Second Chance Wildlife


“Until we extend the circle of our compassion to all

living things, we will not find peace.”

Albert Schweitzer

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Mother cottontails only return to the nest twice a day, around dawn and dusk. Their babies are often in a fairly shallow depression or hole, possibly near or under shrubs but often where there are no shrubs or tall plants. They often will bury themselves with soil and grass. Mom squats over the hole, babies dig out and nurse for about 5-10 minutes, mom leaves, babies cover themselves back up (a process that may take a few minutes). Once their eyes are open at around 10 days, they may leave the den and hang around the nest area waiting for her. As long as they are warm and moving, leave them alone. When they are 4-5 inches long, eyes open, ears up, able to hop they are weaned and usually self sufficient, leave them alone.

If you find a naked baby or a baby with eyes closed you may place it back in the nest following the instructions below as long as it is warm, is not injured or a cat or dog did not have it and you know where the nest is. If it is cold, injured or you do not know where the nest is, place it in a small box with a clean T-shirt or towel and contact a rehabilitator immediately. Please DO NOT give it food or water. DO NOT handle it other than to put it in the box, these babies very quickly die from being handled.

If the nest has been damaged, you may repair it by uncovering the shallow hole or depression that may be lined with dry grass and fur. Replace the babies covering them with a layer of dry grass to hide them. Leave the area. Mom will not return if she does not feel safe. To determine if she has returned to care for them, place a tic-tac-toe shape of twigs over the top of the hole. Since mom only comes to the nest at dawn and dusk, check on them the next morning. If the twigs have been disturbed, she has probably been there. You may touch the babies to determine if they are warm. If they are, leave them alone. If they are cold, place them in a small box with a clean T-shirt or towel, contact a rehabilitator immediately. DO NOT handle them other than to put them in the box, DO NOT attempt to feed them or give them water.

Baby Rabbits

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