It is almost always best not to remove animals from environment
By Melissa Vinson
With all the young animals out at this time of year, the chances are that you will encounter one. Often times, when someone comes across a young or infant animal, they automatically believe the animal to be abandoned – but that is actually rarely the case. The majority of the time, mom is not far away.
The survival of young mammals depends on the survival of its parents, especially its mother. If the mother does not find food for herself, then that means no food for the baby. Much like humans, in order for a mother to produce a healthy amount of milk, she has to eat. Our native wildlife does not have the ability to order delivery, hire a baby sitter, or have the in-laws watch the kids while they forage for food. So, the babies are often left hidden in their nest or den to keep safe while mom is away. This is true for most animals. Sure, at times this leaves some babies vulnerable to predation, but, as they say, “it’s the circle of life.”
The main thing is determining if intervention is actually needed. Before intervening, do some research on the normal nesting behavior of that animal or call us. Remember, a baby animal by itself does not equal an orphaned animal. If intervention is necessary, it does not mean it is necessary to bring the animal to our Wildlife Rehab Center, either. Reuniting a baby animal with mom when separated is the best thing for that baby, even if they have been touched by you. It is a myth that the mother will reject her young if she smells a human scent on them.
The real reason a mother will not return to the nest or den is if there is too much commotion going on. So if you are standing next to the nest waiting for the mother to return, you will be waiting for a long time because she sees you as a predator. Put the babies back in the nest or den and leave the area for several hours so the mother feels safe to return. If the nest or den has been destroyed or can’t be located, substitutes can be made. While we do have the ability to raise them, mom could do a far better job than we can.
Some situations cannot be helped, as when a natural predator killed the mother; many other situations can be prevented. We can keep our cats indoors and can inspect our yard and trees for nests or dens before we do yard work. That way we know the areas to avoid when working. It is better to learn proper methods to help prevent these situations from happening. Prevention and education can do far more for animals then the actual act of rehabilitating them.
Our goal when we get a call about a baby animal is for it to remain in its natural environment.
“When we return wild animals to nature, we merely return them to what is already theirs. For man cannot give wild animals freedom, they can only take it away.” – Jacques Cousteau
Stay tuned for upcoming articles that go into more detail on how to proper reunite various species! In the meantime, if you come across a baby animal and don’t know what to do, call us right away and we can walk you through a reunite. 844-303-WILD (9453).