Hiding is the way of deer

To the editor:

A recent article in the Ledger-Transcript concerned a fawn, which was found by some good-hearted people. Thinking the fawn had somehow lost its mother, they tried to “rescue” it. What the paper failed to mention was that this was a terrible mistake. Most of us assume that fawns stay with their mothers as foals stay with mares and calves stay with cows. This is absolutely not the case. A doe hides her fawn a few minutes after it’s born. If she has twins, she hides them in two different places. Young fawns don’t travel with their mothers for a very good reason. Deer have many predators and depend on speed to escape. A tiny fawn cannot run nearly as fast as its mother. If a fawn tried this, the fawn would be the one caught by the predator, or in other words, if fawns depended on speed for survival, deer would now be extinct.

Instead, fawns evolved to hide. A fawn can hide under a fern. The fawn doesn’t move. It has virtually no odor. Even a dog won’t find it. It hardly breathes — its entire metabolism slows way down including its heart rate. Important scientific experiments have proved this conclusively. When a fawn thinks it’s safe, it may get up and move around, and when it’s mother comes to feed it — which she does every six hours or so — she will look around until she finds it. No sight is more heartbreaking than a doe looking for a fawn that someone has taken. She will search everywhere for a very long time, out in plain sight with no regard for her own safety, then leave as if she has given up, only to come back and keep searching. She’ll do this for days, sometimes.

Liz Thomas


Legacy Comments1

Liz are you referring to the article printed on June 5th? Did you actually read the article or just look at the picture? You are absolutely right about how to treat a fawn. But the people in the article did act responsibly and do the right thing. They were a mowing crew scheduled to mow the area. When they found the fawn they moved it just far enough into an area where they were not going to mow to make sure that it would be safe from the mower. They checked a few hours later and the fawn was gone, presumably reunited with it's mother.

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.