Although rare, there are some instances in which a mother rabbit might abandon her babies. This could be due to a lack of food, nearby predators, or even a lack of milk supply. Abandoned baby rabbits require intervention for survival.
You are out for a walk one day when you stumble upon a nest of baby rabbits. You can tell that the mother rabbit has recently abandoned them, as the babies are cold and wet. There is no food or water near the babies, and they are whimpering for their mother. What do you do?
The first thing is to determine if the rabbits are actually abandoned.
What You'll Learn
- 1 How Rare is it For a Mother Rabbit to Abandon Her Babies?
- 2 How to Know if Baby Rabbits Have Been Abandoned?
- 3 Why Does a Mother Rabbit Abandon Her Babies?
- 4 Myth Busting – Mother Rabbits Do Not Abandon Their Babies if You Touch Them
- 5 How Long Can Baby Rabbits Survive Without Their Mother?
- 6 What Should You Do if You Find Abandoned Baby Rabbits?
- 7 Rabbit Abandonment is Rare
How Rare is it For a Mother Rabbit to Abandon Her Babies?
Complete abandonment by mother rabbits is actually quite rare. In most cases, the mother rabbit will only leave her nest for a short period of time to find food and water. If the nest is disturbed, she may move her babies to a new location. However, in most cases, she will not abandon the rabbits altogether.
How to Know if Baby Rabbits Have Been Abandoned?
There are a few key things to look for that will help you determine if baby rabbits have been abandoned.
If The Bunnies Are Cold
One of the first signs that baby rabbits have been abandoned is if they are cold to the touch. If it is cool outside, the mother rabbit will keep her babies warm by covering them with her body. If the babies are cold, it is likely that the mother rabbit is not around.
If The Bunnies Are Wet
Another sign that baby rabbits may have been abandoned is if they are wet. The mother rabbit will usually clean and dry her babies after they urinate or defecate. If the babies are wet, it is likely that the mother rabbit is not around.
If Mother is Not Around
This is an obvious sign that the baby rabbits have been abandoned. If you do not see the mother rabbit anywhere near the nest, it is likely that she has left her babies.
If There is No Food or Water Near The Bunnies
If the mother rabbit has left her babies, there will usually be no food or water near the nest. The mother rabbit will usually only leave her nest to find food and water for herself, so if you do not see any nearby, it is likely that she has abandoned her offspring.
Why Does a Mother Rabbit Abandon Her Babies?
There are a few reasons why a mother rabbit might choose to abandon her offspring.
Not Enough Food or Water
One of the most common reasons for abandonment is if there is not enough food or water for the mother rabbit and her babies. If the mother rabbit is not getting enough to eat, she may choose to abandon her offspring in order to increase her own chances of survival.
Mother Attacked by Predator
Another reason why a mother rabbit might abandon her babies is if she is attacked by a predator. If the mother rabbit is killed, the babies will obviously be orphaned and will need to fend for themselves.
Nest Was Destroyed or Disturbed
If the mother rabbit’s nest is destroyed or disturbed, she may choose to abandon her babies. This is usually only done as a last resort, as the mother rabbit knows that her babies will not survive without her.
Babies Are Sick or Injured
In some rare cases, a mother rabbit may abandon her babies if they are sick or injured. If the mother rabbit feels that she cannot care for them properly, she may choose to leave them behind.
Mother Was Scared Away
Lastly, a mother rabbit may abandon her babies if she is scared away. If the mother rabbit feels threatened, she may choose to leave her offspring in order to protect herself.
Myth Busting – Mother Rabbits Do Not Abandon Their Babies if You Touch Them
One of the most common myths about rabbits is that mother rabbits will abandon their babies if you touch them. This is not true! Mother rabbits are very gentle creatures and will not abandon their offspring simply because they have been touched by a human.
How Long Can Baby Rabbits Survive Without Their Mother?
Baby rabbits can survive without their mother for up to two weeks, as long as they have food and water. However, it is best to try and reunite them with their mother as soon as possible, as she will be able to provide them with the best care.
What Should You Do if You Find Abandoned Baby Rabbits?
Wait a full 24 hours to make sure mother is actually gone
If you find abandoned baby rabbits, the first thing you should do is wait a full 24 hours to make sure that the mother rabbit is actually gone. It is not uncommon for mother rabbits to leave their offspring for short periods of time, so it is important to give her a chance to come back before taking any action.
Try to Locate The Mother
If you are sure that the mother rabbit is not coming back, the next thing you should do is try to locate her. She may be nearby and just out of sight. If you can find the mother rabbit, it is best to reunite her with her babies.
Try to Determine if They Are Injured or Sick
If you cannot find the mother rabbit, the next thing you should do is try to determine if the baby rabbits are injured or sick. If they are, it is best to call the vet as soon as possible.
Call a Wildlife Rehabilitator
If the baby rabbits are healthy and not injured, the next thing you should do is call a wildlife rehabilitator. They will be able to take care of the baby rabbits and find them a new home.
Do Not Take Them Home
It is very important that you do not take the baby rabbits home with you, as they will not do well in captivity. They are wild animals and need to be cared for by someone who knows what they are doing.
Rabbit Abandonment is Rare
It is very rare for a mother rabbit to abandon her babies. If she does, it is usually because of extenuating circumstances such as not enough food, being attacked by a predator, or her nest being disturbed. If you find abandoned baby rabbits, it is best to call a wildlife rehabilitator as they will be able to take care of them properly.