NCWRC: Leave young wildlife alone – The Coastland Times


Cute baby bunnies are a springtime must-have, but bringing young bunnies out of the gardens and into the house will likely do more harm than good. According to a press release from the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission, well-intentioned people often endanger the health of young wildlife when they interfere with a wild animal’s natural growth process.

As people begin to garden and play in their yard this spring, they may accidentally stumble upon young rabbits, fawns and baby birds that were thought to have been abandoned. For most people, the natural response will be to help, but in most cases, one or both parents will stay a short distance foraging for food and only return when the beach is clear.

« Wild parents can’t keep babysitters, so most young animals spend a lot of time on their own before they can take care of themselves, » said WRC extension biologist Falyn Owens. « Sometimes when the mother returns hours later, she hopes to find her cub where she left it. »

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Owens advises those who feel that the animal really needs help, the best thing they can do is to let it be (or put it back) and call an animal. wildlife rehabilitator for suggestion.


Newborn rabbits (kits) spend the first few weeks in sight, hiding in shallow holes tucked in thick clumps of grass, under bushes or in the middle of open grass. Rabbit burrows can be difficult to spot and often look like a small piece of dead grass. Female rabbits actively avoid (or do) their burrows to avoid attracting the attention of hungry predators, visiting for a few minutes only once or twice a day.

“Every spring, we hear from worried people saying that they have found an abandoned rabbit hole while the kits are doing well and quietly waiting for the deer to return,” Owens said. « If they look healthy and unharmed, the best thing you can do is cover the nest and go away. Your mother won’t come back after you leave the area. »


Newborn deer also spend almost all of their time in hiding during the first few weeks of their lives. After suckling, the doe gives a signal and her moose instinctively leave to find a quiet place to lie down and be still. They usually stay curled up for several hours while the doe moves away to feed. The fawn does not rely on a mottled coat and smell, which makes it difficult for predators to find them.

Anyone who finds a deer that looks calm and uninjured is advised to leave it as is and check it out the next day. If it’s still there and bleating loudly, looking weak, injured, or has visible diarrhea, seek emergency care. licensed deer rehabilitator for suggestion.

« If a deer has been moved from its location before, but only if it’s been a while, return it immediately, » Owens said. “A doe usually spends 48 hours trying to find her lost calf before giving up. After 48 hours have passed, or after the deer has been given none food, contact a deer rehabilitator as soon as possible.


Knowing the difference between a baby bird and a baby bird can help you make the right decision if you see a young bird on the ground. Cubs do not yet have feathers and cannot live long outside their burrows. Baby birds have feathers and can walk, jump or fly short distances; They may seem helpless, but having already left the nest, they are cared for by their parents – often from afar.

« If you find a chick on the ground, return it to the nest as soon as possible, » Owens said. « If the whole nest has fallen, you can put it back on the tree or even build a nest. makeshift nest

However, puppies should be left alone in most cases. They are busy with important tasks such as learning to fly and survive on their own. Unless a fledgling is blatantly injured or in any imminent danger, let it go. Like toddlers, young birds need tons of practice to gain muscles and coordination to become graceful adults. Keeping cats indoors and dogs on a leash is the best way to ensure these young birds get through this vulnerable learning phase.

obey the law

Leaving young wildlife alone is not only part of being a responsible nature preserver, it’s also the law, advises the NCWRC.

“It is illegal to take most wild animals from the wild and into your property,” Owens said. « A young wild animal’s chances of surviving in human care are slim at best. Even those that live long enough to be released will not have developed survival skills on their own. »

Owens also stresses the importance of never feeding young wildlife, which can cause irreversible harm and are often fatal to the animal.

“When in doubt, contact a professional before doing it. anything” he advises. « Every spring, wildlife rehabilitation specialists receive large numbers of young people who are malnourished, sickened, or injured by well-meaning people trying to provide care. »

And one final piece of advice: It’s best to leave the animal where you found it, even if someone has taken it or touched it. Wild parents almost never abandon their young, even if they can smell human.



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