Rabbit mothers will travel up leaps and bounds to protect their young against predators. In the wild, rabbits will sometimes bury their babies alive which no other animal species actually does.
So the question begs, why do rabbits bury their own babies?
Rabbits don’t “bury” their young. They just cover up the entrance which prevents predators from finding her babies. Since baby rabbits don’t produce any distinct smells the mother rabbit stays as far away from them as she can to avoid leading predators to her nest.
The only time she’ll come back is to feed them at least once a day. In doing this, you might find rabbits to be pretty clever, however, this isn’t the only story. Rabbits have a huge arsenal of strategies under their sleeves.
Let’s go into the details.
Why do rabbits bury their young?
At least once a day the mother rabbit is going to need to venture out to find food for both herself and her babies.
Right after she leaves her nest, she will often kick grass, leaves, and vegetation over her kittens to bury them under the ground.
Rest assured, this is merely a method to promote survival in the wild, namely a way to cover themselves from predators. But it also has a lot of other added benefits.
If it is a cold season, the coverage will help keep the babies warm. If it’s a hot and sunny day, it will protect them from the Sun.
Baby rabbits are extremely delicate at the stage in life. Keeping them underground and covered up helps regulate the temperature to their environment.
And not only does it prevents predators like foxes and larger predator birds from finding the nest, it will also helps mask the smell of the nest.
How do baby rabbits breathe after being buried
Fortunately for the baby rabbits, breathing will not be an issue if the mother buries them underground.
What the mother actually does is that she softly covers the hole. She doesn’t pack it up or anything like that.
The soil will have tiny pockets that will allow air to flow in and out.
It also muffles sound, and masks any other particular smells all together. And this is what keeps predators from finding the nest.
How often does the mother rabbit come back
The mother will be gone sometimes as long as a full day. She will only be coming back to feed her children quickly, and then reburying them back again.
Why doesn’t the mother rabbit stay longer and why is she always leaving?
The mother doesn’t want to stay too long due to the fact that adult rabbits do have distinct odors that may attract predators.
An interesting fact is that baby rabbits virtually have no odor that’s detectable to most predators.
The theory is, that the mother rabbit knows that if she stays longer than she needs, her scent will be passed on to the nest or her baby rabbits and with us endanger her kittens.
Rabbits strategically build their nests in the open
The surprising thing about rabbits and where they nest is that you’ll sometimes find their nests in the middle of your lawn. Why do rabbits build their nest in what seems like an open space?
There’s a theory that assumes rabbits cleverly know that their predators will tend to avoid areas where there are humans and pets. Building your nesting area close by or within an open space like a human’s residential backyard may be the best way to deter the predators from coming.
Because of this, there is a likely chance that you will find a rabbit’s nest full of babies in it if you live in a rural area where rabbits populate.
It’s pretty clever I might say. Since the smell of humans may scare off their predators, why not just build your nest around the predators of your predators?
It’s the old saying of the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Rabbits also built their nest into a maze
Another interesting fact about the nests that rabbits build are that there isn’t just one entrance.
In fact the boroughs consist of many, many tunnels with several entrances in exits for quick escapes.
The complexity of these tunnels even had play an effective method of giving the rabbits time to runaway and not get trapped.
What happens if you find a rabbit nest?
Since rabbits do oftentimes build their nests within the property of where humans reside, there’s a likely chance that you might run into a rabbit’s nest full of baby rabbits.
Here are some things that you must know.
- Leave the nest alone. Do not take it upon yourself to touch any of the babies in the nest or move the nest. If the mother rabbit finds a different scent on the babies there is a possibility that she will abandon them.
- If you accidentally kicked into the nest or damaged it, check to see if any of the babies were injured. If you did find that any of the babies were injured, please call the local wildlife services department for advice.
- If no rabbit is injured, and you’ve accidentally opened the nest entrance, gently kick the surrounding dirt and leaves back over it. Try to avoid using your hands due to the smell of your skin.
- Don’t worry if you don’t see the mother coming back, mother rabbits will usually only come back once a day to feed her young.
- If you’re afraid that you or someone else might disturb the nest, make a sign and place it close to where the nest is signaling humans to avoid this area.
The bottom line
Rabbits are incredibly fragile creatures. The life of a rabbit is hard.
They’re pretty much prey to almost every other larger animal in the wild.
As an evolutionary development, rabbits have to evolve to become smarter and to find ways to elude anything that tries to kill them.
Burying their young underground and visiting them as little as possible has proven to help with their species survivability.
Everything from masking the scent, to regulating temperature, to building the nest in the least obvious places, rabbits have grown to become survivors in the wild.
How long do babies stay in their burrow?
Baby rabbits begin to open their eyes, extend their ears and hop around 3 months after birth. It is here where they begin to leave their nest and gradually move out on their own.
What do mother rabbits do with dead babies in the nest?
You will find that mother rabbits will eat their dead babies or try to get rid of the body. A dead body in the nest will create a foul odor that will attract predators. The mother rabbit will ultimately do what it takes to remove the dead rabbit.
How do you tell how old a baby rabbit is?
An easy indication to find out how old a baby rabbit is is by looking at how far developed its eyes are. Baby rabbits open their eyes around 10 days after birth. If you observe them being small, and walk in a less confident manner, then it’s most likely about 10 to 14 days old.
Do rabbits get sad when their babies die?
Through lots of studies, there’s no reason to determine that rabbits feel sad when their babies die. However rabbits are capable of feeling sadness and grief when they are faced with the loss of a partner rabbit.
How many baby rabbits a mother rabbit half?
Pregnant rabbits can have up to 15 babies but the average number of babies is usually around seven. A group of these babies are usually known as kittens.
How long do baby rabbits in the wild stay in their nests?
Baby rabbits will often times leave their nests once they turn 3 weeks old. They will be about the size of a squirrel at this time. Their eyes will be completely open, their ears will be extended out, and they will have the ability to hop.
Will the mother rabbit kill or abandon her nest if you touch her rabbits?
It’s actually rare for the mother rabbit to kill or abandon her nest if she finds human scent on her baby rabbits. Try to avoid touching the rabbits again and try to put back the rabbit’s nest as accurately as it was before.
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