Thursday, March 31, 2016

It's that time of year!

Things are warming up, we're getting rain instead of snow, buds are forming on trees and grass is getting greener.  In addition to life becoming more enjoyable to us humans, it's also the time of year that HAWS sees a huge increase in the number of wildlife being brought into our shelter.

These animals typically are injured, sick or thought to be orphaned, and will be transferred to a wildlife rehabilitation center until they can be released back into the wild where they belong. I use the term "thought to be orphaned" because many times baby animals are removed when they should not have been. rabbits and fawns in particular are misunderstood.  A concerned citizen sees them without an adult and assumes that they've been abandoned by their parents.  What many people don't realize is that these prey species absent themselves from their babies deliberately.  Hanging around where your baby is located is a good way to tell a predator where to find an easy meal.  The mother rabbit and deer come back  to feed their babies, and then leave again. 

If you are convinced that a nest of rabbits has been abandoned you can lightly cover them with grass and check on them the next morning.  If the grass has been removed the mother rabbit has been by for a feeding.

A fawn will only require assistance if it has been crying for more than 3 hours, or if it is obviously injured.  Observe from a distance - getting too close means that you're spreading your scent in the area of the baby deer and your scent may attract predators.

If you want to help a wild animal you should first find out if it actually  needs help and what kind of help it needs.  A great resource is the Wildlife In Need Center in Dousman.  They have a great FAQ section on their website, or you can call during their clinic hours with questions.