Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Quick! Like a Bunny!

I saved a baby bunny on Saturday. That's not him above, though. I didn't get a picture because I was too busy with the life saving, however he looked an awful lot like this little guy. He was younger though - too young to have left his nest and mama - hence the saving.

It went something like this...

My lovely mother-in-law, Arlene, has been out for the count because of a twice-broken ankle, so I've been helping her with John and Kim (the lovely sister-in-law). On Saturday, I took Chipper (the mother-in-law's feisty pooch) outside in the backyard, and two bunnies high-tailed it out of his way. He went on to do his business, but I noticed a teeny, tiny ball of brown fuzz popping out of the grass near the tool shed.

"Baby bunny?" I thought. My suspicions were quickly confirmed, and I went inside with Chipper and told Arlene about it. She's an animal lover like me (she spent weeks covering a bunny nest in her lawn with a trash can lid every time she brought Chipper outside earlier this year). Needless to say, we were sad for the little bunny. It was a rainy day, getting colder as night approached, and I didn't think the little guy was old enough to be out of his nest.

This suspicion was also quickly confirmed after a Google search. He was too little. Worried, I went outside to check him out. He was hunkered down in wide-open space, his teeny eyes squeezed shut, shivering. When he saw me, he started to hop towards me - or sort of hop. He hadn't gotten the hopping thing down yet.

If he was coming towards a predator, I knew he'd be a goner before long.

At this point it was 8 p.m., but I decided to try to call the Cedar Run Wildlife Refuge for some advice. Luckily someone picked up, and she asked if I knew where a bunny nest was nearby. I did - only a few yards away in the neighbor's lawn. She then told me to check to see if there were live bunnies in the nest. There were - same size as the lone baby. The woman then said to just put the baby back - it was a myth that a mother will abandon her nest if a human bothers with it.

"Easy enough!" I thought, borrowing Arlene's garden gloves. John was over at this point, so he came outside to watch. I picked up the little bunny (cutest thing in the whole world, by the way) and walked into the neighbor's lawn. I put him down towards the nest and covered him with some of the grass and rabbit fur. Job well done!


Turns out, the little guy must have liked me (or more accurately was probably freezing and liked my warmth), because every time I tried to leave him in the nest, he'd jump out and follow me through the yard! This was endearing, I have to admit, but also worrisome because I had no idea what to do.

This went on for a while, and just as John was resigning himself to the fact that we would have to bring this baby bunny home for the night, I tried one last time, quickly running from the nest so the little guy couldn't follow me. He sat there for a minute, and then must have figured a warm nest with his brothers and sisters was better than nothing, because he finally crawled in!

Since then, the mama bunny has been back to take of her babies, so all is well. They'll probably be leaving the nest on their own within a week or so. I wonder if the baby I saved will remember me?

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