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Rabbits

Posted: April 6th, 2010, 4:49 pm
by Holly
What does this have to do with writing? Nothing. I'm rabbit-watching instead of revising.

First, a rabbit made a nest under some phlox growing in a planter box on my deck.

Second, the babies are alive and well and poking their Wittle Wabbit faces out from under the phlox. Mother Wabbit comes at dawn and again at twilight (the time, not the book) to nurse those damn babies. Since she is a rabbit, she chooses not to hop up the steps of the deck. Instead, Mrs. Rabbit launches from another planter on the ground (I can tell what she does, Sherlock Holmes style, because she's crushed the flowers in that planter).

The questions: when the babies leave the nest, which way will they go? Over the side, crashing several feet to the ground? Or will they hop out onto the deck and bop down the steps into the yard? Babies are supposed to leave the nest and then retreat back into it. Should I make an artifical "hill" of peat moss and straw next to the deck so they can tumble into it? Will the hill scare off Mrs. Rabbit? Or should I just shut the door?

Re: Rabbits

Posted: April 6th, 2010, 4:56 pm
by Rik
The thing about babies is that they do tend to bounce:

Ducklings leaving the nest - a very high nest

Re: Rabbits

Posted: April 6th, 2010, 5:10 pm
by Holly
Wow, what an amazing film.

Baby rabbits (unlike baby ducks) go in and out of the nest for a while. I'm leaning toward making the hill of peat moss covered with straw beside the deck, but I'm worried about changing anything and scaring the mother off.

Re: Rabbits

Posted: April 6th, 2010, 8:35 pm
by mojo25
I think if Mom is coming everyday and all seems well, I wouldn't change anything. She chose to put her nest there for a reason... maybe it's safer from predators this way. But I'm not an expert...you might want to ask over at RabbitWeb, too...http://www.rabbitweb.net/discuss.asp

Re: Rabbits

Posted: April 7th, 2010, 1:01 am
by Josin
If you have a pet taxi, you can place it on the ground near the nest and start leaving food and water in it for the rabbits. You may find that Ma Bunny moves her kits to the safe haven. (It worked with skunks.)

Re: Rabbits

Posted: April 7th, 2010, 10:20 am
by JustineDell
I was told once by a wildlife rescuer, that once a baby rabbit leaves the nest, it doesn't need it's mother anymore. I found out when I was weed-eating (not sure how to spell that) my backyard wilderness and came across a wee little bunny who didn't look old enough to be away from it's mom. I almost rip the guy to shreds! But, I didn't. Anyways, he was soooo little, I took him back to the house and called the wildlife rescue place. The dude said, "If the eyes are open and it was wandering about, then just go put it back where you found it and it will be fine. They can take care of themselves at that stage." I sure hope he wasn't lying....

~JD

Re: Rabbits

Posted: April 7th, 2010, 11:29 am
by Holly
JustineDell wrote:I was told once by a wildlife rescuer, that once a baby rabbit leaves the nest, it doesn't need it's mother anymore. I found out when I was weed-eating (not sure how to spell that) my backyard wilderness and came across a wee little bunny who didn't look old enough to be away from it's mom. I almost rip the guy to shreds! But, I didn't. Anyways, he was soooo little, I took him back to the house and called the wildlife rescue place. The dude said, "If the eyes are open and it was wandering about, then just go put it back where you found it and it will be fine. They can take care of themselves at that stage." I sure hope he wasn't lying....

~JD
Thanks, Justine and everybody else.

Well, here's the rabbit update. Last night, just after sunset, I was watching the planter box through the guest room window. One baby popped out of the nest. Another baby popped out. Two more babies emerged. And they looked big! Really big. I couldn't believe four baby rabbits that size have been nestled in there day after day. The babies looked around, eyes big, ears perked, hopping a little. And then one baby hopped out! He ignored the makeshift steps I rigged up (a smaller flower pot, plus brick steps), shot out of the planter, crashed on the deck, and just sat there.

And then I did a stupid human thing. I knew the baby would never be able to hop back into the planter -- it's just too high -- so I went outside, planning to pick him up and put him back in the nest.

All the babies took one look at me and shot off, out of the planter, off the deck, out of the flowerbed, through the picket fence, and into the Big Bad World.

So they're gone. I put the nest on the ground, arranged the phlox around it -- and left the light on all night for them.

Re: Rabbits

Posted: April 7th, 2010, 8:05 pm
by JustineDell
That's the best thing you could have done. Those wild life people normaly say, "Nature can take care of itself." Sometimes its hard to watch, though. I'll bet they'll be just fine - you'll see them eating your flowers before you know it ;-)

~JD

Re: Rabbits

Posted: April 8th, 2010, 3:31 pm
by Holly
Last night I let my two dogs out just after dark to go potty. The ancient poodle-mix disturbed two of the baby rabbits, who were hiding in some leaves behind a low rock wall. The babies bounded across the yard. My big, sweet collie sniffed out the nest to begin with, but she never tried to harm them. Just in case, I'm going to keep both dogs out of the yard for a while. I also put a sign on the gate for the man who mows the grass to let it go for a week. Maybe it's time to reread Watership Down.

Re: Rabbits

Posted: April 8th, 2010, 3:42 pm
by Bryan Russell/Ink
It's always time to reread Watership Down. :)