Spring time is here, which can mean a lot of cute little babies everywhere. You see a cute little baby bunny hiding under a plant, or a little fawn under some brush. You may think that their parents have abandoned them, but in reality that may not be the case! In the wild, mothers can leave their offspring for up to 24 hours before they return. We have the tendency to want to get the baby and move it somewhere safer or try to take it somewhere we think is better for it. At Main Street Animal Hospital, we are here to encourage you to leave it be! 90% of wildlife will not survive once removed from their natural habitat! Here are some reminders and tips from the Ohio Division of Wildlife that can help increase the survival of those whom we think need help.
- Never chase a baby animal to capture it. The stress can be dangerous to a young animal which can lead to damage to internal organs, and even death.
- Never give food or water to injured or orphaned wildlife. Inappropriate food can lead to sickness or death. Fawns in particular have very sensitive stomachs and require a special diet.
- Each animal’s nutritional, housing, and handling requirements are very specific and must be met if they have any chance of survival.
- A baby wild animal’s best chance for survival is with its mother.
- Wild animals are born to live their lives in the wild, not in a house or a cage.
- An animal that has become habituated to humans cannot be returned to the wild.
- Once they grow, wild animals are active and independent, which can make them dangerous and destructive.
- Wild animals have complex nutritional needs not easily met in captivity. Nutritional deficiencies can leave an animal deformed for life.
- Wild animals can carry diseases and parasites, some of which are transmissible to people or pets. Some diseases, like rabies, can cause serious human health problems.
- It is illegal to possess, restrain, or keep any wild animal. The purpose of the law is to protect wild animal populations and to protect people from disease and injury.
If you see open wounds or other injuries, or you know without a doubt that a young wild animal has lost its parent, consult your nearest Wildlife District Office or local wildlife rehabilitator. Do not attempt to capture or feed it until expert guidance is provided to you. Also, limit contact with the animal to reduce stress and the possibility of it becoming habituated. Taming a young animal will make it unreleasable in the wild. It is illegal to keep wildlife without a rehabilitators permit. Rehabilitators go through extensive training on how to raise and treat young and injured wildlife. Leave it to the professionals and you’ll greatly increase the animal’s chance of survival. Dr. Wood is a huge fan of wildlife, along with the staff at Main Street, but we want to be able to enjoy the sights, not bother the beauty that is nature. Please call our office if you have any questions and we can help get you in touch with the correct people.