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Yep, it's that time of year in Ohio ... lots and lots ... and lots of baby wild bunnies running all over the place. Last night, my DH scared 5 from a tiny den in our front yard, of all places. The mom was nowhere to be seen, although I'd spotted her a couple of days ago in the yard next to ours. Our neighborhood has always hosted wildlife so it's fun to watch.

But you have to picture my DH, all 6'2" 260 lbs. of him, running around scooping up these little critters. What a scream! He managed to rescue 3 of the 5. We made a quiet, dark, warm place for them in an empty copypaper box, found some chunks of soft terrycloth to warm them, and left them alone in the dark to calm down.

This morning I called the Brukner Nature Center in Troy (Ohio) and asked for help. What an education! It turns out that we didn't need to rescue them. They were on their own anyway! The momma rabbit only tends her young for two weeks, and by that time they can fend for themselves. Boy, don't you Moms wish for that short a time of responsibility!?!

Anyway, once they reach 3 to 4 inches in length, their eyes are open and they can hold their ears upright, they're basically ready for life on their own. The real problem in rescuing baby rabbits is that they do not respond well to the stress of new environments, handling, etc. Apparently, most do not survive peoples' attempts to rescue them.
These little guys and gals, however, meet the requirements, so as soon as it gets a bit warmer, I 'll take them to the place we found them and release them.

They actually ate the lettuce leaves and shredded carrot I put in the box last night, so I know they can forage and keep themselves fed. And their little squeaks are way too attractive to our cat, so ....
And, to be honest, with domestic critters to clean up after, I didn't relish adding rabbit poo to the list. They sure are cute, though, and we learned a lot about them. Isn't nature something?

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Comment by Janet S. - MO on June 5, 2009 at 8:56pm
A bunny wrangler and in OH yet! Our zoo has a place where you can take rescued critters and they have foster families that specialize in that species, etc to raise them and then release them into the wild. Have taken a few baby birds there. Hope they do well. We keep looking for them around here and rarely see any.....which is amazing as we're a little in the country and have some land. Sure they're around but just don't see their little faces. Have a great weekend!
Comment by Joana Simmers/GA on June 5, 2009 at 4:10pm
Schatze--you must add that to your "Why I Married Him" list. The kind of man who would go to that trouble is definitely a keeper. We have many little bunnies living in the hedges on the edge of our neighborhood, as well as a large flock of wild turkeys which are out and about everyday except during hunting season. My son attends a large university and lives in an intown apartment a 20 minute walk from the main part of campus--he watched a large family of bunnies that lived in an old culvert. I find it very comforting that these creatures are all around us, even in the city, if we just take time to look around.
Comment by Edith Lean/Ont. on June 5, 2009 at 10:15am
I too can just picture that big guy chasing down those itty bitty bunnies LOL. I think my racoon has moved on to a more desirable place after DH and son went poking around under the mudroom where it was trying to set up housekeeping. Now to get the urine smell that seems to be permeating my basement. yuck.
Comment by Cheryl / NC on June 5, 2009 at 9:49am
Schatze, I can just picture a guy that size running around the yard scooping up baby bunnies! How funny! The bunnies are used to being out in the cold and are much more accustomed to it than you or I would be. My neighbor is a wildlife rehabilitation specialist and I have helped her out on occasion so I'm going to give you some advice. Put the bunnies back outside immediately. If you keep them warm for more than a day or two they will lose their ability to regulate their own body temperature and become cold too easily once they are outside. Rabbits will also become domesticated quickly to someone providing their food and lettuce and carrots can actually cause severe digestive distress if they have it for to long. (Not enough fibrous food and lack of free space to run will block up their system within a week and they can die from that quickly) The green carrot tops or fresh Kale from the grocery store is MUCH better for their tummies if you plan on feeding them for more than a day or two. Wild bunnies are pretty sensitive critters, if you are worried about them tuck a small box with a hole cut out of the side under a safe bush in your yard and fill it with grass with all of them in it. They will take comfort in one another and keep each other warm, yet still have a safe place until they feel ready to venture out. Chances are good you will see them around your yard for several years because they don't tend to venture very far from their birthplace. I don't mean to sound like a know it all, but I've had rabbits as pets and helped with rehabilitation of wild ones often enough that I know how quickly things can change with bunnies, especially little ones, their best hope for survival is to be put back outside close to where you found them as quickly as possible. I hope this helps. Let me know how you make out with your little guests! Good luck!
Comment by Francine/Cda on June 5, 2009 at 9:30am
yes I think I can picture your husband - could see mine too..... - I guess that is why mom rabbits gets pregnant so often - they don't have to tend to the others........... nice to learn thank you
Comment by Carol Wadkins on June 5, 2009 at 7:56am
I never realized that the Mom only has them with her for two weeks. I wonder if she gets lonely once they are gone. Guess that doesn't happen, since it seems they have them pretty often!
Thanks for the lesson in nature, that was very interesting!
Have a great day!
Carol

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