My Kids Found a Baby Rabbit. Now What?
I was right in the middle of deep-frying french fries last night when pandemonium started breaking out in my yard. Emma Kitty had a baby bunny in her mouth. The kids started freaking out. We had: kids chasing cat, cat dodging kids (with rabbit in her mouth), lots of yelling and screaming and the dogs were starting to get pretty nervous too. It was a real flurry of craziness for about 60 seconds. The kids somehow got the cat to drop the rabbit. Part of me was certain the bunny was dead. Nope. It was very much alive. The baby rabbit managed to find a small hole in the fence to avoid the cat/kids/dogs and escaped. For a moment.
Kid #1 goes into the house and returns with a pet carrier and promptly relocated the little bunny and stuck him in the cage. "We got a rabbit! Can we keep it?" Kid #2 decided we must help the poor bunny recover. Red flag alarms started blaring in my head. "No. Nope, not a chance, absolutely not keeping this rabbit." I check the little bunny over for visible injuries and he/she seemed unharmed. Emmy Kitty must have a gentle mouth.
Kid #1 starts searching the internet and tells me that wild rabbits "actually make really good pets." I doubted his sources, as I have never heard that before in my entire life. The one thing I have heard (repeatably) is that wild animals rarely make good pets. I reached out to ZooMontana's Jeff Ewalt for answers.
What to do if your kid or cat find a baby rabbit?
- Put it back. Jeff said if it's big enough to hop on it's own, it's big enough to survive on it's own. The little bunny our cat found was clearly big enough to live without its mom.
- Native rabbits do NOT make good pets. They're too high strung. In fact, rabbits can have fear induced heart attacks, says Rabbitology.com.
- MYTH: If you touch a baby rabbit, it's mother will abandon it. Rabbit moms are actually good parents and they will not abandon their young (who normally leave the nest in about 3 weeks). The Toronto Wildlife Centre has more info on what to do if you disturb a rabbit nest.
I convinced my kids to set the rabbit free. The cute little bunny gets to live another day. Or, until the cat finds it again.