What I am about to say is something that is common sense in the naturalist community, but I will post this topic anyways.
I volunteer at a wildlife clinic, and lots of people are seeing baby animals and thinking that they are abandoned. They bring in perfectly healthy animals and want us to help them. We have animals that need to be there. We have animals in incubators and ventilators, and we can’t waste all our space and time with perfectly fine animals.
Deer, raccoon, and rabbit babies are commonly seen as orphans. Baby deer, if they are not injured, need to be left alone. They are born scentless, and if you touch them, you are basically telling every predetor where they live. They aren’t orphaned, their mom left them there on purpose.
Young raccoons have different sleeping cycles than adults. They will play outside in the day time, and will cross roads. UNLESS THEY ARE INJURED, Do not touch them. They are vector animals. We literally have seperate storage and wash loads for the raccoon laundry because they have so many diseases and parasites. Their feces is absolutely nasty. Only staff are allowed to handle them. They are cute and beautiful, but they have absolutely disgusting diseases. If you see young raccoons playing, or crossing the road, leave them alone. Mom is napping nearby and knows that they are out playing. If you need to move them, from a chicken coop for example, wear chainsaw gloves. If there is an injured one that you are transporting to a clinic, do the same thing.
Baby bunnies: Same as raccoons, unless they are injured, or dehydrated, leave them alone. If you accidentally uncover a nest, put it back where it was and leave it alone. Babies with open eyes and fur will play outside. If you find really new babies with closed eyes and no fur, call your local wildlife clinic and they will help you figure out what to do next.
What happens when people bring in perfectly healthy animals? It depends. The center I volunteer at is constantly swamped with babies this time of year. Last year, one of the interns told me that if a person abducts a perfectly healthy fawn, they sometimes have to euthanize the fawns because there is nothing else to do. It’s sad, and completely avoidable if you just let them be. Or, sometimes we do take them in, and then the staff and experts have to spend time feeding and cleaning up after these babies, while also making sure that they don’t become friendly with humans.
Lastly, and I know many of you already see this as common sense, DO NOT KEEP WILD ANIMALS AS PETS.
I don’t mean keeping an anole or pheasent as a pet, that is a completely different thing.
I mean native wildlife. Keeping them is pets is harmful to them, to you, and to the habitat you took them from. Raccoons, deer, opossums, and whatever else live near you need to stay in the wild. They are cute, but they should never be pets. Bringing wild animals into your house poses a serious health risk to you, your family, and your pets. Parasites are disgusting. Rabies is a horrible way to die. Children could be bitten, scratched, and develop a fear of wildlife. These animals will get bored and absolutely wreck your belongings. People then get sick of them. And once they get used to living like a pet, they can never be released.
The nature center and wildlife clinic I volunteer at has many permanent residents. Animals that can’t return to the wild and are stuck with us. Some of them were injured in the wild. Many were pets.
The bobcat who lives there was taken from a person who kept him as a pet. In addition to being habituated, he was declawed and neutered by the owner. The staff do everything they can to give him an enriched environment, but that poor bobcat will never have the same quality of life as a bobcat living in the wild.
In conclusion, leave healthy animals alone. If they are injured, dehydrated, sick, fell from a nest, or you are POSITIVE that their mother isn’t coming back, you can call a wildlife clinic. Don’t keep them as pets. It’s illeagal and it is cruel. Wildlife is meant to be free and wild.