Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Unexpected

Our paths often cross with those of the wildlife out here, most frequently the cottontails. We have learned to watch out for the wildlife and consider them whenever we are working on the property. If Brad is mowing he is always to watching the ground (no daydreaming on the riding lawnmower). The pre-mowing preparations of the bunny yard take time and effort and we carefully inspect the 80' x 120' perimeter of the bunny yard looking for nests, taking extra care around the high places. We have noticed that momma cottontails seem to choose high ground. What I found this morning really surprised me and I thought I would share the pictures I took. Please note in the picture the items that Brad placed back along the fence after he mowed Sunday. I picked up the quilt that is laying on the ground with the intentions of putting it in the wash. I changed my mind when I saw what was under it. There were baby cottontails there - newborns. Momma hadn't dug a hole, no doubt because the ground is so parched it is too hard to dig. But she pulled a great deal of her hair for the nest and then pulled the quilt over it. We will be able to tell who momma is. She will be the one with large bald spots. I took a few pictures of the babies and placed the quilt back. The conditions are harsh out in the plains but momma is a resourceful one. I am already fretting about all the things that might happen to the babies but I must not move them. Even though they are so vulnerable where they are they have a better chance than they wouldwith human intervention. The wildlife experts tell us even they have a low success rate with the baby cottontails and they have the milk that is formulated especially for cottontails. Please check the House Rabbit Society's website http://www.rabbit.org/. concerning what to do if you encounter baby cottontails. Everyone please say prayers for the three babies under the quilt. The new momma could use a little help in the next 3 weeks.


Blogger Layla said...

Awwww! That is so sweet. Hopefully this weather passing over now will water things up a bit. I wonder if there's a discreet way to leave some water nearby for momma?

Thanks for sharing the pictures!

2:19 PM  
Blogger Layla said...

I love their little tiny ears!

2:20 PM  
Blogger Murph's mom said...

Hi Layla, I used to try to leave provisions out for the cottontails but found that I was attracting rats by doing that, not to mention raccoon, opossum,etc. They are a very great threat to little ones like these. I do leave bowls of water up by the house for the birds but I have never noticed cottontails helping themselves to it. I have read that cottontails rarely drink water, that they rely on the moisture in the vegetation. Makes sense because water is not available in open prairie but it has cottontails nonetheless. What have you heard?

2:43 PM  
Blogger Lindsay said...

So precious! What sweet babies. I wish them all the best in the harsh climate. Thanks for sharing!

10:07 PM  
Blogger veganelder said...

Murph's Mom, you may want to consider adding the title "Rabbit Whisperer" to your credentials. Even the cottontails know where to come for care, respect and consideration. Thanks on behalf of the wild ones.

5:18 AM  
Blogger bunnygirl said...

Good luck to them! With so many good wishes going their way, I can't imagine anything but a good outcome.

7:14 AM  
Blogger Layla said...

Honestly I don't know anything about cottontails. I just thought it looks really dry out there, & water is probably the hardest thing for momma to find right now. Keep us posted on how the babies are doing!

Whether you're a rabbit or a human, kids make you lose your hair one way or another! :)

11:23 AM  
Blogger Murph's mom said...

Thank you Lindsay and Bunnygirl for the good wishes.

Veganelder the babies in the nest in the middle yard are now startling at the sound of my footsteps. Whispering may just send them into a panic.

Too funny Layla, and true.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Michelle May said...

Oh those precious little babies. Sending lots of prayers for their survival.

3:14 PM  
Anonymous Michelle Miller said...

On behalf of all the critter lovers, thanks for sharing this story and the pics. They are absolutely precious. Many of us are praying for continued positive updates on their status. thanks again for sharing and bringing a warm smile to us.

5:39 PM  
Blogger Annette F Tait said...

wishing and hoping that the babies and the mother do well!
the quilt will keep them warm at night and cool from the sun during the day (hopefully?)
What a resourceful mama :)
ps Arabella and Wesley wanted to know - does she like carrots??

7:31 PM  
Blogger Murph's mom said...

Michelle, Michelle and Annette, thank you for your sweet thoughts and your prayers. I just came in from the bunny yard. It is not daylight yet but I could see the shadows of cottontails of various sizes out there. There is safety in numbers. Annette, please tell Arabella and Wesley that I'm not sure about the carrot question. I wish we could leave food out for the cottontails but when we've done that in the past we got critters that we don't want.

4:18 AM  
Blogger Herman said...

Amazing stuff, there.

1:52 AM  
Anonymous Krissa said...

Gosh. As worried as you are, can you just imagine being Mama? How are they doing now? I only just found your blog through SIToGV and Veganelder. So I'm kind of behind times! I hope those precious little ones are ok.

4:01 AM  
Blogger Layla said...

Yes, Jeannie, can we get an update on how the babies are doing?


2:55 PM  
Blogger Murph's mom said...

Krissa and Layla,their whereabouts is unknown. We have had a storm here and the nest is vacated. Someone told me that the mom moved them. But i have also been told that the plains cottontails don't move their babies. I bet they don't place their babies on top of the ground and cover them with a blanket either, but that momma did. If anybody could keep them safe I'd think it would be her.I choose to hang onto that thought. Thank you ladies for asking about them.

7:20 PM  
Anonymous Krissa said...

I'll choose to hang on to that thought, too. She did seem to be a very resourceful Mama. And maybe because of how much their natural world has changed, they will over time change their own ways out of necessity. So probably she did move them. The other thing that makes me think there's a good chance they are ok is that I know from horrible experience that if anything bad would have happened, it's likely you would have heard it. :( Yeah, I think there's a good chance she moved them. I really do.

5:42 AM  
Blogger Layla said...

If I were her, I would have dug a nice safe burrow for them when the rain softened the ground up. Then, move them there & tuck them in cozy and warm together. So that's what i'm going to assume. Thank you for the update and the kind thoughts.

6:35 AM  

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