I think this is necessary to post. I see a lot of people “saving” bunnies.
"*Bunnies are one of the most frequently “kidnapped” mammal species.
*Mothers dig a very shallow nest in the ground that is easily uncovered when mowing or raking the yard. If you find a rabbit nest-leave it alone!!
*Mother rabbits only return to the nest two or three times a day, usually before dawn and right after dusk.
*To determine if they are orphaned, either place a string across the nest in a tic-tac-toe shape or circle the nest with flour. Check the nest the next day. If the string or flour is disturbed, the mother has returned. If not, take the bunnies to a rehabilitator.
* A bunny that is bright eyed and 4-5 inches long is fully independent and does NOT need to be rescued!
*If you find a bunny that does need to be rescued, put it in a dark, quiet location. Bunnies are a prey species and while they may look calm, they are actually very, very scared!”
No, for real though. We currently have fifteen baby bunnies at the rehab center - all of them were kidnapped, and all of them had nice full bellies when they arrived, meaning mama was doing a great job taking care of them. Once they enter a rehab situation, even with the absolute highest standard of care, they have an incredibly low survival rate because they are super sensitive animals and all the noise and strange smells and drastic changes can overwhelm their delicate little systems.
If you find a nest and you’re having a hard time figuring out if it’s been abandoned or not, you can turn them over and see if they have milk in their tummies. With tiny naked babies you should be able to see it with no problem. If they’re a bit larger and furred, with open eyes, you can use a little bit of water or even alcohol to rub on their undersides. The wet fur will be easier to see through.
These are domestics, but you get the idea:
See the white patches on the right side? That’s an extruded stomach filled with milk. That’s what you’re looking for.
So even if you don’t see mom, or if she doesn’t disturb the sticks or flour or yarn you put out (and sometimes they won’t - they’re clever little suckers!) if you see that they’ve been eating, you don’t have to worry about them.