If you’ve ever walked through your backyard and heard a soft crunch underneath your step, you might think nothing of it.
However, as you look down, you’ll notice that it’s some sort of hunch of a hill and upon further inspection, you’ve realized that there are baby rabbits squirming underneath as you dig into the foliage.
At this moment, a certain weight falls on your shoulder. Could it be?
Did you step on a rabbit’s nest? Here’s what to do
I’ve known this all too well because we have a ton of wild rabbits in our backyard. Here’s what you should do if you find yourself accidentally stepping on a rabbit’s nest.
Step 1: Check the babies
The first thing you need to do is look at the babies that are in the nest. Do not move them or pick them up, but give them a visual once over to see if there is any obvious injury to the babies that are in the nest.
Step 2: Repair the nest
After a visual inspection of the bunnies, you should do all you can to repair the nest and put it back the way that it was before it was disturbed. You should not add anything to it or add any extra items to the nest, but do work to make sure that you are putting things back the way that they were before it was disturbed.
Step 3: Mark the nest
Then, you need to mark the nest so that you know where it is. This will also help you determine if the mother has come back. You can put a ring of flour around the den to see if the line is crossed and to see if the mother has come back. This will not disturb the bunnies and it will let you know where the nest is and will help you to determine if the nest has been revisited.
Step 4: Contact an expert
The last thing that you should do is to contact an expert. If the nest is not disturbed and there is no activity to indicate that the mother has come back, you should contact a professional that can come and take the babies and raise them until they can be set out into the wild. Bunnies do need a very specific diet and do have to have special care so a professional is going to be your best bet if you are able to determine that the babies have been abandoned.
What to do if the baby bunny is injured?
If you look into a nest that has been disturbed and you find that the bunny has been injured, you should contact a wildlife expert. The odds that you are going to be able to care for it and bring it back to good health are slim. Professional care is the best way to go.
How to resuscitate a baby bunny?
If you find that the bunnies are not moving or that they appear to be in distress, you can resuscitate them. A hairdryer is a great way to help them warm up and to encourage them to move again.
Set it on the lowest heat setting and gently blow on them to encourage movement. Be careful not to overheat the babies.
A gentle warm breeze can help wake the baby bunny and provide it with more air to breathe.
Where can a rabbit’s nest be found, what do they look like?
A rabbit den is going to be very well disguised. They are often located in very tall grass, gardens, and shrubs. They are hard to spot and they may not even be detectable to the human eye. They appear as a slight mound or a slightly disturbed area of grass.
It’s very hard to identify a rabbit’s nest. The rabbits usually do a good job of keeping it hidden.
My advice is if you’re ever in a heavily wooded area or even your own backyard, take light steps and look out for any discolorations and small foliage on the ground.
When mother rabbits leave their nests, they will likely bury their babies inside the nest with even more dirt and leaves. If you see something like this, it could likely be a live rabbit’s nest.
Should I move or touch a rabbit nest?
If you can avoid it, you should not touch a rabbit’s nest at all. This can disturb the babies, it may scare off the mother, and it can injure the babies as well. You should avoid moving or touching a rabbit nest and if you do find one and feel that it needs to be moved, contacting a professional wildlife expert is highly advised.
Will a rabbit abandon its babies if they are touched?
A mother rabbit will not abandon her babies if you touch them, but they may be scared of the nest if it is badly disturbed. They may also not come back if they fear you have moved their babies or if they find that they are injured. Baby rabbits will only flee a nest that has been disturbed if they are old enough. They will come back so that their mother can take care of them.
How to tell if the nest is abandoned?
If you feel that the nest is abandoned, you should watch to see if the mother comes back. If you put a ring of flour around it and it does not look disturbed, you should contact a professional wildlife rehabilitator to help move the babies and take them to a safe place.
What can I do if I don’t think the mother rabbit is coming back?
If you believe that the mother is not coming back, you should watch the nest until you can get a wildlife expert or wildlife rehab center to come and pick the babies up and take them to raise and properly care for.
What can you do to help baby rabbits in a nest?
Your options are pretty limited when thinking about what you can do to help baby rabbits.
You can keep them warm and bring them inside until you can get them to an appropriate core temperature of 60 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit if you are sure that the mother is gone.
Sometimes, a broken nest may leave baby rabbits vulnerable to the cold weather. In this case, if you ever find a baby rabbit shivering or not responding well, a heating pad can be a lifesaver. Wrap the pad with a towel or blanket and set it at its lowest setting to avoid burning the baby rabbits.
Warm the rabbits within the heating pad and then put them back in the nest and secure the nest as much as you can.
You cannot feed them, as they need more than just milk to survive. Rabbit’s eyes open about 6 to 7 days after birth and they can start eating things like alfalfa pellets, hay, veggies like carrots and some greens.
What can I do to prevent this accident in the future?
The only way you can prevent this issue is to inspect the area where you will be walking before you walk there. If you notice a mother rabbit is hanging around a specific area, avoid it. Let the mother rabbit come back on her own.
If you suspect that there might be a rabbit den, you can inspect that area and see if you can see a nest.
Your best option is to make sure you watch your step when traveling through really high grassy areas. And if you can identify a nest, try to mark it with something obvious so that you and other people can tell that there’s something to avoid in that area.
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