walkway with blood coming from its nose and mouth. Most likely it had been hit by a vehicle.
She called the wildlife clinic for assistance. We immediately dispatched a volunteer to assist in the rescue, but the raccoon died before the volunteer arrived on scene.
The members of the public involved in the fox rescue and the attempted raccoon rescue were extremely helpful and deserve kudos for taking the time to help these injured animals.
They followed the advice the Conservancy wildlife team offered, which made each rescue attempt much easier.
Besides being so helpful, both people were interested in becoming volunteers. We are always in need of volunteers at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and appreciate their interest in becoming involved in our work.
Keep Pets Away from Wildlife
An eastern cottontail was orphaned this week after a dog killed the mother rabbit.
Initially the dog found the rabbit nest and brought one of the babies (already dead) to the homeowner.
With good intentions, the homeowner looked for the nest to see if there were other injured babies. Unfortunately they did not lock the dog in the house when they went to investigate.
As they got close to the nest, the mother rabbit bolted and the dog caught and killed the mother. One live baby remained and was brought to the wildlife clinic for care.
If the dog had been locked away while the family searched the yard, the mother rabbit could have escaped unharmed.
Whenever dealing with a wildlife situation, before taking action, please consider all possible outcomes your actions may have.
Always protect yourself by using necessary protective equipment, but also ensure that your actions won’t cause further injury to the animal in question.
Release was the word of the week.
Five eastern cottontails that had been injured from dog attacks and landscaping activities had healed and had grown large enough to fend for themselves.
Two grey squirrels and two fox squirrels were old enough to be released; all had been at the Conservancy clinic for approximately eight weeks.
The Conservancy wildlife team released an anhinga that had been admitted in August with a multitude of injuries after being hit by a car.
She had lost a significant number of feathers which took many weeks to grow in. It was terrific to see her flying well and ready to go.
Other releases include a gray catbird, a red shouldered hawk, two common ground doves, a northern cardinal and a gopher tortoise.
For more information about the Conservancy of Southwest Florida and how you can support our mission through memberships and donations, or by volunteering, please visit our Web site at www.conservancy.org.