It’s that time of year when hikers and outdoor recreationists in the Adirondacks and other areas of New York State are likely to see baby animals out and about. While they’re adorable, the DEC reminds us to enjoy them from a safe distance, even if their parents don’t seem to be around.
Young Wildlife May be Seen Without Adults, But They Don’t Need Human Help
While most young wildlife learn survival skills from one or both adult parents, some receive little to no care. Sometimes, the parents stay away from the young, especially when humans are present.
Unfortunately, well-intentioned individuals may attempt to care for the young wild animals they believe to be abandoned or in need of assistance.
“New York’s amazing natural wonders come alive during the spring and summer seasons, offering exciting encounters with wildlife in fields, forests, and even your own backyard,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement. “If you see a fawn, baby rabbit, or just-fledged bird, I encourage you to enjoy the encounter from a distance and not attempt to approach or touch the animal.”
Fawns, Rabbits & More Without Their Moms
A fawn is a good example of a young wild animal you may find alone. Fawns nurse three to four times a day, typically for under 30 minutes at a time, from their mother. When not nursing, the doe keeps her distance.
The doe stays away to avoid predators following her to the fawn. The fawn’s protective coloration and ability to remain perfectly still helps it to avoid detection from predators and people. At 10 weeks of age, they’re not longer dependent on milk, although they may continue to nurse occasionally into the fall.
You may also see baby cottontail rabbits alone – the mother typically buries them in a shallow nest in the ground and covers it with grass. Songbirds, too, may be spotted practicing flying, although a parent is likely nearby even if you can’t immediately see them.
Of course, taking wildlife home to keep as pets is strictly illegal and harmful to the animal. Wild animals are not suitable for life in captivity, and may carry harmful diseases.
Get your camera ready to capture the wildlife – from a safe distance.