Spring has, once again, sprung! The trees are blossoming, flowers are blooming and baby wildlife is being born all over the area! From songbirds to squirrels to foxes to hawks and deer alike, new life is popping up everywhere!
The problem is, every year we put in new malls, new housing developments, new strip malls and take away more and more of the natural habitat for these babies to be born and grow up in. As a result, every species is learning to live closer and closer to humans, causing human/wildlife interactions more and more often.
Fawn are born with some amazing defenses that make it difficult for predators to locate them. One such defense is being born with NO scent on them! That way a fox, or coyote walking by won’t smell them from a distance, or even if they are right on top of them. The other is an amazing ability to remain perfectly still (frozen) so that they are not seen. With all of those spots, they still blend!
For these defenses to work, mom cannot hang around her young. Mom finds what she feels is a safe place and “parks” the baby. Mom has two or three fawns a year, each weighing between 1 and 3 pounds at birth. She parks them separately in case one fawn gets found by a predator, the other(s) will have a chance at life. The fawn is “pre-programmed” to stay quiet and in the area, waiting for mom for up to 12 hours. During feeding time, she will remove any external parasites, then either leave them where they are, if she deems it safe, or move them to a new location that she feels is more safe.
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Fawns do not begin to follow the herd until they are about 2 months old. So, for the first two months, they remain alone and “parked.”
Humans see a curled-up baby and assume it is an orphan. Most often it is simply waiting for mom to return at mealtime.
So, how do you know if a fawn is parked or in need? Well, four ways:
▪ If the fawn is lying flat out on its side, head and feet away from its body, then it needs help.
▪ If the fawn has tons of those green shiny flies flying around it, it needs help.
▪ If the fawn is wandering around aimlessly, crying for more than an hour, it needs help.
▪ If the fawn is following people or pets, it needs help!
If you find a fawn doing any of the above, you can put the fawn in a paper box, with a towel under it and call us, 919-619-0776.
If you find a fawn that is lying down like Bambi (or a curled up cat), look but do not touch, enjoy the view and walk on. Fawn need a healthy fear of humans to be successful in the wild. Adult deer that are friendly to humans are in trouble.
Kindra D. Mammone is the executive director of CLAWS, Inc. For more information go to www.nc-claws.org