Well it is spring…flowers are blooming, birds are chirping. Holidays are around the corner. This is the time of year that many people start to see baby bunnies. In the stores and in the wild. So here are some suggestions when you see a baby bunny and want to take it home…
1) If it is a wild bunny that you have found, DO NOT TAKE IT. Wild bunny parents only come to the nest 2 times and at usually at dusk and dawn. Often, the babies are left in the nest alone during the day–but momma is watching. If you continually check on a nest the momma will abandon it. So if you see a baby by iteself, let it be. A good suggestion by the Wildlife Rescule League of Virginia is to place a ring of flour around the nest before dusk. If you do not see large rabbitt imprints in the flour by the next morning, then call the wildlife experts. A person that takes a baby in and has no experience or training in feeding and caring for the rabbit young, is in for a tough experience. Most will not survive. Besides, it is not legal to remove wildlife from the wild! For more information: www.wildliferesculeague.org
2) If you see a cute baby bunny at the pet store, friend’s house, farmer’s market, breeder, or other bunny friendly local, you can take it home. However, it should not be an impulse buy. A bunny is a commitment, similar to buying a cat or dog and can live for 7–15 years. They have lots of specific needs and requirments including veterinary care.When you purchase a juvenile rabbit, there is a good chance they are carrying parasites and this with the stress of a new home can lead to life-threatening diarrhea. I cannot stress enough the importance of having an exam and a fecal performed on any new bunnies to your house. Husbandry training and parasite testing/prevention can make the difference between life and death. Bunnies make great pets as long as you are prepared for this new addition to the house.
Although I am focusing today’s blog on bunnies, the same information goes for all other wildlife, including baby chicks and ducks, and reptiles. If it is wild, do not take the babies—this is illegal and the animal is less likely to remain healthy with you than in the wild. If it is a injured or sick, contact your vet or wildlife conservation league. If you decide to purchase a baby duck or chick for the holidays, please consider the long term life of this animal. If you do not have a farm or a facility to keep it for the rest of it’s life with the proper care, do not purchase them. It is unfair to keep them as babies and then try to find a shelter or farm to take them when you no longer want them. If you want to adopt a reptile or bird, please contact your vet for proper husbandry recommendations to keep the pet healthy and happy. Rabbits, birds, and reptiles can be fantastic additions to your household. You just want to make sure you have all of your ducks in a row (pun intended) before you bring them home. Happy Holidays!