The other day, I rounded the curve at the bottom of my hill to find a knot of people in the middle of the road, their cars pulled over to the side. The object of their attention was a sizeable snapping turtle on her way back to the swamp after laying her eggs somewhere on the other side of the road, no doubt.

They were trying to figure out how best to get it across the street before it gets hit. Not to mention how hot the pavement was. One of them was trying to coax it by snapping his fingers in front of the turtle. He’s lucky the turtle didn’t have one for a snack.

Snappers have pretty ugly dispositions, and those jaws can deliver a pretty gruesome bite. I’d had experience working with snapping turtles, so I knew a way to pick it up so neither of us would get hurt. Pretty soon she was headed back to her favorite spot – underneath a fallen log that stretchd out from the shore. I’d seen her there many times before.

But it reminded me it’s that time of year. Baby bids fall out of nests. A baby rabbit is cowering all by itself under a shrub. Maybe a fawn wanders into your yard with no adult around.

Anyone with a shred of humanity wants to do something to help. Doing nothing may be the best course.
If an animal is clearly injured, call a veterinarian, wildlife rehabilitator, or the local animal control officer to get in touch with the proper person to handle the situation. Follow their advice. If it’s a mammal, don’t forget that rabies is getting more common.

The uninjured baby bird or small rabbit is a different story. Rabbits tend to go off on their own fairly early, so they’re not abandoned. As for baby birds, the parents may be lurking up in the trees nearby. It may be ready to fly on its own fairly soon, and will with the help f its parents or on its own.

If you want to stick around somewhere nearby and watch out for cats and other predators, that’s fine. If you have the time nd patience, you could be rewarded by watching how the parents will come down and help out.

Well, that’s my lecture for today.

Advertisements