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DEM Reminds Public to Not Approach Fawns That Appear Abandoned

PROVIDENCE - The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is advising the public to avoid approaching fawns that may appear abandoned. Unless a dead doe is found nearby, fawns are not considered abandoned.

During the first week following birth, fawns are incapable of following their mother and will often lie in a curled position on the ground hidden in grass or sparse brush. Typically the mothers are nearby and will come to the fawn a few times during the day or after dark for feedings. Anyone who observes a fawn in this condition should leave it alone, as the doe will return.

People are encouraged to heed the following should they encounter a fawn:

Leave the area immediately and avoid creating a disturbance near the animal. Do not feed or handle the fawn. At this young age, fawns can be approached and handled with little resistance; however, handling or removing them from the wild is illegal and detrimental to their survival. If the fawn is alone, do not wait to see if the doe returns. She will avoid the area until people and pets are gone. Report any sightings of an injured fawn to the DEM Division of Fish and Wildlife at 401-789-7481.

Wild deer often do poorly in captivity, suffering malnutrition and behavioral changes as they become accustomed to humans. Captive deer can pose health risks and become dangerous to people or domestic animals as they mature. They also have difficulty returning to the wild as a free-roaming animal. For more deer facts, visit

Follow DEM on Twitter (@RhodeIslandDEM) or Facebook at for more information on wildlife in Rhode Island as well as other timely updates.

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  • Department or agency: Department of Environmental Management
  • Online:
  • Release date: 05-31-2016

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