Don't Kidnap Me I May be Just Fine...
Common problems: domestic pet attacks, lawn mowing accidents, kidnappings, and flooding.
Cotton Tails can have anywhere from 2-8 babies, sometimes up to 10 called kits. The nest is usually a shallow divot in the ground lined with grass and the mother’s fur. If you come across a nest don’t be surprised if you DON’T see mom around. Wild rabbits protect their young by staying away.
To Prevent Kidnapping
Mom is not always visible.
If you come across a nest don’t be surprised if you DON’T see mom around. Wild rabbits protect their young by staying away. Bunnies are born without a scent, so they are not easily detected by predators. The mother only comes back to the nest to feed when she feels it is safe to do so. Usually at dawn and dusk however, she may be spotted during the day as well. When feeding she quickly uncovers the nest and lays across giving the kits a chance to nurse then she quickly covers the nest back up and leaves.
Bunnies are self-sufficient.
Baby bunnies that can leave the nest are commonly spotted. They can do so at about 2- 3 weeks of age. They appear very small and friendly but are in fact self-sufficient and in most cases will let you walk right up to them. These bunnies are in a learning stage and have not yet developed their “fight or flight” instincts and will instead freeze as opposed to running. This can cause serious concern for some finders but in fact the bunny/s are just fine.
Mom Does not relocate her young.
Cotton Tails do not relocate their young not another nest site. In addition if you were to move the nest even with the best of intentions mom will not tend to it and will abandon her young.
Is the nest abandoned?
Some good indication are:
Bunnies are on the out skirts of the nest, not inside.
Bunnies look very skinny.
Some look wounded.
There are dead bunnies in or around the nest.
Nest is not intact.
Flies on or around bunnies.
STILL NOT SURE DO A STRING TEST
Do this by making an X over the entire nest using a piece of string, yarn or two thin twigs. If the mother is coming back to feed the X will be disturbed within a 12–24-hour period. If the X is still intact and in the same position as you left it, this is a good indication the nest has been abandoned.
Bunnies Need Help What Now?
If necessary, to rescue the bunnies. Wearing gloves, or using a towel, broom or something that will not cause injury to them gently nudge the babies into a box or container.
The box should be:
Covered to prevent escape and additional injuries such as a fall.
Ventilated so they can breathe.
Lined with a soft cloth such as a T-shirt, pillowcase, or towel to help keep them warm and provide a sense of security.
Do not use anything with loose strings or holes as this can cause loss of circulation or strangulation.
Rice Sock-You can do this by filling a sock with rice and microwave for approximately 30 seconds to a minute depending on your microwave. Please make sure that the rice sock is not too hot and will not burn the bunnies.
Heating Pad- Set on low under half the container (make sure it does not have auto shut off).
Baby wildlife cannot regulate their own body temperature and need a supplement heat source. If the wildlife becomes cold this can cause their system to start shutting down and possibly preventing us from saving them.
Keep the wildlife you found in a quiet area away from children, pets and loud noises. This is important loud noises and activity can cause extreme stress to a wildlife and in some cases death.