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As spring begins, Texas Parks and Wildlife reminds: 'Don't touch the animals'

A deer peeks through green foliage.
Gabriel Pérez
A deer fawn in the Austin Lake Estates community in West Austin.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is asking folks to please keep their hands to themselves.

As the weather gets warmer and outdoor activities ramp up, you might start seeing more local critters meandering about. Spring is the time of year that wildlife become more active — at parks, along trails and even in your own backyard.

In a press release, TPWD said animals like birds, snakes and deer are active this time of year. These animals, especially when they're babies, often appear abandoned, and people might feel inclined to help. But TPWD advises against this.

"Baby birds and deer fawns are most often picked up by well-meaning citizens," TPWD said. "However, it is important to realize that many such human-animal encounters are unnecessary and can even be detrimental to the wildlife concerned."

Sometimes if a human interferes too early, it could deter the baby's parents from returning. TPWD says you should observe the animal for a while before getting involved. If you think the animal is seriously injured, TPWD says to contact a permitted wildlife rehabilitator.

One last note: It's OK to help a wild turtle cross the road, but don't take it home to be your new pet.

Danielle Lopez is a former assistant digital editor at KUT.
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