Tuesday, July 07, 2009

We dont belong with you!

There have been a rash of phone calls of late regarding cottontail babies. Some well meaning people and some not so well meaning but either way lets try and clear up a few things. Cottontails are not like domestic bunnies. They are not our toys nor do we have the right to take them from the nest and try to make them into pets.

Do not assume a cottontail has been abandoned. Momma cottontails do not stay with their babies. Not because they are bad moms but because they are trying to keep from drawing predators to their babies.

Cottontail mothers come and feed their babies in the dark, usually the early hours before dawn. If you want to know if a mom is visiting a nest put something very small on the nest. Maybe a little piece of string or some little twigs. Check to see if it has been disturbed, later in the day. Dont assume because you don't see her, she isn't taking care of her babies.

If you do come accross a baby that needs help or perhaps your dog or cat brings one in, you need to take the bunny to a wildlife rehabilitator. They need special milk that the average person does not have access to. If you try and raise that baby yourself you will more than likely lose them. The mortality rate for cottontails raised by humans is 90%.

Cottontails are extremely sensitive and easily frightened. if you do find a baby whose has been injured or whose mother has been killed and the babies are still in the nest. Put that baby in a box with a snug lid and plenty of air to breathe. Put them in a quiet place in your home where they wont be disturbed by your pets. Do not handle them beyond what is absolutely necessary and do not let your children handle or play with them. If you will notice in the picture above the "scary eyes". Bunnies will remain frozen with fear and can have a heart attack. Of course there are some circumstances when the cottontails require our assistance. Do what instructed above and get them to a wildlife rehabilitator ASAP!
Use some common sense folks. Interfering with wildlife is often more for our benefit than the animals. If you want to help find your local wildlife rehab and contact them. They are the professionals and will know what to do.


Anonymous Lucy said...

Those are some of the CUTEST pictures!

5:28 PM  
Blogger Rabbits' Guy said...

YAy! Well put ...

9:39 PM  

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