Wildlife / Baby animals

The City of Independence borders the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. We are fortunate to have a lovely abundance of wildlife but, with that, situations can arise from being in such close proximity to nature.  One of the situations we face in Independence is the arrival of baby animals in the spring.  Below is a list of some things you may encounter and what to do if you come in contact with baby wildlife.

Fawns


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From the time they are born until they are about 3 weeks old, fawns are routinely left alone. It may appear that they are abandoned, but they are not. The doe is close by, but purposely stays a distance away from the baby so that a predator is not attracted to her young fawn. Fawns are born with very little scent. If the doe were to stay close, a predator would surely pick up the scent and hence find the fawn. Be watchful but stay back if you find a fawn in the grass. Mom may not be happy about you being so close to her baby!

Rabbits


Like the deer doe, a rabbit doe will also leave her young in the nest for the same reason, to keep predators from finding her young. The rabbit doe will come at dusk and dawn to feed her young, but chances are rare that you will see her at the nest. Young baby bunnies have a white snip on their heads. If you do not see this white they are on their own. They may seem too tiny, but if the white is missing, the babies are old enough and will be pushed out of the nest.

Birds


Baby birds that fall from the nest can either be put back in the nest, or if that is not possible, you can construct a make-shift nest with some grass and affix it to the tree and the mother will still feed it . It is not true that once you touch a baby animal that the mother will reject it.  If the baby bird has feathers it can live on the ground. They often fall on the ground, however, the mom will still feed them.

Remember


Humans are always a young wild animal's last hope for survival, never their best hope.  A young animal should only be removed from the wild after all avenues to reunite it with adult animals have been explored.

The Law


Native wild animals are legally protected. It is illegal for anyone to possess a native wild animal unless permitted by the Ohio Division of Natural Resources.  A person found possessing wildlife illegally can be subject to fines, imprisonment and/or restitution.

Again, once a human intervenes, the chances of the animal surviving are greatly reduced.

One thing to remember, most baby animals are allergic to cow's milk and feeding it to them may cause it to die.

For more information or questions on wildlife, contact the Lake Erie Nature and Science Center in Bay Village (440) 871-2900.