A mother rabbit will not remove a dead baby rabbit from the nest. This is because rabbits do not have the ability to carry their babies. Instead, she will eat, cover, or even ignore the dead baby.
It’s a heartbreaking moment when you find a dead baby rabbit in the nest. If you run into this situation, you may be wondering what to do next.
While it’s natural to want to remove the deceased bunny from the nest, you should know that momma rabbits will often take care of the situation themselves.
In the following sections, we will discuss how momma rabbits take care of the situation and what you should do if you come across a deceased baby rabbit still in the nest.
What You'll Learn
- 1 Mother Rabbits Do Not Remove Dead Babies From The Nest
- 2 So What Does a Mother Rabbit Do With a Dead Baby?
- 3 The Dangers of Leaving a Deceased Rabbit in The Nest
- 4 Why Did I See a Dead Baby Rabbit Out of The Nest?
- 5 What to Do If Mother Rabbit Leaves The Dead Baby In The Nest
- 6 Nature Seems Cruel, But Survival Comes First
Mother Rabbits Do Not Remove Dead Babies From The Nest
Most animals in the animal kingdom will remove a dead baby from the rest of the pack. This is not the case with rabbits. Rabbits are one of the few animals that cannot carry their young.
It’s not that the mother rabbit doesn’t care. It’s just that she literally doesn’t have the ability to remove the deceased rabbits from the nest.
However, she does recognize the threat of having a deceased rabbit in the nest and will take steps to protect herself and the rest of her babies.
So What Does a Mother Rabbit Do With a Dead Baby?
A mother rabbit has three options when it comes to a dead baby in the nest.
- She May Eat It
- She May Cover It
- She May Ignore It
Let’s take a further look at all three of these options.
1) She May Eat It
The most common thing a mother rabbit will do with a dead baby is eat it.
While this may seem gruesome to us, it’s a natural way for the mother to get rid of the carcass and protect herself and her other babies from predators.
2) She May Cover It
Another thing a mother rabbit may do with a dead baby is cover it up.
This is usually done with fur or straw and is a way to prevent predators from spotting or smelling the body.
3) She May Ignore It
The final thing a mother rabbit may do with a dead baby is simply ignore it.
This usually happens if the mother cannot eat or cover the body for some reason.
It’s important to note that a mother rabbit will not abandon her nest just because there is a dead baby in it. However, if the mother chooses to ignore it, she and the rest of the nest will be in danger.
The Dangers of Leaving a Deceased Rabbit in The Nest
If a mother rabbit chooses to ignore the deceased baby rabbit, this will put the rest of the nest in danger for two reasons.
The first reason is that the rest of the pack will be at risk of contracting a deadly disease.
This is because the carcass will start to decompose and release bacteria into the nest.
This bacteria can quickly spread to the other babies and make them sick. In some cases, the disease can be so severe that it will kill the other rabbits.
The second reason is that the carcass will attract predators to the nest.
This is because predators can smell death from miles away. If there is a dead rabbit in the nest, it won’t be long before a predator comes looking for it.
And when they do, they will most likely take the rest of the rabbits with them.
The safest thing a mother rabbit can do is eat the baby, which will happen in most cases. It sounds gross and cold-hearted to use, but that creates the best chance for the rest of the nest to survive.
Why Did I See a Dead Baby Rabbit Out of The Nest?
If you see a dead baby rabbit outside its nest, you may assume the mother rabbit removed it from the nest. However, as you know by now, mother rabbits do not have the ability to move their young.
So, if you see a dead baby rabbit outside the nest, it’s most likely because the rabbit got out on its own. Since baby rabbits cannot survive independently, they will eventually die.
What to Do If Mother Rabbit Leaves The Dead Baby In The Nest
If you find a deceased baby rabbit in the nest and it appears the mother isn’t going to do anything about it, you can try removing the rabbit yourself. As always, do this with caution.
Step 1: Distract The Momma Rabbit
The first thing you need to do is distract the momma rabbit.
You can do this by making noise or providing her with her favorite treats. Just make sure you don’t hurt her in the process.
Once she’s distracted, you can move on to the next step.
Step 2: Don’t Come Into Direct Contact With The Baby
The next thing you need to do is put on gloves or grab a small shovel. This is to prevent you from coming into direct contact with the carcass, which could put you at risk of contracting a disease.
Step 3: Place Rabbit in a Ziplock Bag
Once you have the gloves or shovel, you can pick up the rabbit and place it in a Ziplock bag. Be sure to seal up the bag immediately.
Step 4: Dispose of the Body in a Proper Manner
After the rabbit is in the bag, you can dispose of the body in a proper manner.
This will vary depending on your location and the laws in your area. In some cases, you may be able to bury the rabbit in your backyard.
If you’re unsure what to do, your best bet is to call your local animal control or wildlife rehabilitation center.
Nature Seems Cruel, But Survival Comes First
Although a mother rabbit will not remove a dead baby from the nest, she will take the necessary steps to protect the rest of her nest. In most cases, the mother rabbit will choose to eat or cover the baby. This may sound inhumane to us, but it’s the best way to ensure the rest of the nest survives. If you find a dead baby rabbit in the nest and it appears the mother isn’t going to do anything about it, you can try removing the rabbit yourself. Just be sure to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and the momma rabbit.