May is the time of year for newborn wildlife. We just received the first fawns of the season at our wildlife center. One was found in a field when the farmer was harvesting his first cut of hay. It is very common for deer to hide their young in tall grass. Luckily, the fawn was unhurt. Unfortunately, the farmer picked up the fawn instead of leaving it for the mother to return and get it.
The second fawn was a piebald. Piebald is a rare genetic abnormality in whitetail deer that can include a range of potential deformities, from coat coloration to skeletal alignment, from mild to severe. This is because some of the same genes that code for coat color also code for other physical traits. Shortened or crooked legs, hooves and spine are sometimes part of the visible problems. This one had several deformities, a very large overbite, infected eye and dwarf-like legs. This is common in piebald deer. But its overbite was so severe, it could not nurse and is assumed the mother abandoned it.
This sounds cruel, but its nature’s way of ridding unhealthy wild animals. Remember, Mother Nature will never make a mistake.
While we are happy to nurture these fawns and release back into the wild, remember, the best thing one can do for a fawn you have found is leave it alone. Although it may seem abandoned, a healthy fawn is being watched by its mother at all times, and she will always return to get it.
Some information about fawns:
Baby deer weigh 6-8 pounds at birth. Does can have 1-3 babies. Newborns will stand and nurse within 30 minutes. Does with twins normally keep each baby in separate locations, but the mom is always within 100 feet of her young. Newborns nurse 2-3 times a day, increasing to 6-8 times daily. Fawns will begin eating vegetation at 3 weeks of age and can outrun most danger then.
At birth, they only have four teeth; at maturity, they have 32 teeth.
Average number of spots: 300!
Most white-tailed deer live about 2 to 3 years. Maximum lifespan in the wild is 20 years, but few live past 10 years old.
Predators: Humans, wolves, coyotes, cougars, bears.
Quote of the Day: The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.