June 18, 2013
With Warmer Weather – Sightings of Deer Fawns Increasing
For Their Safety, Leave Fawns Alone
Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is reminding residents to leave deer fawns alone if they discover one and believe it to be abandoned. In June, white-tailed deer are giving birth to fawns across the state. With the advent of warm weather, more people are participating in outdoor activities, increasing the chances that someone will come across a tiny fawn. The fawn may appear to have been deserted, but that is usually not the case. The DEEP Wildlife Division has been receiving an increasing number of phone calls from people concerned about finding fawns that appear to be orphaned or abandoned.
It is critical for people to leave deer fawns alone, as the animal’s instinctive behavior in its first weeks of life is to remain motionless and let danger pass. The fawn may appear helpless or abandoned, but it is behaving normally in response to a perceived threat. As newborns, the fawns have almost no body odor and their reddish brown coat with white spots makes them almost invisible to predators. Fawns often lie motionless on the ground surrounded by low vegetation and remain perfectly still even when approached by another animal. It is important to realize that young fawns likely do not need your help, and the doe is probably feeding nearby.
“It is highly unlikely that a fawn found alone has been abandoned,” said Rick Jacobson, Director of the DEEP Wildlife Division. “It is best not to touch the fawn and to leave it where it was found for at least 24 hours to determine whether the adult is still returning for feedings. While waiting for the doe to return, it is important that both people and dogs stay away from the fawn.”
After a doe gives birth to one or two fawns and nurses them, she leads them into a secluded habitat. Twin fawns may even be separated from each other. The doe then leaves them alone for extended periods of time. She returns to nurse them about three to four times a day, with feeding time lasting approximately 15 minutes. This pattern will continue for up to 3 weeks until the fawns are strong enough to accompany the doe or flee from danger.
In the rare case when a fawn has truly been orphaned, it is best that the animal be placed in the care of a licensed wildlife rehabilitator with the skills, training, and state authorization to care for fawns. A fawn suspected of being orphaned should be left where it was found, and its location should be reported to a wildlife rehabilitator qualified to care for fawns. A list of wildlife rehabilitators and their contact information can be obtained on the DEEP Web site at www.ct.gov/deep/wildlife
, or by calling the DEEP Wildlife Division at 860-424-3011 (Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM-4:30 PM) or the DEEP Emergency Dispatch Center at 860-424-3333 (after hours or on weekends).