Q. What should I do if I find (or my lawnmower hits) a nest of baby rabbits?
A. If the nest is intact, leave it alone! Mother rabbits only visit their young 2 or 3 times a day to avoid attracting predators. If the nest has been disturbed, or if you have reason to believe that the babies are orphaned, you can put an “X” of yarn or sticks over the nest to assess if the mother returns to nurse her young. If the “X” is moved by the next day, the mother has returned to nurse them. If the “X” remains undisturbed for 24 hours, call 911 Wildlife or a wildlife rehabilitator. Keep all cats out of the area because they will surely find and kill the helpless young rabbits. Don’t touch the babies (unless orphaned) because mother rabbits are very sensitive to foreign smells and may abandon their young.
Q. My cat caught a rabbit. What should I do?
A. Unfortunately, one of the main causes of orphaning in rabbits and birds is free roaming cats. If the rabbit (or bird) has any puncture wounds, bring the animal to a veterinarian or rehabilitator quickly. Cats have toxic bacteria in their saliva that becomes lethal unless the victim is put on antibiotics immediately. A tiny, almost imperceptible wound caused by a cat’s tooth can be fatal if a vital organ is punctured. A vet should start the animal on antibiotics ASAP. Only if the animal is definitely unharmed should he be released.
People can save hundred of wild animals by keeping their cats indoors, especially in the spring and summer when wild animals have helpless babies. If you won’t keep you cat(s) indoors, you need to use multiple-bell collars that will alert some wild animals to the cat’s presence. One bell is not loud enough. Pet supply stores sell a variety of breakaway collars, but you should purchase two additional large bells (sold separately with s-hooks) and attach them to the cat’s collar. Stealthy cats learn how to keep one bell still – that’s why at least two bells per collar are needed.
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