EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Now that the weather is warm, it’s fairly common to come across baby animals in the wild, especially deer fawns.

While these animals may appear to be abandoned, experts say that’s rarely the case. They should be left alone, according to the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), since handling the fawns could permanently separate them from their mothers, putting their lives in danger.

White-tailed deer give birth in May and June, and the DEM says it gets many calls every year about fawns that appear to be in trouble.

“In nature, the mother deer gives birth and for the next five to seven days, the fawn is incapable of following the mother, so it is natural for the fawn to lie in a curled ‘freeze’ position on the ground hidden in grass or sparse brush,” DEM biologist Dylan Ferreira explained.

Once they’re able to get around, fawns won’t typically approach people or pets. But if one does, the DEM says the best thing to do is leave the area.

The DEM also stressed that fawns should not be kept as pets. In fact, removing a deer from the wild and keeping it in captivity is illegal in Rhode Island.

If you come across a fawn or other animal that is clearly injured, contact the Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island at (401) 294-6363.