The Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control is reminding residents to leave alone any juvenile animals they may find in their yards.
With spring mowing season underway, and having fielded recent calls from people who have found what they believe are abandoned baby rabbits, DNREC is asking residents not to “rescue” these young animals. Young Eastern cottontail rabbits, in particular, may appear to be alone, since their mothers often temporarily leave their ground nests to avoid attracting predators, returning only to feed the young.
Before handling or moving any wildlife species, residents should contact the Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife at (302) 739-9912 to speak with a trained biologist.
Precautions should be taken with both juvenile and adult wild animals. DNREC recommends that if a resident sees a young animal alone, watch from a distance to see if its mother returns. This could take several hours. Also, some wild animals can be unpredictable and sometimes dangerous, especially if they are in pain. They can also carry parasites or illnesses, such as rabies, that can affect a resident’s pets. If a resident must handle an animal, they should wear gloves and use extreme care. Residents should also keep in mind that it is illegal in the state of Delaware to raise or keep any wild animal.