NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — It’s fawning season, and Walden’s Puddle is being inundated with calls about “abandoned” baby deer. But, if you see a fawn and the mother is nowhere to be found, it’s not necessarily in danger.
Rebecca Garner, an animal care technician at Walden’s Puddle, says that white-tail deer are a prey species. So, they leave their young alone for a reason.
“A lot of people will call us and be like, ‘I have a fawn in my driveway, the mom left it here,’ or we’ve even had it where they’ve left it on their front porch. And they are worried that because it’s such a busy area, something’s going to happen to it. But white-tailed deer, they actually do this on purpose because they know that these areas don’t have a lot of predators.”
While much of the time, the fawn is okay and should be left alone, there are a few indications to watch for that can indicate distress.
“So, some very telltale signs that a fawn is actually abandoned is one that you see mom right next to it not alive. That’s obviously a very easy way to say that a fawn needs help, ” says Garner. “Another way is if it’s completely covered in ticks, a few ticks are fine because they’re always going to have some, but if their eyes and ears are covered in ticks, we know that something happened to mom because she would normally eat them.”
Noticeable injuries and a surplus of flies may also indicate that a fawn needs care, but it’s best to observe and wait if there are no obvious signs of distress.
Garner says watching from a safe distance is essential, “You always want to make sure that you’re observing from afar, so you want to do it while you’re inside your house, leave it alone. And check, I would say every few hours to make sure that it’s still there. But don’t move it, don’t touch it, don’t try to offer it anything.”
There are also a few posts on social media that tell people to look at a fawn’s ears to see if they are curled, but this is not always an indication that a fawn is distressed, “Curled ears are not a telltale sign that a fawn is abandoned or dehydrated or needs help,” according to Garner.
If you see a fawn that may need help, you can call the main line at Walden’s Puddle or reach out to them via Facebook.