It is Child Rabbit Season, Wildlife Specialists Say ‘Examine Your Yard’

STAMFORD — The yard grass was excessive when Glenn Harper mowed it, so he was not stunned, after he completed, to discover a clump.

Harper assumed {that a} glob of grass cuttings had fallen from the mower blades.

However when he bent to select it up, it moved. 

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“I lifted away some of the dried grass and I saw a bunch of baby bunnies,” the Stamford man stated. 

Newborns. Eyes closed. Rounded ears going through backwards. Barely any fur.

“I thought, ‘The mama rabbit had all this tall grass to give cover to her nest and now I have uncovered it,’” Harper stated. “My concern was that, because I mowed everything, it wasn’t a good nest anymore, and the mama rabbit would abandon it.”

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She wouldn’t, Harper realized after some on-line analysis turned up an article in Scientific American journal. It’s not going a mom will abandon her nest except one thing occurs to her, the article stated. 

“It said to put sprigs in a crisscross pattern across the nest, and  go back later to see if the pattern was disturbed. That would mean the mama was there,” Harper stated. “I did that and saw that it got messed up, and then in the morning I saw the mama at the nest.”

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A rabbit’s nest in a shallow despair (Picture contributed by Deborah Galle)

Mom rabbits know one thing people don’t – her infants make no noise and haven’t any scent, and are much less more likely to appeal to predators in the event that they keep within the nest, stated Deborah Galle, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator and board member of the Connecticut Wildlife Rehabilitators Affiliation.

“Wild moms are good moms,” Galle stated. “If she is alive and able to get to her babies, she will. If something spooks her, she may hang back because she doesn’t want to bring predators to the nest. But even if she is spooked, she will keep trying.”

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Rabbits frighten simply as a result of they’re a prey species, Galle stated. Within the wild, animals with eyes on the aspect of the pinnacle, like rabbits, are prey. Animals with eyes in entrance, like coyotes, are predators.

“Everything eats rabbits, so they are very, very skittish,” Galle stated. “They are a major food source in the wild.”

It’s why rabbits reproduce so shortly, she stated. Females give beginning from March to September to litters that vary from two to 10 bunnies. The gestation interval is 30 days, so the feminine can have a litter each couple of months.

The scale of a rabbit that’s virtually weaned (Picture contributed by Deborah Galle)

She cares for the infants for 2 to 3 weeks, Galle stated, after which they’re on their very own.

“At that point they have fur and look like full-fledged rabbits, only mini – about the size of a tennis ball,” Galle stated. “People see them and think they need help, but they don’t. Unless they are injured, they are better off on their own.”

Effectively-meaning people usually hurt bunnies, Galle stated, which is why the Connecticut Wildlife Rehabilitators Affiliation has a website to elucidate the methods of the rabbit and different wild animals.

The worst factor people do is take newborns from a nest, Galle stated. Often it’s as a result of they don’t see the mom, however she’s there, Galle stated.

“She comes to nurse the babies at dusk and at dawn,” Galle stated.  “She has her own kind of GPS locator, so if the topography changes and the nest area looks really different, she might be off. That’s why you shouldn’t move the nest or put anything on top of it.”

The second worst factor is to feed bunnies, she stated.

“Babies have to be hydrated close to 100 percent when they’re fed, otherwise they can’t digest. A rabbit’s temperature is 102 degrees, and if they are fed when they aren’t warm enough, they will die, because they can’t metabolize the food,” Galle stated. “If you don’t stimulate them to urinate, as the mom does, the bladder can rupture and the baby must be euthanized. People use droppers to feed them milk, but the fluid goes into their lungs and kills them.”

At their fuzzy tennis ball stage, bunnies don’t but know sufficient to run, Galle stated.

“They’ll freeze and pray you don’t see them,” Galle stated. “If they are in the street or somewhere there is danger, push them under a bush, then leave them alone.”

Rabbits are so frightened of predators that they’ll die of fright, Galle stated.

“When you are treating a raccoon or a squirrel, you can hold them tightly, but you can’t do that with rabbits. To them it’s like being in a predator’s grip. They’re terrified,” Galle stated. “You can’t confine them. You give them the autonomy or control that makes them feel secure.”

The scale of a completely weaned rabbit (Picture contributed by Deborah Galle)

Wildlife rehabilitators like Galle are state-appointed and strictly volunteer – they don’t seem to be paid for his or her work or reimbursed for meals and provides they use to deal with animals earlier than releasing them again into the wild. To be licensed, they have to full an apprenticeship and coaching, and cross an examination.

Every rehabilitator works with a veterinarian.

Many individuals need to assist however don’t understand how, Galle stated. Members of her affiliation placed on their web site an inventory of rehabilitators who could possibly assist when folks discover sick or injured animals.

“You can leave us a message that you found a baby rabbit or squirrel or bird or other animal, along with your name and phone number and the town where you live, and we will post your request to rehabilitators who live nearby,” Galle stated.

Examine the web site for data on co-existing with wild animals, she stated. One tip is to stroll your garden earlier than you mow to examine for rabbits’ nests.

“I have had grown men call me in tears because they killed four baby rabbits with a lawnmower,” Galle stated. 

Harper stated he’s seen loads of rabbits in his Stamford yard, however by no means a nest. He’s glad the bunnies are OK.

“It’s somewhat secure back there, and the mama seems to be taking good care of them,” he stated.

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