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Baby Wildlife: When to Act and When to Keep Your Distance

May 08, 2017 | Hunting & Wildlife Management


It's common to see baby wild animals outside during spring, as a new generation makes its way into the world. Baby wild animals might seem like they need our help, but unless the animal is truly orphaned or injured, there is no need to rescue them. 


Many believe that if a parent animal smells humans on its baby, it will abandon the offspring. That is almost completely untrue. Birds cannot smell humans. Most animals will do anything they can to protect their babies, so they will not abandon them just based on a human smell.


It’s also important to remember that many wild animals leave their babies for short periods of time throughout the day. When fawns are young, the mother deer  leaves them in one spot and chooses not to  visit them too often because of her strong scent that could potentially draw predators. 


So when should you intervene and when should you not? Check out these tips below from Wildlife in Crisis Inc., a CT based wildlife rescue organization and Wild Baby Rescue in NJ to learn when you should take action. 


WIC stresses the importance of wearing gloves before touching any wild animal to protect yourself and the animal


I found a baby bird: If it is a baby bird and you can see the nest it has fallen from, it is ok to place it back in the nest. If you can not locate a nest and feel like the bird’s life is in danger either from nearby pets, traffic or if it appears injured, place the baby bird in a woven basket and be sure to keep the bird warm. Then, immediately call your local wildlife rescue organization to have them assist you.  


I found a baby squirrel: You can take action if the baby is crying (a high pitched, almost continuously squealing sound), is pink and/or its eyes are closed and it is out of the nest. If the baby is visibly injured or has been attacked or if you know that the mother has been removed, relocated or is dead, you should also take action to rescue the squirrel. 


I found a fawn: Fawns on the other hand, should be handled differently. Generally, if there is no dead doe in the area or on nearby roads, the fawn is not an orphan. Often does will not return to their fawns until well after dark. The best thing to do if you see a lone fawn is to keep a safe distance from it and make sure your pets do the same. If the fawn has wandered into someone's garage or other precarious position, gently coax the fawn out or move to a quiet, nearby site while wearing gloves. Do not move the fawn too far.


I found a fox/coyote pup: You can take action if the pup is injured or has been attacked or it is lying stretched out and is cold to the touch. You should also take action if you know that the mother has been removed, relocated or is dead or there are flies around the pup. Another sign is that the animal has developed sores from scratching, hair loss and becomes dehydrated and emaciated (mange).



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