Find a Baby Rabbit? Avoid the Biggest Mistake

The biggest mistake we as humans make with newborn rabbits is thinking the mother has abandoned them. The mother rabbit will leave her young for the entire day at times to go out and forage. We humans often think we need to play mom and intervene. Not true! She feeds them once in the middle of the night when we are sleeping. Please, please do not remove the young from the mother. She leaves them all day to hide them and the nest from predators. Do not pick up her babies or think they are without a mom. You will not see her. If she sees you, she will not come back until you leave.

With wild rabbits, if you ever find one in a field…leave him be! The mother leaves him alone for the day and comes back at night. She will be calling for him. No matter how cute, how helpless, IF he looks healthy…leave him alone exactly where he is. She will return ONLY when you have gone. Thank you from mother rabbits. If you disturbed a nest, just remake it. If you touched the baby, that doesn’t matter. Put back in the general area in a safe place. Once their eyes are open, they will be hopping all over the place…just put them back in the general area. They don’t need our help if they look healthy…just leave them be. Mom has a special call for them.

If, however, you find an injured baby or ANY injured animal, or a truly orphaned wild baby (mother was killed), contact your local humane society/animal shelter/animal control or rabbit/exotic vet. If after hours, bring injured ones to an emergency vet, or search vets below. For orphaned wildlife, do not raise them yourself; they NEED a skilled wildlife person. They get VERY stressed and die easily if not with experienced rehab folks.

Both domestic and wild baby healthy rabbits are only fed twice a day. For your pet baby bunnies, orphaned, feed KMR kitten formula powder (seems to work best), or regular Goat milk in the carton (can mix also with KMR). Be sure the Goat milk is regular, and NOT low fat. Keep the KMR powder canister in the freezer until each feeding and scoop out the amount needed to mix); overfeeding is one of the main causes of deaths of babies we try to help. Feed upright, with an eyedropper or syringe at first..go slowly drop by drop. If the eyes are still closed, you need to gently stimulate the baby to pee after each feeding (until eyes are open). Again, please bring to a skilled humane society/wildlife center so baby has the best chance.

Useful Links:

  • All rabbit info: www.rabbit.org (House Rabbit Society)
  • Find rabbit VETS at http://www.morfz.com/PB_vets.html (Global) and http://www.rabbit.org/care/vets.html (Often vets will know of wildlife centers too)
  • WILDLIFE REHAB PEOPLE–GLOBAL: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~devo0028/contact.htm
  • Feeding Orphans (ONLY if mom was killed and until you get to a wildlife person above): http://www.rabbit.org/faq/sections/orphan.html
  • FOR ALL OTHER WILDLIFE info go to http://umn.edu/~devo0028
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