Some of you may already know that Benjamin and I found a nest of baby bunnies in our backyard on Sunday. They were SO tiny, they hardly had any fur on the first day and were just sort of gray in color – in fact, at first, I thought they were rats. Not that them being rats would deter me at all. Secret of NIMH is my fave kid movie, and I would LOVE to have super rats living in a rose bush in my backyard. I even had a pet white rat as a teenager, and of course I named him Nicodemus.
Anyhoot – I discovered the nest because we were playing catch with the dogs and I heard a “squeeeee” noise near where Wimbledon was eating grass. Only he wasn’t chewing grass. He was loving on a baby bunny. Honestly, the little guy had no damage except for a minor earlobe booboo and a whole lotta dog slobber on him. We dragged the pups inside, and the little guy nuzzled back into the nest with his brothers and sisters. No worries.
Well the next day, despite efforts at precaution, Izzy and Wim tag teamed on getting another baby out of the nest. This time there was a bigger booboo on the babe’s side. It looked like just a flesh wound, and I figured the best chance at survival would be with his family, so I gently returned him to the nest on a piece of cardboard. That night the storms started to roll in. Benjamin and I went outside and built a makeshift fort over the nest to ensure it wouldn’t flood.
Morning came, and I marched outside to check on those babies. The one with the injury had died in the night. It was time for some intervention.
There’s a wonderful lady here in Denton that operates a rescue society for local wildlife. Her name is Diana Leggett, and just a few months ago Benjamin and I took her a baby sparrow we’d found. Turns out baby sparrows don’t eat peaches, they prefer canned cat food. So save a sparrow now that you know that. You’ll be equipped, because I promise, all they do is tweet and hop around asking for food. This lady is who I called with my bunny rabbit conundrum. I told her one in the nest had passed away, and the others appeared fine. She asked if the nest was cold from the storm, and I said yes. Her prescription was to put Hot Hands (ya know, the things you shake up and put in your ski gloves?) around the nest to get the babies warm and let mom do the rest.
I cowboyed up and got the dead bunny out of there, and we had a little funeral for him. Well, mostly I did. The dogs and both cats participated by watching from the back door. Then I placed the Hot Hands around the nest, and waited to see what Mom-Bunny would do.
She continued to return to the nest and feed that night, and the next morning. Then the temperature dropped overnight. I
woke up this morning to check on the bunnies and mom hadn’t been there. Their little bodies weren’t bundled up like usual. So, I pulled my robe off and got those bunnies out of there and wrapped them in my robe which was warm from my wearing it. I ran inside and got them settled between my robe and a heating pad. One of the babies revived almost instantly, but he was the only one. The other 3 didn’t make it, they had just gotten too cold, the poor little loves.
I called and left a message for Diana, then tried to get my little survivor to drink some cow’s milk from my finger tip. He took in a few drops, but there was as much going in his nose as his mouth, so we gave up. In my frenzy I accidentally butt dialed a BFF (M.H.) and she recommended I get him some kitten formula. I did. He didn’t like it. I learned why later.
Since I was still waiting to hear from Diana, me and tiny bunny headed to the house where I made a nursery in the bathroom because there’s a heater in there and I had read his body temp needed to stay at 101 degrees. When Diana called she said to bring him on over, so me and bunny dressed for travel and got into a toasty warm car.
At Diana’s house, she put him in an incubator to regulate his body temperature before putting him in with a nursing mama bunny that could get his belly filled up. I told Diana I must be deficient in some way, because I was terrible at feeding that baby rabbit. She said “You’re supposed to be, they’re very difficult to feed”. Which made me feel way better, and she’s just wonderful like that. She never makes you feel like you’ve been a complete idiot.
I donated some bunny money to the cause, and headed home, feeling very much like I had done the best I could. I felt sad about the other 3, and they had their very own funeral too. I also felt super sad for mama bunny, wherever she may be. However, I think if the dogs hadn’t found the nest, they would have drowned in the rainstorms – so maybe it was a good thing overall.
Also, Diana offers a class on wildlife first aid – which heretofore Benjamin forbade me to take, because he envisioned a house full of wounded everything-that-occurs-in-wild-Denton. Which is probably true, but I’m pretty good about getting the wee ones handed off to Diana in a reasonable period of time. Anyway, after the bunny episode, Benjamin has agreed I can take the class!! Yay!! I’ll be so prepared next time!!