Baby bunnies found

seafire1(z7 NJ)April 30, 2006

Hi, I am from the birding sites and wanted to get your advise. I went to fill my flower containers on saturday and dug into the old dirt and scoped out a bunny!!! Yep, 4 baby bunnies!! The dog has been sniffing like crazy and can't seem to find I know what he was looking for!! I got real nervous with the dog in our yard so I put the container of the other side of the fence. I saw a pair of rabbits in the neighbors yard yesterday, but they probably wouldn't approach the nest till after dark. I checked this morning and they are still there. They look alert so I figure mom is still tending to them. We have rabbits in our yard every night that the dog loves to chase, (he never gets even close to them) and there is a conservation easement behind my home so plenty of wildlife around. My question is Did I do the right thing moving the container to the safer side of the fence? I assume the parents figured it was safe where they put them, but I worry that the dog will find them and like I've said...he's been chasing rabits for about a year now.....I want to chenk the nest each day and make sure they are still alert, can I do this if I use gloves? Thanks for any advise.


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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

Put the bunnies back exactly where you found them, and keep the dog away for now. Do not check the nest every day; you will leave a scent trail for mammal predators to follow.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 9:37AM
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seafire1(z7 NJ)

anyone else? My dog HAS to go in our yard.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 11:33AM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

I'm sorry, I thought you wanted advice : )

If your dog has to go in the yard, then the bunnies will be killed by the dog. Can you wait until the bunnies are a little older so they can get away? They need their mother now.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2006 at 4:48PM
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lisa11310(z5 MI) hope this helps.
can you put the dogs on a chain for a few days?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 12:22AM
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seafire1(z7 NJ)

Well, I eyeballed the mother rabbit going into the container on the other side of the fence. I'm VERY glad they are SAFE & being cared for by their mother.


I already knew about a scent trail and carried mint with me when I checked on them and when the one crawled out of the container upon me first finding them, I used gloves to put him back in.

"I'm sorry, I thought you wanted advice : )"

I asked for advice about relocating the nest because of the potential danger to the bunnies. Your initial response DID NOT address my question. It just TOLD me "Put the bunnies back exactly where you found them, and keep the dog away for now". Which was an impossibility.

I consider myself VERY wildlife friendly. When racoons nested under my deck, I did not have the babies reloctaed like the township wanted to do, I waited until the mother moved them along (we had no dog at that time). I have numerous bird feeding stations and baths.

Just a suggestion, but in the future when someone asks for some help, you may try to sugarcoat your responses just a bit. They come across a bit curt on the internet and I hope that was not your attention.

Thanks for the website, problem solved.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 7:53AM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

You put mint on your feet? I must have misunderstood; I thought you carried mint. Yes, making slippers of mint might deter predators, as carrying mint will not not. : ) LOL

I guess when you wrote "...I wanted to get your advice" I thought you wanted "advice." Forgive me for thinking that. I did not realize you wanted your actions reinfored by approval. : ) LOL

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 8:07AM
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seafire1(z7 NJ)

Jeez, I thought I'd give you the benefit of the doubt....

"Just a suggestion, but in the future when someone asks for some help, you may try to sugarcoat your responses just a bit. They come across a bit curt on the internet and I hope that was not your attention."

I guess that was your intention!

And for your info, you can move a nest and have the rabbits return to care for the nest, and i quote:
"I/My Dog/My Cat Destroyed a Rabbit Nest! What Do I Do?

Remake the nest as best you can with grasses, hay, straw in the same place. Nests can be moved to a safer place up TO 10' AWAY from the original site and can be reconstructed if necessary. To make a new nest, dig a shallow hole about 3" deep and put into it as much of the original material as you can recover, including the mother's fur. Add dried grass as needed, and put the young back. Mother rabbits return to the nest to nurse only at night, staying away as much as possible so as not to attract predators. To determine if the mother is returning, create a tic-tac-toe pattern over the nest with straw, grasses or tiny twigs. Wait 24 hours to see if the twigs have been disturbed. She may be able to feed them without moving the twigs much, so double check--If the babies look healthy, are warm, then the mother is coming back. If they are cold, dehydrated, get them to a professional; do not care for them yourself. Please contact a Wildlife Rehabilitator or rabbit vet immediately.

Here is the entire article for anyone else with a similar problem.

Elly, best you stick with animals, OBVIOUSLY you don't know how to converse with Humans.


Here is a link that might be useful: found baby bunnies

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 9:04AM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

: ) Have a nice day. Thanks for your advice. Happy day. LOL.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 6:37PM
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Hi, I really need some advice. And I don't care what advice you give me. My dog ruined a nest yesterday and there were 6 bunnies in there. There eyes were closed but they had fur. there were two sets of two together and then two were farther away on opposite sides of each other. I didn't want to move them to much so I just put them in two groups of three. I didn't put them back into the nest, which I think of a mistake. today I went out there and one of them had died :( the others were moving a lot and one even was starting to walk. I put the five all together (still outside the nest) and put the rabbit hair by them. So my question is, should i put them in the nest? Should I go out there at all anymore? and Is the mom going to come back even though I was by them a lot? Oh I moved the dead one away from the others, and my dog is getting taken out on a leash when he needs to do his business. Sorry this post is so long but PLEASE HELP ME!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 5:54PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

Oh, no. You must feel terrible.

From what I've read and been told (by rabbit rehabbers, and I hope some will speak up here), you should always return the babies to the nest, unless you know for sure the mother has been killed. The mother leaves for long periods of time but does return. But the babies must be in their nest. Mama is "attached' to the nest site, and the babies are safer in there. Out of the nest they are vulnerable to predators, and mama won't feel safe in an exposed situation.

So put them in the nest, unless they are weak and in danger of dying, in which case you want to take them to a wildlife rehabber.

I think it is a general rule with wildlife that their nest is always the best place for babies to be; the mama chooses the safest site, and it is where she is most comfortable.

Please let us know how this goes.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2006 at 10:28PM
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seafire1(z7 NJ)

That's much better...very heartfelt!! LOL

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 12:44PM
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FurryCritterFan(5a WI)

Thanx to a special wildlife angel who alerts me to baby bunny posts.

Please do set those surviving baby bunnies back in the original nest. UNless it is filled w/maggots from flies and crawling with fleas, ticks, parasites, etc. Cover it with grass you can pick from the lawn or any of mom cottontail's original fur-plucked hair. You are doing the right thing by keeping your dog on a leash and closely supervised for the next 3 weeks whenever pooch needs to pee in the yard. If mom cottontail made one nest, there's bound to be more over the next few months. The baby cottontails need =all the help you can give them= to stay safe from predators!! You can click in baby bunnies, baby rabbits, resident bunny, baby rabbit trapped in my yard, on the garden web search list. Also contact me offline. Eyes closed, furred babes are approx. four to six days old. Eyes open at 7-10 days, and they are still super vulnerable. They need mother cottontail desperately or an experienced caring cottontail/wildlife rehabber. elly_ny in her Tues. May 2nd post about mom leaving for long periods so as not to draw a scent or wave a flag for preds, and keeping an eye on the nest to nurse, has valid and helpful advice. thanx to you guys for caring about the little ones ~ and the mom. FCF.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cottontail babes

    Bookmark   May 3, 2006 at 11:13PM
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Thank you very much for all the advice. I regret to say one more died. It was very strange because the next day I went out to check on them and one of them was missing. We checked the surrounding area very thoroughly and a bunny could not be found. Me and my family concluded that the mother must have taken it to a new nest. Then today all the bunnies were gone, completely missing. So my final question is do you think the mom took them to a new home, or do you think something else happened to them? Thank you so much for all the advice, and even though I will miss my little guests its a huge relief knowing I am no longer responsible for the little guys.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 6:02PM
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FurryCritterFan(5a WI)

I suspect a predator consumed them. Mom cottontails don't carry off babies in their mouths like we visualize a dog or cat would. And if they were barely able to hop away to safety?!? [frown] Very probable they became food for a feral, noctural or daytime predator. The list that consumes baby rabbits is lengthy. I hope there'll be another chance to observe young babies move off on their own ~ without being eaten in and near the nest. The chances of all baby cottontails surviving until age 6 months, is slim. Guardian angel wings go to the adult mom, and any successive attempts at raising her youngens. ((Thanks for caring.)) FCF

    Bookmark   May 4, 2006 at 7:41PM
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Seems to be that time of year, my dog found a nest under our porch and took one of the babies into the yard to play with. He didn't bite it but slobbered all over it and then just sat there next to it. I found the nest and returned the bunnie to the other 5 there. Will the mother avid the nest or the one that obviously smells like my dog now? Should I check on them during the day? They had plenty of fur and their eyes were open. Needless to say the dog only goes out on a leash now. Thanks for the advice.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 9:34AM
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FurryCritterFan(5a WI)

Rabbits are self-induced ovulators. Put a male and female rabbit together, unspayed/unneutered, and there's a 99.9% chance babies will appear about 28-31 days later. Truling alarming how quick mating moments occur, and how prolific rabbits are at reproducing.

dennisb, you could see cottontail babes in your yard for *Many more months* depending on where you live. The hormonal thing seems to click on in warmer temps. My first baby patients would appear in March if we had a mild Wisconsin winter, and finally taper off in late August.

Spread the word, Dennisb. I wish more pet-owners would keep their dogs leashed and supervised when they know a cottontail seeks haven in their yard. SPREAD THE WORD. Nice to hear that mom had the nest under your porch. Thank You, thank you, for being responsible and caring and a big dry human kiss to your pooch for just slobbering up the baby and not doing otherwise. Nearly all my rehab intakes were dog attack or cat attack. ONLY a small number were orphaned (mother-hit-by-car), nest disturbed, human interference or predator attack. Dog-attacked youngsters tend to having crushing bone injuries. Or considering your rabbit-kind dog, simply picked up and slobberly soft-mouthed transferred to their human. (Can I hug you again for that?) Cat-attack injuries on the other hand are a 99.9% Death certificate. Liken it to a 3-inch spike driven into the baby, then add the toxic bacteria in cat saliva. It'll poison and kill the innocent baby or juvey within hours. I have pictures to show of cat-scratched and puncture wounded baby cottontails; haven't posted 'em yet. The figures make my husband and I shake our heads in disgust given the number of supposedly animal-caring people who allow their domestic pets/aka cats roam, hunt, and Kill vulnerable babies or wild and domestic rabbits.

My suggestion is to watch the area for a day or so and you can go ahead and check inside the nest (once or minimally) to see if they are huddled together, if mom is in the area. Yup, best to put babybeeler back with the five sibs. I don't know for a fact that she'll boot out that babe b/c it smells like doggy saliva, but all five will smell like your caring canine. She may groom them a bit more.

Furred and eyes open is a hopeful start!

Some breeds like collies do soft-mouth and safely handle babies. Mucho mucho praise to your carnivore canine for his/her safe-carry of the herbivore youngen. Keep us posted.

Our neighborhood has too many #&*@ loose, trespassing cats and I've already seen evidence of destroyed fur-lined nests in the yard.

p.s. thanx to the bunny ladies here, who jump in with advice and alert me to posts on cottontails and babies. Yup, your compassion will help a few more survive. Beeler J from linedgroundsquirrels home page sends love.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 11:07AM
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FurryCritterFan(5a WI)

The beagle attacks usually don't leave survivors. elly_nj's statement on dogs will kill if they find the nest is Right On!

The personal story of an acquaintances' neighbor who hand-plucked youngens from the nest, and took demented pleasure in tossing the babes to the big labrador's mouth to be gulped down alive.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 11:36AM
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Well I saw an adult rabbit in my yard last evening which I thought was encouraging, so this morning I went under to check the nest and they are all gone. No sign of an attack or anything, all six just gone. The were large enough to hop when I returned the one, I know I read the mother won't move the nest but I would think if something got to them there would be some hair or something to show a sign of struggle. Hopefully they were just old enough to follow the mother away to the woods or something. Thanks for the response.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2006 at 11:16AM
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HELP! My dog found a baby bunny tonight. It's definitely not in the nest anymore, but still young. I found two small wounds on it's back legs. It seems to be breathing normally, but can't stand up. The legs move and ears twitch. Could it be in shock, or do you think it is dying? It's 9:30 pm and the attack happened about a half hour ago. I don't know of any rescues that are open this late. Is there anything I can do to save this little bunny? Please help!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 9:48PM
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I just found 2 baby bunnies in our front's pretty close to our door (our dog is going out back now) but I feel like it is not a safe zone. I guess the mother thought it was though. We have little kid neighbors who run through our yard all the time. Also my dad wants to mow the yard. I told him no, he said he could mow around them (I'm afraid he would forget or run over them by accident) Would it scare them or the mother away? They still have there eyes close so that would make the very young. What should I do?

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 5:10PM
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goldenecho(Z8 (Waco TX))

Can you tell me more about the scent trail? I didn't know about that. Of course, the baby bunnies I found our by our raised bed which I visit everyday anyways, so the scent trail is always there.

I've seen the bunny hopping around the bed...almost stepped on it one day before it ran off (they hide well).. Today it rained and I saw it out there all soaked and shivering. I came close and it didn't hop away, and then I noticed a snail crawling on it (not kidding)--which gave me a big clue something was wrong. I decided to removed the snail and it still didn't hop away, and I noticed ants by it. I thought maybe it would help to get him somewhere dry and warm but since I know his mom is around and don't know where his nest is, I didn't want to take him where she couldn't find him. I remember finding some bunnies his size in shoes my kids left outside on one cold day, and my youngest just outgrew a pair, so I put the shoe next to him and sort of nudged him into it. As I did I notice his bottom had blood on it. So ang...something may have already gotten to him. I took the shoe about 5 feet away to the other side of the raised bed, away from the ants--and also put something over it to shield the rain (not directly over it so he couldn't get out...but leaning on our raised bed like a lean-to with enough room for the mom to get in.)

So, any advice on what to do now would be appreciated, or what to do differently next time. Cause, bunnies often make nests in our yard so there probably will be a next time.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 7:54PM
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goldenecho(Z8 (Waco TX))

OH gosh...didn't realize this was first posted so long ago. I saw "April 30" on the initial post and so thought this was not that old. Missed the 06 by it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:06PM
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