Sunday, June 5, 2011

Does this fawn look OK to you?

The Doe and Her Progeny
Sitting at my desk today I noticed one of the local black tailed does walking through my neighbor's backyard, so I grabbed my camera and went out on our back deck.  Critter Watch had begun.

The doe heard me open the door and she looked up with concern, but I hunkered down below the railing and she started grazing again on my neighbor's plants.  I was hoping they wouldn't eat much.

The fawn with the swollen muzzle
Then I noticed something in the weeds behind her, a spotted fawn!  The fawn soon came out in the open and I took a few pictures.  The doe would walk a few steps up the hill and her spotted baby was trailing close behind.  As they approached the back of my neighbor's house, I noticed a second fawn that must have been ahead the other two as they came up the hill.  I took a few more photos. Several times, the deer heard me as I maneuvered to get a better shot, and they would look up in my direction with some concern. But after a few seconds, they would get back to the task at hand, eating my neighbor's plants.

The other, normal looking fawn
It wasn't until I looked at these pictures on the computer that I noticed something wrong with one of the babies. Its muzzle is swollen on both sides, below the eyes and up to its nose. Take a look. Maybe it's due to a bee sting, or a mutation?  Last year we saw a fawn that had a huge swelling on the side of its head by the neck, like a goiter, but we didn't get a photo of it.  A friend of my dad's speculated it may have been due to a rattlesnake bite.  We never saw that fawn again, so either the swelling healed or that fawn did not make it.

I'll send these photos to the local Lindsay Wildlife Museum and Hospital and see if they have any explanations. We'll keep you posted on the fawns' progress and hope for the best for the odd one.

Another view of the swollen schnozzola


  1. Sent this link to several other rehabbers and once came back with the following response: "I checked with a rehabber here who does deer and she said it may have stuck its nose in a bees' nest or, out west, been bitten by a snake.  Other problems with fawns normally affect the jaw farther back."

    Not sure where you are located, but hope this little bit of info helps explain what could have happened to this little one.

  2. Thanks, Pam. We do live in the west, near Oakland, California, USA. Hopefully it is only a bee sting and not a rattle snake bite. What other problems effect a fawn's jaw?

  3. We saw the fawns again today, and the nose is no longer swollen. A local wildlife vet looked at the photos and agreed it was most likely a bee sting. I guess the fawn is going to be OK.