A Walk on the Wild (Baby) Side

These are the “wild baby” days, when while on a hike in the woods, a walk in the park, or tending your own lawn, you might come across wild animal babies. Often it looks like these babies have been abandoned by their parents but generally that is not the case. Many wild animals will leave babies in the nest or hidden for hours at a time while they feed elsewhere, and by interfering with their method of parenting, we can greatly reduce the babies’ chance of survival. Unless you are absolutely certain the parent(s) are dead, it’s best to leave the babies alone. If you are uncertain, wait nearby and give the animals a chance to reclaim their young. If after a reasonable amount of time that doesn’t happen, the next best thing you can do is to contact your local Animal Control (Berrien County is at 269-471-7531.) and they can put you in touch with a wildlife rehabilitator or they may ask you to bring the babies in to the shelter. They can also guide you in the best way to handle the young. If you check with the Berrien County Animal Control website, http://www.berriencounty.org/AnimalControl, you can find a very helpful brochure on Wild Babies: Helping them Survive! The brochure has a wealth of information on how different wild animals care for their young and how to best determine if intervention is really necessary. I printed it out and will keep it, in case I’m ever faced with the decision of what to do with and how to handle wildlife babies. I figure it’s best to educate yourself ahead of time, especially when you live in an area that is as rich in wildlife as Michigan.

Photo courtesy of Boykung/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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6 Comments on “A Walk on the Wild (Baby) Side”

  1. Excellent advice, Lucy. We were driving up north when we rounded a curve and there was a black bear in the middle of the road. When we stopped he or she actually challenged and came toward us. Until a car coming the other way scared it into the woods. I’m thinking there was a baby or babies nearby. Sighting of a lifetime, though.

    • There probably were babies involved. The closest encounter I’ve had with a bear was when one ran though the campsite next to ours (while we were on our honeymoon!). That was close enough, thank you.

  2. melissakeir Says:

    I love visiting the local animal rehab center in Howell. They do such a great job with the animals, most of whom are actually animals that can’t be released because they were imprinted by humans. When people keep wild animals for pets, they don’t realize how hard it is for the animals when they can’t care for them. These animals don’t have any of the skills to survive in the wild.

    • I know a woman who rehabs and has worked with fawns a lot. They are great people. Thank goodness for them. I always have to wonder why someone would want a wild animal for a pet when there are so many wonderful dogs and cats that need good homes.

  3. Diane Burton Says:

    I’m enjoying the duck families that visit all the houses around the pond behind our house. That babies are so darn cute.

  4. Love those ducklings!

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