SPCA Advises Leaving Fawns Alone

The SPCA for Monterey County advises our community for their safety and the safety of our wildlife to please leave baby deer, known as fawns, alone. So far this Spring, the SPCA Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center has received 11 fawns and six of them were healthy babies taken from their mothers unintentionally. While two were successfully reunited with their mothers and two are still in our care, sadly, two did not survive their encounters with humans.

Mother deer leave their babies hidden and alone in a safe space during most of the day, often only visiting them during dawn and dusk. These fawns are not abandoned; the mother is likely out of sight watching you. If you find a fawn lying quietly in the grass leave it where it is, stay back and out of sight, and keep dogs as far away as possible. The mother will not return if she senses people or dogs are too close. If a fawn has been picked up or handled, gently place it back in the exact place where it was found, or within sight of that spot. Stand back several hundred feet, and wait for the mother’s return (which could take hours).

If you are worried that the fawn might be in distress, look for the following signs:

  • labored breathing
  • walking and vocalizing for over an hour
  • blood
  • clearly broken bones
  • lying prone on its side (rather than curled or on its stomach)
  • a deceased mother on site

If you see these signs, please do not rescue the fawn yourself. Call the SPCA Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Center immediately at 831-264-5427. Once contacted, our technicians will evaluate the situation and give you instructions on how to proceed.

A fawn lying quietly in a curled position on its stomach is very likely not in need of rescue.

Do not attempt to rescue a fawn without the guidance of our technicians. Never bring a fawn into your home. Fawns are extremely sensitive to stress. The terror of being handled by humans and receiving any incorrect care or incorrect diet, even for just one day, severely decreases a fawn’s chances for survival and release.

The SPCA Wildlife Center is available for emergency wildlife rescues 24 hours a day. To support our work, please visit www.SPCAmc.org/donate.

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