Given that the population of wild rabbits is constantly growing, no wonder the chances of stumbling upon a wild baby bunnies nest are quite high. Today we are going to discuss a little about the wild rabbits, after which we will see what is there to be done when you stumble upon the baby bunnies.
What You Should Know about Wild Rabbits
Where Do They Live?
First, you should know that more than half the rabbits in the world live in North America. If you live there, you have some high chances of stumbling upon them when you least expect it. They can also be found in Southeast Asia, S-W Europe, Japan, Sumatra, South America or Africa. Wild rabbits live anywhere they can dig burrows. This includes moorlands, forests, farmland, woods, meadows, grassland, embankments, cliffs or sand dunes.
How Long Do Rabbits Live?
Most wild rabbits don’t live more than a year. They are active mostly during the night. During the day, they spend their time in the underground. Usually, they rest and pass some dark and soft droppings, which they eat to get more nourishment. After that, they make some hard droppings, but only above ground, to keep the living areas clean.
How Much Do They Reproduce?
Rabbits are famous, in general, for their reproduction rate. A doe can produce in only one year more than 20 babies. When they grow to be a few months old, the babies start reproducing as well. However, this rate is naturally balanced with the deaths caused by diseases, predators, trapping, shooting or road traffic.
What to Do When You Find Baby Bunnies
From March until September, it’s mating season for rabbits. Therefore, you may happen to find lots of rabbits’ nests around or even a random baby bunny from time to time. The first thing you need to know is how to recognize a rabbit nest.
How to Recognize a Wild Rabbit Nest
The Eastern cottontails are the most popular species in the US. The nests they build are made of grass and fur. Most of the times they are placed in grassy areas next to trees or bushes, sometimes even out in the open. It is, in fact, a smart thing, since in this way predators will not venture out into the open and they will be safe. However, the nests can be quite hard to spot. They resemble piles of messy grass, which can be misleading.
Should You Move the Nest?
The first thing to do when finding a wild rabbit nest is to check the babies. If you don’t notice any signs of injury or suffering, then it’s better to leave them alone. Simply cover the nest and move on. You may assume that a nest is abandoned because you don’t see the mother rabbit. However, mother rabbits are quite smart and they come to the nest only to feed the babies. In this way, she won’t attract the attention to it.
If you or your children touch the rabbits, on purpose or by accident, don’t worry. It’s a myth that the mother will reject the babies if they smell like humans. The nest shouldn’t be moved unless you see that it is badly damaged, case in which you should reconstruct it with grass and dirt.
What Do Baby Bunnies Eat?
It’s important to keep in mind that you should touch or take bunnies away only if you notice they are injured. Take care of them only after you’re sure that the mother doesn’t visit the nest anymore. In this case, you should take the bunny inside. The best thing to feed the baby bunny is formula.
They need to eat twice a day, and you can use an eyedropper or a 3 ml syringe. It is recommended to use KMR kitten, either alone or mixed with goat milk (not a low-fat one). You can even add a little bit of probiotic into the milk for them to have a healthy gut flora.
Why You Shouldn’t Keep a Wild Rabbit
After you offer first aid to the baby bunny, make sure you call a rabbit vet or the animal control authorities. They will know best what’s there to be done. Here you have a couple of reasons why you shouldn’t keep the rabbit:
1. It’s stressful for them
Changing the environment is extremely stressful for rabbits. They learn best how to live and to manage on their own out into the wild, so being indoors is not beneficial for them at all. Moreover, they can perceive humans as threats, so you can scare them. Extreme stress can affect baby bunnies and make them sick, so be careful.
2. They don’t live much in captivity
If you want to have a pet rabbit, you should choose a domestic one. Wild rabbits are not used to being in captivity, so keeping them in a shoebox is a bad idea. They won’t survive too much since they can’t develop their necessary skills in captivity. Moreover,
3. They might injure themselves
Since they are wild rabbits, they want to live out in the wild. There have been many cases reported when bunnies hit themselves on walls or doors on purpose. In this way, they try to attract attention to the fact that they want to get out.
4. It can be complicated to take care of them
As we said, they are extremely sensitive. You have to control almost everything, from the temperature to the living conditions, the feeding, any signs of disease or injury etc. Always check up with the animal authorities.
5. It can be illegal
Some states completely forbid growing a wild rabbit. You might want to check if that is the case in your state or country. After all, you don’t want to commit a felony, even if you had the best intentions.
Wild baby bunnies can be very cute and adorable. However, if you happen to stumble upon a nest, try your best not to disturb them. Remember that the nest may not be abandoned, and if they’re not injured, just leave them alone. In a worse case, call for specialized help and don’t let your pets get close to the nest or the bunnies.
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