Written by Amy Hanchiruk
With the summer season coming into full swing the wild critters and their babies are slowing showing up. One of the most common calls we get at Park Road Vet is for “orphaned” wildlife. People are guilty of having this great nurturing quality however, sometimes we interfere where we shouldn’t. You see most wildlife have this natural instinct to “hide” their young. The mothers will not be too far away in most cases. Just because we can’t see them doesn’t mean they are not there. They will usually wait until there is no one around to approach their vulnerable young. So if you see a young fawn or a nest of unattended bunnies please just observe from a distance and only intervene when you are absolutely sure that they are in fact orphaned. You can peek in on a nest of bunnies, squirrels or birds and if they are sleeping and content mom has been there likely when you were not looking. They have chosen to raise their babies were they feel it is safe. If you have other pets of your own try to keep them away from that area as best as you can. In most cases they are only there for a short time frame and will be out on their own soon.
It is very common this time of year for us to receive calls about baby bunnies. If you are out in your yard and you see a small bunny please try not to disturb it. Bunnies are actually out on their own when they still are quite small. My general rule is: if it is big enough to sit in just the palm of your hand, it is big enough to be on its own. What most people don’t realize about bunnies is that they will “freeze” in fear and allow you to pick them up. They will then continue to stress themselves and generally will succumb to it. As much as we want to help we are doing them more harm than good. The only time that I would choose to intervene would be if they are injured. If that is the case you are best to contact the local animal shelters/SPCAs or local Veterinary Clinics for help. You could also go to www.ontariowildliferescue.ca for more information or for links to wildlife rescue organizations in your area. Remember: never try to rehabilitate an orphaned wild animal on your own. They are not meant to be pets and need to be in a facility that can take care of them and prepare them to go back out into the wild where they belong. This way we can continue to enjoy them at a distance.