Wild rabbits all over Grey County are having babies and more often than not, people aren’t quite sure what to do when they come across the cute nest of sleepy bunnies. So what should you do?
Wild babies are most often not orphaned! Many people mean well when they contact clinics and the Ministry of Natural Resources after discovering an “abandoned” nest of wild rabbits. Often they wish to “rehabilitate” them with some advice from others. The reality is fewer than 10% of orphaned rabbits survive a week, and the care that people attempt to provide can be illegal, unnecessary, and potentially harmful.
The best thing you can do is put the bunny right back where you found him, in the general area, as the mom will only come back at night to call and find him. Leave the area.
Rabbits hide their nests in plain view, often putting them in the open, sometimes in the middle of the lawn, as well as in brush piles and long grass. If you find a nest that has been disturbed, do all you can to restore and protect it. DO NOT bring it inside. If a dog has discovered the nest, keep your dog away from the area and reconstruct the nest with grasses. If need be, you can move the nest a few feet away where safer. A moved nest should always be covered with string in a tic-tac-toe pattern and monitored to be sure the mother found it and came back to the babies. If you haven’t moved the nest, but still want to make sure mom does her nightly check on her children you can also place the string pattern over top the nest. She will scrabble away the surface area to feed her babies beneath her and then scrabble the earth, grass, leaves, back over the nest to hide it again so it’s pretty easy to see if the string has been disturbed.
If you or anyone you know finds a rabbits nest, leave it be. If you are concerned about the wellbeing of the kits or they are visibly injured, please call a local veterinary office or the MNR before touching to make sure you are doing the right thing.