Two for Tea

Young mammals may appear lost and alone while they explore or wait for parents to return from foraging for food nearby. This is especially true for deer and rabbits who intentionally do not remain with their baby(ies) during the day. Every year the Wildlife Center receives hundreds of babies that were kidnapped from their parents by well-meaning rescuers. You need to know the behavior of the animal in question and some things to look for to make an informed decision about whether or not the baby(ies) need to be rescued. Each time the mom deer or rabbit returns from foraging, she leaves another scent trail that could potentially lead a predator to the nest. While she is in the nest, her scent is a big neon sign pointing not only to her, but to her baby(ies). So, as the baby gets older and can go longer between nursing, she spends more and more time nearby, but not with her offspring. Deer further confuse predators my moving their fawn(s) from one location to another. In fact, prey animals often build their burrows and park their babies near human buildings because they know predators like coyote are less likely to approach. They are much less afraid of us and our domestic animals than they are of coyotes, feral dogs, raccoon and raptors. Every golf course has a story of mother deer parking the fawns against the clubhouse during the day. So what to do when a rabbit’s den is found or a fawn is seen? Usually the babies are just fine where they are, but you should conduct a quick inspection. It is an old wives’ tale that the parent will reject babies that have been touched. [...]