Found an abandoned baby animal this spring? Police say don’t touch it

Spring has arrived and that means lots of wild, baby animals being born.

But, if you come across one that appears to be hurt or abandoned, Fairfax County police ask that you keep something in mind.

While it’s hard to resist stepping in when an adorable baby bunny or tiny squirrel appears to be in trouble, the county’s Animal Protection Police have a favor to ask: Don’t.

Baby animals left alone may not necessarily be abandoned, and many species hide their young for safety while leaving them alone of extended periods of time, police said.

Police said that while your intentions may be good, a young animal’s best chance for survival is to receive natural care from its parents and stay wild.

Some signs that an animal needs help include:

  • Signs of flies, worms or maggots.
  • Was caught by a cat or dog.
  • Signs of trauma, such as an open wound, bleeding or swelling.
  • Parents are known to be dead or the young animal is separated and cannot be reunited.
  • Very cold, thin or weak.
  • On the ground unable to move.
  • Not fully furred or feathered.

If you’re really worried about a baby creature you find, call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator, veterinarian or Animal Protection Police instead.

In Virginia, the Wildlife Conflict Helpline number is 1-855-571-9003. Fairfax County’s Animal Protection Police can be reached at 703-691-2131.

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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