VERIFY | What to do if you find a baby deer

Verify: If you touch a fawn, will the mother abandon it?

It's almost summer and you may notice nature is taking it's course.

Baby animals are showing up everywhere, especially fawns.

There's an urban myth that says if you touch a fawn, the mother will abandon it. Is that true or not? 

Sometimes these baby animals cross paths with us. WKYC morning anchor Lynna Lai had a visitor to her yard. She was fawning over a young deer on Facebook, but asked a serious question: What do we do? 

Some of the social media replies were pretty accurate, but one brought up something we wanted to VERIFY. Does touching the fawn drive away the mother?  

VERIFY: Sources

Our sources are:

  • The Ohio Division of Wildlife 
  • Renata Wischt, Naturalist for Summit County Metroparks.

So, to Lynna's question: Will the mommy come back?

"In the wild, mom will leave during the day and come back several times during the day to check on the baby," Wischt told WKYC Channel 3's Carl Bachtel.

Fawns are born with next to no scent, and great camouflage. They don't move when approached because of instinct. That brings us to the myth of touching them. Will the mother abandon the baby? The Ohio Division of Wildlife says "If the fawn is in a dangerous location, move it to a safer location. Although you should limit touching the animal, it is a myth the doe will reject a fawn with human scent on it."

Fawns are born mostly without scent to help them hide from predators.

"So, the more you touch it, the more predators you might attract to the baby," Wischt says. "That's why mom stays away to keep her scent off the baby and that's why we should stay away as well."

Based on our experts, we can say that a fawn will NOT be abandoned by its mother if touched. And, we should never touch a baby deer unless it's an emergency. 

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© 2017 WKYC-TV


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