This loving mother's rescue of her little baby shows why sometimes the best thing you can do for a wild animal is nothing at all.
Photographer Brian McMahon spotted a baby squirrel on the ground earlier this month. The tiny bundle had likely fallen out of his nest, McMahon wrote in the Facebook group Long Island Wildlife.
As McMahon watched, the little squirrel feebly pulled himself along a few inches. His eyes were still shut. While most people would have rushed to help, McMahon wisely decided to watch and wait.
Sure enough, within half an hour the squirrel's mother ran up to her fallen baby, scooping him up with her mouth and holding him tightly with her little paws.
Running to a nearby tree, she quickly carried her precious baby back home and placed him safely back in his nest.
This touching story is the perfect reminder of why you shouldn't interact with unattended babies unless you're certain they're orphans or they appear injured. Each spring, wildlife rescues are flooded with thousands of young animals - but many of these wild babies were never in need of help and were "kidnapped" by overzealous passers-by who take the animals before their parents can reclaim them.
"Mother wild animals are usually great parents," the HAWK Center, an Arkansas wildlife rescue, wrote on Facebook when sharing the pictures. "We just need to remember to give the parents the time and space they need."
If you find a baby in need of help, it's always best to contact your local wildlife center before proceeding.