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If people come across baby animals, including deer and rabbits, leave them alone, says the experts at the Missouri Department of Conservation.

While out patrolling your yard or even your neighborhood, you might encounter a variety of newborn animals. To you, they may appear abandoned, but that is usually not the case. The parents are normally just out of eyesight or gathering food and will return to take care of their young, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Trying to “rescue” these young animals can do more harm than good. Our human scent does not cause mothers to reject their young, and most newborn animals do not survive in captivity. The care and rehabilitation of wild animals require special training, facilities, and permits. It is illegal to possess many wildlife species without a current state or federal permit.

Right now, baby birds are commonly being seen. Fledglings (chicks with feathers) may be viewed hopping along the ground; they can spend up to 10 days like this while learning to fly. If a chick is discovered without feathers then return it to the nest, it most likely fell out.

You might also encounter baby rabbits by running over the nest with a lawnmower. Baby rabbits seldom survive in captivity, they can die of fright by being handled, according to the MDC.

Even if you see an adorable fawn all curled up, leave it alone. Fawns will stay still hoping their color will blend into the forest floor by looking like dead leaves with light shining through the canopy; that camouflage is even valuable when bedded down in other vegetation. The mother is not far away and will be back to take care of her baby.

If you are tempted to take them home, don’t! The best thing you can do for wild animals is to leave them alone.

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