What to do if you find a baby bunny - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-09-2003, 10:12 AM Thread Starter
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What to do if you find a baby bunny

What You Should Know!

Rabbit Nest Description

Wild cottontail rabbits "nest" in shallow holes dug in the ground by the mother rabbit. Nests are often found in peopleís lawns, gardens or shrubs. The mother rabbit lines the shallow hole with fur pulled from her body and covers it and her babies with a mixture of dry grass and twigs to hide it from predators.

How A Mother Rabbit Feeds Her Babies

The mother rabbit feeds her babies 2 to 3 times a day. Once before early morning (dawn) and a couple of times right after it gets dark (dusk). She squats over the top of the nest so the babies can reach up and nurse her milk.

The mother rabbit does NOT continually sit on the nest or stay with the baby bunnies. Doing so would signal carnivorous (meat eating) birds and animals (like owls and fox) as to where her babies are living. By staying away from the nest, it protects them.

Problems for Rabbits

Because many rabbits nest in yards, they are likely to get run over with lawnmowers, struck by weedwhackers or caught by pet dogs and cats.

What To Do If a Nest is Disturbed

If a nest of baby rabbits is accidentally uncovered by a lawnmower, rake, shovel, or weedwhacker, carefully check to make sure the bunnies are not hurt, cut, or bleeding. If they are NOT hurt, put them back in the nest and cover them up. When putting bunnies back in the nest (especially older ones), they will "pop" up trying to hop. This is normal.

Place two long thin twigs or two pieces of string in an "X" across the top of the nest. Check the nest AFTER the mother has had time to feed them (usually the next day). If the "X" is moved, the mother has uncovered the nest to feed her babies. Now just leave them alone. This may mean mowing around a small patch in the yard for a short time.

If the "X" is NOT moved, then carefully uncover the nest and feel the babies to see if they are warm. If they are still okay, check again after the next feeding time. Be aware that sometimes the babies nurse by pushing straight up through the nest covering and therefore do not disturb the string. The real test is the body temperature and activity of the babies. If they are cold and limp, then they need to be rescued. Remove the babies from the nest. Keep them in a small, dark, covered box with holes punched in the lid. Warm the bunnies by positioning a heating pad, set on LOW, under HALF the box. Other ways to warm the babies are to fill a ziplock bag or rubber glove with warm water and place it in the box, or microwave a dish towel for 25 seconds (only warm enough that you can place the towel over your face) and use that. Do NOT put fresh green grass in the box because the moisture in it will chill them. You may line the box with paper towels. Do NOT pet or handle the bunnies because they stress easily. They may look calm but they are actually just very scared. Do NOT feed the bunnies anything including any kind of milk, water, honey, eggs or homemade formula because their stomachs will not tolerate it. Call a Wildlife Rehabilitator for help as soon as possible.

What to Do for Bunnies That Are Attacked by Pets

If the bunnies are caught by a cat or dog and have been bitten, put them in the warm, dark box (see instructions above) and call a Wildlife Rehabilitator for help. Cats have bacteria (germs) in their mouths that will cause a rabbit to die, usually within 3 days, if left untreated.

Determining Which Bunnies Should Be In The Nest

Bunnies that are pink with little or no fur, with closed eyes, and with ears still flat to their bodies should still be in the nest. Baby rabbits stay in the nest for about 4 weeks. They leave the nest when they are about 4" or 5" long and the white diamond shaped patch of fur on their forehead is almost gone. They will also have fluffy fur, their eyes will be open and their ears will stand up away from their bodies. They will look like tiny adults and are supposed to be on their own without their mother. Leave these bunnies alone unless they are injured.

Touching Baby Bunnies/Misconception

Touching baby bunnies will NOT make the mother abandon (leave) them. This is a common misconception people mistakenly have.

Bunnies that look like the photo below are out of the nest. Their eyes are open, their ears are up and their fur is fluffy. They are about the size of your fist and able to jump quickly.



For more information:
Help ... I found a baby bunny!

Stephanie

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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-13-2003, 09:24 AM
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Wow, thanks for sharing that Jade. I had no idea that the bacteria in a cats mouth would kill a baby bunny. The one cat we had was notorious for getting bunnies. I must've taken 3 bunnies away from him each summer. I thought that if they only had a little wound they would be fine. I usually kept them in the bath tub overnight and turned them loose in the woods the next day. Now I feel bad thinking the poor little buggers were worse off than I thought because of the bacteria in the cat's mouth.


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-13-2004, 04:16 PM
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Thank you very much for the news.......I found baby bunnies in my backyard yesterday but they were fine......I wanted to check under the shed to see if the dogs could get under there but I didnt want to scare them and make them runaway.........baby bunnies are so cute to watch poke their little heads out of the nest and wander around eating dandelions....... ~Heather

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-27-2004, 01:26 AM
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now if only people would listen....
I get calls all day long, especially this time of year..from people who found "abandoned" bunnies. . . you can't tell these people anything though...they want to be heros...rescue the bunnies....hand feed them...keep them as pets....

I think the funniest call, I got from some guy with the thickest redneck accent, who says "Ya'll buy bunnies .... I found em in mah yerd, and they need uh good home now, cause they can't live here."
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-27-2004, 01:59 AM
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I have talked to a lot of people who have told me that they have chased the bunny down to catch it and wanted to know what to do with it now. Let it go!! If it is big enough to recognize you as a threat then it is big enough to be living its little bunny life as it should. (Obviously another "hot spot" from the good old days!)

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-27-2004, 08:02 PM
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You are so right, Exotica. Everybody wants to be a hero when it comes to a wild animal - to a certain point. When they realize that they really have to feed it and take care of it they are ready to hand it off to someone else.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-27-2004, 11:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crittercall
You are so right, Exotica. Everybody wants to be a hero when it comes to a wild animal - to a certain point. When they realize that they really have to feed it and take care of it they are ready to hand it off to someone else.

or if the animal gets ill due to their poor care... 9 times out of 10, they put it back outside...
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