What to do if you find a…
Orphan Alert: Be very careful not to unintentionally “kidnap” healthy fawns. Healthy baby fawns are frequently left alone while their mothers forage for food. Unfortunately, many times a lone fawn is picked up by people who mistakenly think the fawn has been abandoned. The fawn is then brought to Native Animal Rescue by the well-meaning “rescuers” for rehabilitation. Sadly those fawns have been taken from the mother unnecessarily. The fawn should be immediately returned to the exact location where it was found and then left alone. The mother will return to take her baby back. If you’re nearby, the doe will not return to her baby. After you leave and she senses the potential danger is gone, she will then rejoin her young.
Remember, if you encounter a fawn lying quietly in the woods, do not disturb. Mom is nearby and will return to her baby after you leave.
If you find a fawn wandering aimlessly and crying, that may be an indication the mother may have been hurt and will not return. Call Native Animal Rescue for advice at 831-462-0726.
The only time a fawn should be picked up and brought to NAR is if it is obviously ill, injured, orphaned, or being threatened by a dog. If possible, before you rescue the fawn, call Native Animal Rescue for instructions at 831-462-0726.
How do you know if a fawn needs your help?
While every wildlife rescue is done for the most benevolent of reasons, “kidnapping” a healthy baby can have far-reaching impacts on the health of both mom and baby.
The first things to look for if you think a fawn needs rescue are the Five C’s. If a fawn demonstrates any of these five symptoms, it is an emergency and he needs immediate help:
1. Is he Crying?
2. Is he Coming toward you (approaching people)?
3. Is he Covered with blood or insects?
4. Has he been Caught by a cat or a dog?
5. Is he Cold?
If the answer to any of these questions is yes, this baby needs help immediately. If possible, before you rescue the fawn, call Native Animal Rescue for instructions at 831-462-0726.
In the case of fawns, observing any one of the Five C’s indicates that the baby does need help. A fawn’s primary defense mechanism is to stay completely still and quiet, nestled into whatever spot his mother placed him while she went off to forage. When approached by a perceived predator (humans, pets or wildlife) a fawn’s instinctual response is to lay very low and not move at all. People often mistake this defensive behavior for injury, weakness or illness. Don’t be misled…this fawn is fine and should not be removed. A still, quiet fawn is a healthy fawn.
Though it’s hard to accept, adult deer can almost never be caught and successfully treated. If an adult deer is cornered or captured, it will struggle to break free causing itself great harm in the process.
If you see an adult deer with a broken leg or other injury, leave the animal alone. Even though the injury may take a long time to heal, this is far preferable to the trauma of chase and capture. Wild animals have an amazing ability to heal and adapt to many types of injuries.
- Do not touch an injured deer as their sharp hooves will do major damage to you.
If you accidentally hit and kill a deer, attempt to move it off the road IF it is safe to do so. Often when a doe is killed, the living fawn(s) will stay by their dead mom and/or dead sibling for hours.
- If you can safely catch the fawn bring it immediately to Native Animal Rescue, OR
- Call Wildlife Emergency Services at 831-429-2323.
Native Animal Rescue 1855 17th Ave., Santa Cruz, CA 95062
By Tai Moses A working knowledge of natural history could reduce a lot of the unintentional harm we do to wildlife. Here’s a troubling fact: many of the fawns brought to wildlife rescue centers in spring have accidentally been “kidnapped” by people who mistakenly...