Bunnies Hop to the Wildlife Center

Baby bunnies come to the Wildlife Center for many reasons. When the rains are plentiful and the grass is lush, most of the babies are kidnapped from mother rabbits by well meaning homeowners. For more information, two articles have already been written on this subject.  http://wildlifecenteroftexas.org/2011/03/bunnies-bunnies-everywhere/ and  http://wildlifecenteroftexas.org/2010/06/two-for-tea/ When drought occurs, more care must be taken, because it cannot be assumed that unattended young are well cared for. Call the Wildlife Center at 713-861-9453 for assistance. Baby bunnies are one of the more difficult mammals to rehabilitate since they do not nurse per se. They also nurse very slowly and take four to five times longer to feed than a squirrel or raccoon of the same age.  Very young bunnies must be placed with our permitted rehabilitators and cared for at their homes since they require feeding into the night. Once the bunny can go from six p.m. until seven a.m. without feeding, it can come back to the Wildlife Center for care.  Our off-site rehabilitators are our unsung heroes since they accept animals that are too sick, injured or young to thrive at the Wildlife Center. Lagomorphs superficially resemble rodents, but differ in several ways. The most obvious is the unusual arrangement of the front teeth, behind each prominent incisor is a small peg-like tooth. Like rodents, lagomorphs must constantly wear down the front teeth, otherwise they can grow to the point that the animal cannot eat. The order Lagomorpha includes the family Leporidae which include rabbits and hares and the family Ochotonidae which include pikas. Texas is home to two genera and five species of rabbits and hares. Three species can be found in the greater Houston area. Two species are limited to [...]

Bunnies, Bunnies Everywhere

The grass is growing, the trees are budding and the flowers are blooming. Spring has sprung and the Wildlife Center is full of baby squirrels, opossums and rabbits. Momma rabbits while very skittish know that humans will not prey on their babies and will often build nests against or near habitations. The good news is that rabbits wean at four to five weeks of age, so even if a nest is discovered, the babies will be on their own before you know it. Even if you have dogs, they usually won’t find the nest until the babies are almost weaning age. The size of a rabbit that is ready to wean is about the size of a woman’s closed fist. The reason is that there isn’t much of a scent to attract the dogs or cats until the babies are older. Momma rabbits ensure that animals aren’t attracted to her scent. She intentionally spends as little time in the nest as possible. One of the saddest intakes is a litter of bunnies that have been hit by a lawnmower or string trimmer. So, to prevent experiencing this trauma be sure to walk an area before beginning work. Use the handle of a broom to gently sweep through the grass to see if there is a nest present. The nest will look like a clump of dead grass. Once found, the nest can be protected from family pets with an upturned box. Cut a door in the side to allow the mother access and place some weight on it to keep the dog from nosing off the box. If you are concerned that the mother isn’t returning to her nest, place a few small, lightweight twigs [...]

Two for Tea

Young mammals may appear lost and alone while they explore or wait for parents to return from foraging for food nearby. This is especially true for deer and rabbits who intentionally do not remain with their baby(ies) during the day. Every year the Wildlife Center receives hundreds of babies that were kidnapped from their parents by well-meaning rescuers. You need to know the behavior of the animal in question and some things to look for to make an informed decision about whether or not the baby(ies) need to be rescued. Each time the mom deer or rabbit returns from foraging, she leaves another scent trail that could potentially lead a predator to the nest. While she is in the nest, her scent is a big neon sign pointing not only to her, but to her baby(ies). So, as the baby gets older and can go longer between nursing, she spends more and more time nearby, but not with her offspring. Deer further confuse predators my moving their fawn(s) from one location to another. In fact, prey animals often build their burrows and park their babies near human buildings because they know predators like coyote are less likely to approach. They are much less afraid of us and our domestic animals than they are of coyotes, feral dogs, raccoon and raptors. Every golf course has a story of mother deer parking the fawns against the clubhouse during the day. So what to do when a rabbit’s den is found or a fawn is seen? Usually the babies are just fine where they are, but you should conduct a quick inspection. It is an old wives’ tale that the parent will reject babies that have been touched. [...]

By |June 5th, 2010|Categories: Deer, Rabbit, Wildlife Rescue|Tags: , |0 Comments
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