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At the clinic

Cottontails

These baby cottontails were admitted in April after a dog attacked two different mothers who were tending their nests

These baby cottontails were admitted on Monday, April 24 after a dog attacked two different mothers who were tending their nests, located in the homeowners’ yard. Unfortunately, both mother rabbits died from their injuries, leaving the babies as orphans. Since the rabbits were similar in age, the group was combined into one larger group. They all are doing well and without any injuries. These babies will be transferred as soon as possible to a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator in Massachusetts who specializes in raising healthy, orphaned cottontails. The Wildlife Rehabilitator will attend to them until they are old enough to fend for themselves. At that point, they will be released back into the wild.

Cottontails are very difficult to raise in captivity. Many good Samaritans often mistake bunnies found in an unattended rabbit nest as orphaned, however, this is actually normal rabbit behavior. Mothers will generally nurse their young twice per day, at dawn and dusk, as to not draw attention to the nest. The nest is a shallow depression in the grass and may be located in very conspicuous places like front yards, garden beds, and leaf piles.

If you see a nest of baby rabbits, the best thing you can do is to keep your dogs and cats indoors or on a leash and let the mother rabbit attend to the bunnies without interference. Do not handle the babies or move the nest. The rabbits are usually weaned and on their own at between three and four weeks of age.

Learn more about baby bunnies.