It's spring which means baby animals! Especially bunnies! This time of year I always get terrified to mow my lawn and walk around and check wherever I think looks like there may be a bunny nest.  But what happens if you do find bunnies in your yard?  The short answer is most of the time, leave them alone.

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When you find tiny baby bunnies it's easy to think they may need help, but most of the time they're doing just fine.  The mom only visits the nest twice a day typically to feed the babies and then is away from the nest the rest of the time.  According to Rabbit.org if you notice a nest has been disturbed (uncovered by say your dog or something) keep your dog away from the nest, and recover it.  They suggest placing string in a tic tac toe pattern on the top of the nest this way you can check it the next day and make sure that the mom has been back.  However they say if you notice the nest is flooded with water or has bugs/ants visibly crawling in and out or if a baby has been killed and there is blood in the nest, they say you should immediately contact a wildlife rehabber or rabbit vet.

Now what if your dog or cat has destroyed a rabbit nest, but the babies are still okay?  Rabbit.org recommends you reconstruct the nest. Contrary to popular belief, the mom will still tend to the babies even if they have human scent on them.

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

so to make a long story short, if you see baby rabbits, it's typically best not to disturb them.  Mama rabbit will not stay near the nest as to not attract prey to it.  If you'd like to read more information on what to do if you find baby bunnies, Rabbit.org is a really great resource.  Most of the time leaving the  baby bunnies alone is the right thing to do, unless you absolutely know the mom has been killed and isn't coming back to the nest, then human intervention may save their lives. However for the most part human intervention is not necessary, and the bunnies will be just fine without humans stepping in.

 

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