Jackrabbits, despite having the word "rabbit" in their name, are actually hares and give birth to precocial young. This means baby jackrabbits open their eyes and can run and jump almost as soon as they are born. WildCare admits many baby jackrabbits whose rescuers find them "alone" in the grass and assume they are orphaned. In many cases, the baby jackrabbit is perfectly healthy, and his position in the grass is just where his mother placed him! Jackrabbits and fawns are often "kidnapped" in this way, and WildCare's team works hard to return them to their mother's care in the place where they were found.
Brush Rabbits, on the other hand, give birth to helpless altricial babies, and the mother Brush Rabbit must care for her tiny eyes-closed young in an enclosed den until they are old enough to move around outside on their own. For this reason, it's rare for WildCare's Wildlife Hospital to admit a young Brush Rabbit!
A cat caught this little rabbit. Her rescuer was able to get her away from the cat and contain her, and she knew to bring the tiny rabbit to WildCare's Wildlife Hospital.
Did you know that any cat-caught animal needs immediate medical care? Even if you can't see any wounds, the Pasturella bacteria on the cat's teeth and claws (the same bacteria that cause cat scratches and bites on humans to itch and hurt) wreak havoc on a small wild animal's body. Our team places all cat-caught wildlife brought to the Wildlife Hospital on a course of antibiotics, in addition to treating them for wounds and shock.
Because of their impact on wildlife, WildCare strongly recommends keeping kitties indoors, for their safety and that of your neighborhood wild animals.
In the video below, you can see our tiny Brush Rabbit patient filling her belly with the specialized rabbit formula she needs to grow up healthy and strong.
Rabbits and hares have very sensitive digestive systems, and the wrong food, or a long delay before the right food is provided, can lead to bloating and even death for babies like this one. Remember that a truly orphaned baby animal of any species needs immediate care! The faster our team can admit the baby, warm her up, and hydrate her, the sooner her digestive system can be ready for a nourishing meal of specialized formula. Giving baby wildlife a second chance is often a race against time!
Always call WildCare's Living with Wildlife Hotline at 415-456-7283 if you find an animal you think might be orphaned. Our Hotline team can help you determine if the baby is healthy and merely staying where mom told her to sit (as is often the case for jackrabbits and fawns), or if the baby needs immediate assistance. If you don't live in the San Francisco Bay Area, we can help you find a local wildlife care center for the little one you've rescued.
Photo by Marianne Hale
As we move into spring, baby wildlife will be EVERYWHERE! Be sure to Respect the Nest, and delay non-emergency tree trimming, and shrubbery pruning until autumn. Even as you read this, wildlife families are nesting in your trees, bushes and shrubs.
Animals that give birth in dens may also be using your yard for their nursery, so please don't disturb hollow logs, brush piles or log piles right now, and avoid moving or remodeling sheds and other outbuildings until our wild neighbors' babies are old enough to get out of the way!
Be aware of wildlife Baby Season (March through September) and help this year's baby animals thrive!
Want to help baby animals like this little Brush Rabbit? Click here to donate to WildCare now!
Make an even BIGGER impact by becoming a Monthly Member and supporting our Wildlife Hospital with a monthly gift of any amount! Just choose "Monthly" on the donation form