Experts Warn People To Leave Baby Wild Animals Alone

May 7, 2021

A mother deer with her fawn. Veterinarians are warning people to leave baby animals they find in the wild alone, saying even if they appear abandoned, they're likely not.
Credit Flikr Commons

Spring means there are a number of new baby animals in the great outdoors.

But experts warn that it's not a good idea to try to care for any animals you assume have been abandoned.

Dr. Marcie Logsdon from WSU’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital says it's common to find creatures like baby bunnies or deer that have been left intentionally by their mothers:

“The parent or mom tries to hide her babies as best she can, and then leave them alone for huge chunks of the day where they only need care once or twice a day form mom. And the rest of the time mom is trying to stay away so shes doesn't draw attention to the babies, so she doesn't draw predators to where she has the babies.”

Logsdon says trying to care for some creatures at home can often backfire: 

“One is there are some diseases that wildlife can carry, that if you were in close proximity to them and didn't know what kind of precautions to take, if you were trying to handle these animals in your home, that you might unintentionally be exposing your pets or kids to. “

The animals can also lose out on specific survival techniques that their mother will teach them, and not survive if released later into the wild. In addition, there are state and local laws against raising wild animals in a domestic setting.

Logsdon recommends contacting the local Washington Fish and Wildlife office or the WSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Pullman if you come across a baby animal that you think might have been abandoned. She says there is also specific information the Fish and Wildlife website about such cases.