Florida wildlife preserve rushes beloved anteater to UF veterinarians for care

A wildlife preserve in Merritt Island just can’t catch a break. 

FOX 35 News introduced you to Madison the Anteater last week during a report about flooding at Romelia Farms.  This week, Madison got sick. The owners and staff at Romelia Farms noticed she wasn’t eating her nutritional smoothie, leading her to drop rapidly in weight. After that, she became lethargic and wasn’t balancing well.

"She's normally energetic and personable, and we are heartbroken to see her struggling," the owners of Romelia Farms posted on social media. "Thankfully, she has eaten a couple of meals, but her other symptoms haven't improved."

She had to be rushed over to a small animal hospital at the University of Florida. When she got there, the veterinarians started running tests and found she was extremely anemic. 

"She needed a blood transfusion," Jeremy Graves, the Vice President of Romelia Farms told FOX 35. He added that the doctors told him, "She wouldn’t make it through the night without it."


Madison the anteater (Courtesy: Romelia Farms)

The next problem, of course, is the issue of where to find a match for a blood transfusion to an anteater. The hospital staff suggested they could try the procedure with a dog, but said Madison’s body may reject the transfusion, leading to further complications.

That’s where Chase Animal Sanctuary in Webster, Florida came into the picture.

Chase Animal Sanctuary happened to have another tamandua (a type of anteater), Poindexter, who they offered to lend out to help Romelia Farms. He’s now credited for Madison’s life-saving treatment. 

"This is just the epitome of coming together as a community," said Graves. "Coming together for the animals."

The nonprofit isn’t out of the woods just yet, though. Madison still needs care, and Romelia Farms needs to deal with an enormous vet bill, on top of the cost of repairs from recent storms. 

The sanctuary is working on new fundraising efforts to help foot the bill.