There's a rabbit nest in my dianthus pot!

axeman(7)June 28, 2005

On my patio, enclosed by my ranch house on three sides, not two feet away from my french doors, in the shade of a container dogwood, a rabbit has built a nest in a 12" clay pot.

I had seen the rabbit wandering around my patio, which I had though strange. I have lots of bunnies all over, but hadn't seen them deep into the patio. I had even seen it munching on the dianthus. I didnt mind since the blooms had faded and I needed to cut it back. I didnt see anything else being eaten so I let things be. Then the other day, as Im watching from my door I see the plants are moving! Not a wind blown kind of moving, but heaving up from below. Then I see a little head with closed eyes poking around from just under the plants.

After a minute of puzzlement - was it a chipmunk, a mouse, alien invaders - I put two and two together and decided it must be baby bunnies.

It doesnt make any sense to me. I have a large yard with a fair amount of shrubs and trees. Rabbits are apparently building nests all over. Why build a nest in a clay pot on the patio? The sight of my two housecats greedily eyeing it from no more then two feet away cannot be a comforting sight to a rabbit. I'm always coming and going through those doors too.

I guess the rabbit knows me since it will eat in the open and barely deigns to move away when I approach. I chased it away from my vegetable garden the other day with a cornstalk in its mouth, which it didn't drop.

Anyway, I watched feeding time today. The rabbit wanders around my group of containers for a while, cats watching closely. Then it hops up on the pot. The little buns crawl out from underneath to feed. I counted 5 or 6, but I couldn't tell since they were crawling over each other the whole time.

After feeding and a bit of cleaning, mom hops off and moves a few feet away to watch and groom herself. The little buns crawl back under my dianthus. Took them about 15 minutes to do so; I thought they'd never fit. Mom hopped back on then, I guess to insepct the nest, and then left.

It doesnt make a lot of sense to me. How could this be a good spot for a nest? Are the little ones going to have to leap the 15" off the top of the pot to the cement? Do they get little parachutes and a crash helmet, or do they bounce real good? Is this a smart bunny or a dumbunny?

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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

I loved reading your post!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 8:39PM
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Yes, me too. Very entertaining story. I would leave the nest where it is, since they will soon be gone anyways. They are only in the nest for about 3 weeks,I believe, then they're mature enough to be on their own. Maybe the mom will use her mouth to help the babies down to the ground, or maybe she is a "dumbbunny" and didn't think this through. In any case, more injures and death to wild animals occur because of human intervention. But if you notice that the babies can't get out, and three weeks have passed (at least), call a wild life center and see what they say. In the meantime, enjoy the show. I wish I could see something like that up close. Take lots of pictures, it would be great if you post them here.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2005 at 11:03PM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

Bunnies hop (bounce) real good! Our domestic bunnies can leap to the couch or a bed from a standstill, and back down again with ease.

Might be safer in the pot than near the lawn mower. Enjoy your visitors ;-)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 2:00AM
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"Do they get little parachutes and a crash helmet"

The visual is killing me!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2005 at 9:40AM
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FurryCritterFan(5a WI)

I loved this post too. How I'm missing the wild cottontails in our yard. Treasure those non-predator innocent beings, and offer them an extra stepping stone and intermediate hiding places once they become mobile and can find safe havens in suitable areas. They could use a ramp, and would probably figure out how to use it!! They won't start scootlebugging about 'til roughly 12-16 days. Mom Cottontail must really trust you. AT 13-days-old, the beelers from our front yard nest in 2004 scooted to the cover of a mighty brush pile (fortified with hay bales) in the arborvitae cove. Mom silently gave them orders to run like banshees. Then after the 5or6 hunkered down in their fortress castle, they would rush out to greet mom when she stopped for the next 7-10 days to nurse and wean her kids.

Bless you for keeping your cats indoors and allowing mom cottontail to have a litter. Yes, please provide photos if you can.

mmm, mmm... Dianthus are tasty plants to nibble. :) The soft ground beats having to dig in harder soil for a nesting place.

Cottontail rehabber/rabbit lover and fosterer,

incidentally, Mom cottontails do not carry their children with their incisors.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 12:07AM
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too_many_pets(LI Z7)

What a great story-please try to post pics!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2005 at 10:18AM
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I also found a rabbits nest in a strange place. It was outside in my window gully I think thats what it is called. Its going to be 29 degrees tonight i wonder is this to cold for baby bunnies they are covered in leaves. Also there is a grate over the gully can the mother fit through the grates to feed the babies or should I rescue the bunnies.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 7:57PM
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Leave bunnies alone. 29 is not bad for temperatures and mother rabbit will be cuddling with them for warmth.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2007 at 11:41PM
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Elly_NJ(NJ z6)

Yes. If you visit the nest, you will leave a scent trail that will attract other predators. Obviously, with the grate there she chose a terrific spot, so leave them alone. She knows what she is doing and will keep them warm.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2007 at 9:30PM
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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

How cute... I just love "bunnies", the real furry kind AND the figural kind. I have cast iron bunnies, plaster bunnies, ceramic bunnies and some made of polymer materials. They are just so darling. I get a bit mad at them for nibbling on my plants but otherwise I'm not upset to find them in my yard and they don't tend to stay too long as we have a large dog. Outdoor cats are the greatest risk to your bunnies so just keep an eye out that nobody's cat is lurking too closely. I don't know why they go after bunnies (esp. baby bunnies) so much, but I have seen baby bunnies litterally skinned to death by outdoor cats and then left to die. If you get a picture from afar, I'd love to see it but if you can't I'd stick with the other poster's suggestion that staying away from the nest is best policy.

southern Ontairo, CANADA

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 4:19PM
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Well one of the bunnies died today and I think the mother has not been back the internet said to put it in a shoe box and keep it warm,but not to feed it to call rescue, but if it hasnt been fed in days Im afriend it wont last until morning. What should I do if anyone gets this message before morning please let me know. My 25 year old daughter is having fit it might die.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2007 at 9:37PM
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I, too, have a bunny who has built her nest in a shallow garden along the driveway up against the side of my house. There must be something about dianthus that bunnies like, because that's what's planted there. In fact, the nest is directly under one of the plants. I haven't seen any babies yet (could they be under there?) but I watched her building the nest over a day or two, running back and forth with twigs and dried grass. She even pulled out some of her own fur to mix in with other materials---pretty ingenious! But after a few busy days building, I haven't seen her.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2007 at 12:08PM
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Axeman, Loved the story. I have heard of bunnies making nests in flower pots before. Contrary to your story, usually the person is posting because his/her dog found the nest. Lucky you that they are safe. Enjoy them.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2007 at 8:06AM
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