TPWD biologists: Don’t touch the wildlife

As the weather warms up and people go outside, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reminds everyone to leave wild animals, especially their babies.

Species such as birds, deer and snakes are active this year and their young often wander or appear to be abandoned. Well-meaning people sometimes try to “help” these strays, typically baby birds and deer. However, such human-animal encounters are unnecessary and may even be detrimental to the animals concerned, the department warns.

The deer-deer season begins early until mid-May. The spotted coat of a newborn deer and the care of a mother usually hide it from predators. As deer mature, they shed these coats for a more adult and striking color. A deer may leave her deer for hours at a time while she searches for food. People encountering the deer might think it was abandoned, but that rarely happens, according to TPWD.

Texas Park and Wildlife biologists emphasize that humans should leave all young animals alone if it is obviously injured or orphaned. Be sure to spend time observing the wild animal from afar. Staying too close could prevent the mother from returning. Intervening too early can cause more harm than good.

The same guidelines apply to young birds that may be outside their nests but cannot fly. If the bird’s eyes are open, it has a feather coat, and hops around, it’s probably fine, according to the TPWD. Ground fleas usually take flight after a few days.

If it is found that a wild animal is sick or injured, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department encourages people to contact an authorized natural rehabilitator. Note that TPWD persons advise the public not to handle or transport injured, sick or orphaned animals.

Learn more about what if you encounter orphaned or injured animals and how to contact rehabilitators at the TPWD Wildlife Division website.

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