A Florida soft-shell turtle and a fox squirrel were among the 60 animals admitted to the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida. Other admissions include two brown thrashers, a fish crow, two common loons, a gopher tortoise, and a peninsula cooter.
A motorist exiting the interstate at Immokalee Road stopped to help the Florida soft-shell turtle after it had been struck by a car. He placed the turtle in the grass and called the von Arx Wildlife Hospital to see if we could assist the turtle.
We dispatched “Critter Couriers” for animal transport. Luckily, a volunteer offered to locate the turtle. The turtle was alert but badly bruised; it was unable to use its back legs and had an egg yolk-like substance oozing from its cloaca (the opening for the intestinal, reproductive and urinary tracts). We feared this was a gravid female (carrying eggs), and her eggs were ruptured.
Our Wildlife Hospital team administered pain medications and settled the turtle in a small pond in the hospital’s reptile wing. Sure enough, the next day, the turtle laid an egg. Our vet took a radiograph checking for spinal trauma.
The radiograph showed the turtle hadn’t suffered any fractures, but she was full of eggs, and surprise, surprise — three fish hooks the turtle had ingested! Her condition is stable, but it will take time for her to heal.
A fox squirrel was rescued by a woman who saw it get hit by a car. The squirrel had head trauma and was lethargic when admitted. Our Wildlife Hospital team provided pain medication and nutritional support for several days before the squirrel exhibited normal behavior. The squirrel made a full recovery and was released near where it was found.
The von Arx Wildlife Hospital team wish to thank the owners and staff at Pinch A Penny on Davis Boulevard for donating their services and repairing our broken shorebird pool pump. Several pipes broke and the pool was draining rapidly. Without their immediate assistance and expert service, the pelicans and cormorants recovering at our shorebird pool would have required relocation to another enclosure, which would have causes additional stress on the birds.
We also wish to thank Christi Warren, DVM from Animal Eye Doctors in Estero for volunteering to consult with our staff vet on difficult cases. So many animals admitted to our Wildlife Hospital have suffered head trauma and eye injuries, and Dr. Warren’s knowledge and diagnostic equipment helps us provide the best patient care possible.
Twelve opossums, a chuck-will’s-widow, a common grackle, three Northern mockingbirds, a red-eyed vireo and two royal terns were all released this past week.
Joanna Fitzgerald is director of the von Arx Wildlife Hospital at the Conservancy of Southwest Florida in Naples. Call 239-262-2273 or visit the website: www.conservancy.org