Don't Adopt Wildlife

Wet fawn lays in grass

Why shouldn't I adopt orphaned wildlife? 

  • Baby animals are rarely abandoned. The wildlife parent is afraid of people and will retreat when you approach. If the baby animal is left alone, the parent will usually return. In addition, parent animals cannot constantly attend their young. Often they spend many hours each day gathering food.
  • Wild animals, if they are to survive in captivity, often require highly specialized care. Without such care they will remain in poor health and may eventually die.
  • As wild animals mature, they can become dangerous to handle and damaging to property.
  • Animals are better off in their natural habitat where they are free to reproduce and carry on their species.
  • If a wild animal is broken to captivity, it will probably die if returned to the wild.
  • Many wild animals are nocturnal. This means that they are not active until after dark. They sleep during the day and can be quite disturbing at night while people sleep.
  • Native wildlife carry mites, ticks, lice, fleas, flukes, roundworms, tapeworms, rabies, distemper, tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, and skin diseases. Some of these diseases can be transmitted to humans.
  • It is illegal to possess many wild animals without a valid state or federal permit. See the Wildlife Code of Missouri for details, or contact the Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, Missouri 65102.
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Leave orphaned animals where you find them. 

Multiple baby rabbits curl up in a nest
New born cottontail rabbits rest in a nest in grass cover.
Noppadol Paothong, MDC
Right to Use
What should you do if you come across a wild baby animal that looks lost or alone? AskMDC provides some answers in this short video.
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