Thursday, April 03, 2008


(Cross-posting this from my WildRescue blog because the word needs to get out there!)

Boxes line the countertop. Scratching noises can be heard from within. Another day, another group of 30 baby cottontails wait for a human to pick them up and give them nourishment – and life. It’s a different day at Cottontail Central because the doors must close on any more incoming wildlife UNLESS MORE PEOPLE HELP!!!

It’s baby season in the DFW area. Baby cottontails number among the highest that are admitted to our rehab center. We currently have over 50, and have reached our limit, both physically and mentally. It takes a minimum of 10 minutes to feed one baby cottontail. You do the math. We have only one thing to say – STOP. Don’t take them from their nests. There ARE solutions to any of the issues the public may have with cottontails being born in their yards. You are condemning these babies to death if you will not at least try to keep them in their nests. It is not hard. This is what you do:


It is raining baby cottontails here in North Texas. Our rehabilitators are full and cannot accept any more at this time. Over 50 have come in since this last Monday. Over 40 came in the Monday before. KEEP THEM IN THEIR NESTS. Many people think they are doing a kind act by taking these seemingly abandoned animals to local animal shelters, rehabilitators and veterinarians when, in reality, they are best left alone. Why? Because they have a high mortality rate within the rehab environment and it is virtually impossible to find enough people to care for these little creatures competently. Hundreds of “abandoned” baby bunnies come into us at the beginning of spring. The primary reason why people bring baby bunnies in to our animal shelters is they think the rabbits have been abandoned and are not being fed by mom. FALSE. Mom comes at dawn and dusk to feed them. She will not abandon her babies. Mom has GPS. She knows where here babies are. She will feed them and then leave the nest thus diverting potential predators away from the babies and towards her.

Here are some rabbit facts and ways that you can help save these baby’s lives!

* Mom comes at dawn and dusk to feed them and you may never see her.
* The babies are located usually close to a house or other sheltered environment in shallow holes lined with dried grasses and fur.
* They open their eyes at ten days of age
* They are up and out of the nest between 3 and 4 weeks of age
* Renest them! If the nest is disturbed, gently replace the babies and put the nesting material back in the nest. Your human smell will not deter Mom from feeding them
* Check on them every morning to see if their tummies are full of mom’s milk.

If you have a wildlife emergency situation, and feel that the rabbits are not being cared for, please CHECK WITH US before you take them anywhere. Help keep the babies with their moms and be a part of coexisting with our wildlife!

Info (and pictures) on the life of a baby eastern cottontail here.

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