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A Moment of Science

Don’t Touch That Fawn

We’ve all had a moment in our childhood when we came across an abandoned baby animal, and felt the need to care for the little creature. 

However, before you denigrate other species’ parenting, let alone actively interfere with it, you should know that it’s rarely the case that the baby animals you run across have actually been abandoned.

For example, you may often find a fawn alone in the woods. Even though fawns can stand up and walk immediately after birth, it takes them a few days before they’re able to keep up with their mother as she looks for food. So, the mother leaves them in a safe place and comes back every few hours to nurse them.

To avoid predators, the fawns sit perfectly still and have white spots which function as camouflage. Also, the mother consumes the fawns’ urine and droppings so that predators won’t pick up their scent.

In general, if you run across a baby animal that’s fully furred or feathered, and doesn’t appear injured, it’s probably fine. Just leave it alone and keep your pets away from it. However, if you do suspect something’s really wrong, check with a wildlife expert before taking action.

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