Leave those Spring Baby Animals Alone
Springtime conjures up images of flowers blooming on sunny days, baby chicks on farms, and baby squirrels and mice in wildlife. But no matter how cute these creatures may seem, you must leave them alone. (And really, though it’s seen as romantic, we shouldn’t be picking wild flowers, either.) But why shouldn’t we help those seemingly harmless little animals in the wild?
Humane societies become inundated with calls each spring about baby mice, squirrels, rabbits, baby deer (fawns), and even rats, that people want to help. You may suspect that they are orphaned – maybe you don’t see their parents nearby. Maybe you’re worried they’re not getting enough food or that they don’t have proper shelter. And it’s great that you want to help them out. But the best way to help them is to leave them alone.
In most cases, the adult of the family is likely nearby searching for food. The animals are happiest with their parents and will undoubtedly be cared for. Plus, wildlife babies tend to actually fare better in their own natural habitat than a cat or dog that is roaming free. House pets have been domesticated for so long that they are genetically more suited to living inside (with the freedom to roam and plenty of fresh air, of course). But wildlife babies have a different set of needs than puppies and kittens and do better in their natural environment, with their parents. You can return a baby bird to its nest if need be (the mother will not actually reject it if you touch it, contrary to popular belief) but, otherwise, these critters are better left untouched by humans. It’s more humane to leave wildlife alone. If you think they are in danger or injured, however, call your local wildlife professional or humane society for advice.
Imagine you happen upon a nest of baby raccoons, so tiny and helpless, with no parent in sight. Just because you don’t immediately see the parents doesn’t mean that they don’t see you. If they feel their young are threatened, despite your best intentions, they might attack. If the parents were scared off by your arrival, they might be even more inclined to react negatively to your presence and lunge at you upon their return. There’s the saying about “protecting your children like a momma bear protecting her cubs” for a reason. Parents will do almost anything to protect their young so it’s best for everyone that you leave the babies alone.
Another reason that you are better off leaving the wee animals where they rest is that they could be carrying diseases that could threaten you and your entire family. Young children, the elderly, immunocompromised people, and pregnant women are at particular risk of acquiring disease from animal feces, rabies, parasites, and more. Even shedded skin, discarded feathers, and dander from an animal can pose a health risk, so it’s best to leave the wildlife alone.
So, go out and enjoy those hikes and walks in the spring. Just leave the little baby animals alone and we can all live happier sharing the environment together. If you have any quesitons, don’t hesitate to call us at Summit Wildlife Solutions for advice.