I Found a Fawn! What now?

Babies like this are often kidnapped by well-meaning people who mistake them for orphans, but this baby doesn’t need help.

Mother deer will often leave their babies alone for up to several hours a day, often hidden in underbrush, tall grass, or leaves. The fawn knows to lie down and be very still, to avoid attracting predators.

Capturing a fawn is bad news. Fawns kidnapped from the wild often die even with the best care, and almost always die when raised by people with no training or experience. Kidnapping a fawn from the wild is also illegal in most states.

If a fawn truly does need help, you’ll usually know. A genuinely orphaned fawn will be visibly thin and dehydrated. Its ears will be curled and it may be surrounded by flies, or even covered in fly eggs or maggots. Orphaned fawns will also sometimes follow humans around in confusion and desperation. In these cases, it is a good idea to call a rehabilitator for advice on the next steps to take.

The best thing you can do if you find a healthy fawn is to simply leave it alone. Quietly take a few pictures if you’d like, and then carefully step away. If the fawn is on your own property, you might also want to help protect it by bringing your pets inside until the mother has returned.

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