Creature Feature

Creature Feature – White-tailed Deer Fawns

Posted by  //  May 23, 2018  //  Articles, Creature Feature

Here in NY State, most fawns are born between late May and mid-June.  They can walk shortly after birth, but most of their early days are spent lying still as a way to escape detection.  Every spring, people stumble upon these tiny fawns, curled up motionless in tall grass or the forest. They look around for a mother doe, and seeing none, assume the baby has been abandoned or orphaned.  Meaning well, they “rescue” the fawn, removing it from its resting place. Sadly, many of these fawns do not survive human intervention. In reality, a fawn is rarely abandoned or orphaned; rather, the mother doe has nursed her baby and left it in a safe place while she keeps her distance.  This helps keep predators from discovering the fawn. She will return just to nurse her baby, 3-4 times a day. The fawn has a freeze-in-place instinct that, along with its nearly scentless dappled coat, makes it virtually invisible to predators and people. By the end of its second week, a fawn starts spending more time with the doe.  It will also begin sampling grass and leaves. By 10 weeks of age it doesn’t depend on milk anymore, though it will continue to nurse occasionally and remain with its mother through the winter. Wildlife experts advise: “If You Care, Leave It There.”  Resist the urge to touch a fawn or to linger close.  Do not interfere in any way unless the animal has an obvious injury or a dead doe is discovered nearby.  Should the fawn genuinely need human intervention, you can find contact info for your regional DEC office and a listing of licensed wildlife rehabilitators at the following link:

Article and photo by Margie Manthey

Photo: “White-tailed Deer – Newborn Fawn”

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