BOSTON (CBS) – If you happen to come across a baby deer all by itself – leave it alone!

That’s what Massachusetts wildlife officials are stressing amid reports of people finding fawns that they think have been orphaned.

It’s actually normal for mother does to leave their newborn deer alone for about six to eight hours at a time, biologists say. Their instinct is to remain motionless and let danger pass.

A baby deer (Image credit: MassWildlife)

“In probably 95 percent of the cases, they are actually quite safe and being watched over from afar by their adult doe mother,” MassWildlife’s Marion Larson tells WBZ NewsRadio 1030.

If you come across a lone fawn, experts say it’s best to just walk away. A human’s presence could prevent a mother doe from returning to her baby.

It’s illegal to take deer out of the wild, and their best chance for survival is with their mother. If someone does take a fawn, it’s important that it is reunited with its mother within five days.

“People mean well, but they are actually doing more harm than good if they pick them up and try to get help for them,” Larson says.

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