FAWN

Two whitetail deer fawns cavort on a lawn at the intersection of Robiious Crossing and Robys Way in Chesterfield County, VA Friday, June 3, 2011.

Bambi and his family are cute — until they eat your expensive landscaping plants, terrorize your dog and more. Now that it’s springtime and the likelihood of seeing more deer, particularly in suburbia, is higher, here are five tips to consider when it comes to living with one of Mother Nature’s creatures.

1 Deer eat 6 to 10 pounds of food daily, including the leaves off your plants and bark off your trees. Some plants are less susceptible to becoming dinner, though, including hellebores, ornamental grasses, catmint, yarrow, and some thorny varieties, though roses are an exception.

2 Deer often carry ticks that transmit diseases, such as Lyme disease and brucellosis, a bacterial infection that causes muscle pain and profuse sweating.

3 Don’t feed deer — ever. Luring them toward your home only increases the chances of them spreading diseases, desecrating your yard and potentially doing harm to your pets.

4 Need another reason to keep deer out of the backyard? They are often prey for other animals, such as coyotes and bobcats, which aren’t afraid to attack family members or pets in their search for food.

5 Fences — electric, in some cases — are the best way to keep deer off your property, but when that fails, deer repellents can be a practical solution. Look for those that are safe around sensitive plants, children and pets, and are waterproof.

— Holly Prestidge

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