Have you ever noticed a wild animal in your backyard that looked to have weird patches of fur that was different textures and colors? It turns out that's normal for this time of year, and it's okay if they look a little scrawny for the time being as well.
Animals may look a little scrawny and disheveled between winter and summer and it's probably okay.
Indiana Department of Natural Resources recently took to Facebook to share that wild animals go through a period of shedding and weight loss in the months between winter and summer, and they may look a little funny, or even a little sickly, but not to worry, this period of shedding and weightloss is totally normal.
Here's what Indiana DNR said on their Facebook page:
SHEDDING IS NORMAL. As temperatures start to rise, wildlife starts shedding their winter coats much like our pets. This coincides with wildlife losing the weight that they put on before winter. The splotchy patches of fur combined with weight loss may alarm people. This is normal in most wildlife and, in most cases, goes away over time. If the animal is still eating and moving well, there is no cause to worry. However, if you see large numbers of a species in an area behaving oddly with other signs of injury, you can contact a rehabilitator or submit a report to on.IN.gov/sickwildlife.
What does this look like in deer?
I found this video on YouTube that shows a great up-close view of what this looks like in deer. Now, this video shows the deer beginning to get their winter coat, and before they've put on the extra winter pounds. It does a good job of showing how the coats differ though.
So which symptoms are concerning in wild animals?
According to the Indiana DNR's website, things such as roadkill, or wild animals that died of obvious causes like a predator attack etc... do NOT need to be reported. However, there are certain signs of illnesses that the Indiana DNR does want you to report. This is what their website has listed:
- Recurring deaths of animals in the same location over a period of time.
- Individual deer with signs that may indicate chronic wasting disease (CWD), such as emaciation, exhibiting abnormal behavior such as staggering or standing with poor posture, salivating excessively, or carrying their head and ears lower than normal.
- Individual deer with signs that may indicate Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (death in or near water, loss of appetite and wariness, swelling around the head and neck, increased respiration rate, excessive salivation, rosy or bluish color of mouth and tongue).
- Incidents involving threatened or endangered species, regardless of the cause of death or the number of animals involved.