When to intervene
If you observe any of the following the rabbit must come into wildlife facility: Ticks, emaciated, dehydrated, obvious wounds or bleeding, unable to move, dangling leg.
How to Transport
If a rabbit needs help, you must be very careful when picking it up. Rabbits attempt to escape by kicking out their back legs to take off quickly. If you are trying to pick it up or hold it and do not have a proper hold, they can kick and break their back. Please follow these steps and use caution.
- Prepare a carrier or box first. Container should have holes and be secure enough that the rabbit can’t jump out.
- Place a towel or cloth over the rabbit and scoop the hind end and the front end into your hands and against your chest, making sure you have the hind end securely in your hand or against you.
- Get as close to the entrance of the carrier or down into the box before letting go. If the rabbit is let go to far away, it will have room to kick out its back legs.
- Keep it very quiet and dark until you arrive at a wildlife facility.
Babies and Juveniles
When to intervene
Baby wild rabbits are the most common species to be mistaken for orphans and brought to wildlife centers. Their mother’s milk is also the most difficult to duplicate. It is important to leave babies with their mother unless you feel certain they are orphaned or injured.
Here are some tips to determine if it is truly orphaned.
- Is it with other babies in a nest. If the answer is yes and they appear quiet and sleeping, there is an excellent chance that the mother is nearby but purposely staying away from her nest to keep predators from finding it. Mother rabbits only feed babies and dawn and dusk. If you are concerned, you can place 2 sticks in a cross pattern or sprinkle a little powder at the entrance to the nest. Wait until after dawn or dusk and check to see if either has been disturbed. If it has not moved, then they may be orphaned and will need to come in. If they are vocal and it has been 12 hours, they are possibly orphaned.
- If a baby, that has his/her eyes open, or a juvenile is seen far away from a nest and appears emaciated, wounded, or has insects on it. It needs to come in. If it looks healthy and is out of the nest, it may not need intervention. Observe from a distance before taking it in.
- If a baby with eyes closed and no fur is out of the nest, it needs to come in.
Please do not attempt to feed or give water to a baby rabbit. It has a very sensitive system. It is best to bring it to a wildlife facility as soon as possible.