WHAT TO DO IF YOU FIND A FAWN
When fawns are born they are usually too small and weak to tag along with their mothers in search for food, so they are often left in the undergrowth while they get their strength up. This hiding method using the spots on their backs coupled with the fact that they are scentless means that the fawn has the best chance for survival against predators. When their mothers return, they get to stretch their legs.
They best thing to do if you come across a fawn is just to leave it be. Yes, it is very cute but if you move it, you’ll be taking it away from its source of colostrum which is incredibly important milk containing antibodies to fight against disease. Fawns are unable to digest any milk other than its mothers. Don’t even get close - your scent may rub off and you might attract curious predators (coyotes will often follow humans’ paths because they’ve learnt that humans lead to food).
Furthermore, the doe is normally nearby to defend her fawn should a predator appear. A doe can get very protective over her young and won’t hesitate to give you many sharp, painful kicks and bites to make you leave her fawn alone. Nine times out of ten, the doe will return but she can’t do that if you’re two feet away or have moved the fawn and put it in a box, can she? Fawns can also have ticks, so unless you want a nice case of Lyme disease, don’t move the little deer.
However, if you get a bad feeling about the situation, ring a wildlife rehabilitation centre for advice and tell them everything you’ve seen and heard and how long you’ve been observing. If a fawn has been crying/wandering for more than 4 hours something is wrong. Remember, raising a wild animal in captivity is illegal unless you have a permit so leave it to the professionals.
If you find a fawn:
- Look to see if there’s a doe that’s been hit by a car on a nearby road
- Look to see if there is any blood near the fawn.
- Observe whether the fawn looks okay and if its crying.
- Keep all pets away from the fawn and make sure everyone keeps their distance so that the mother can return.
- If you think something is wrong, call the nearest wildlife rehabilitation centre and tell them what you’ve observed. Follow their instructions (which may be something like to check on the fawn the next day and report back).
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