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Bunny Nest In Yard Tips: How To Avoid Injuring Baby Rabbits



Preventing A Baby Bunny Nest Tragedy In Your Yard Is Easy If You Follow These Simple Tips


  1. For many of us, seeing baby bunnies nestled in a rabbit’s nest in our front yard or back yard can be delightful. However, these innocent-looking nests can lead to tragedies if we're not careful. Before you reach for the lawn mower to tackle that small patch of grass, take a few minutes to check for baby rabbit inhabitants. Mother rabbits create these nests by using bits of dried grass and tufts of mother’s fur to protect their babies. These nests can be difficult to spot but look for shallow depressions in the ground with patches of dead grass, indicating a possible home for the baby bunnies. By following these simple tips, you can prevent a wild bunny tragedy in your backyard and enjoy the sight of these adorable, furry creatures for years to come.

  2. If you come across a shallow rabbit nest of kittens tucked away in the tall grass, don’t panic. Take a moment to assess the situation, and if the babies appear healthy, resist the urge to feed them. Rabbit mothers nurse their baby bunnies and their milk is far superior for their growth and development than any human substitute. With some simple tips, preventing a baby bunny nest tragedy in your yard is a breeze.

  3. It's important to remember if you find a nest, that these nests are carefully constructed by rabbit mothers to protect and nurture their young, which are called kittens. As a mama bunny only visits her kittens twice a day for a short period of time, it's best to keep a safe distance from the shallow nest box and allow the mother to tend to her babies. If you’re worried that mama hasn’t been around to feed her young, over top the nest, place a few pieces of string down in a tic tac toe pattern and then check them after 18 hours…if they’ve been moved you know mom’s close by. You could also place an upside down laundry basket over the nest and then put a brick on top of it to keep dogs or other pets or feral cats away - remove the basket in the early morning and evening to allow her to nurse. If you do happen to see her visiting, don't be alarmed if she leaves the nest box early — this is natural behavior for rabbits, as she won’t stay with them long. She will make herself scarce during the daylight hours so as not to attract predators. It's also important to note that the mother's milk is the best source of nutrition for the bunnies, so it's essential not to disturb the nest or handle the babies. Just enjoy observing from afar and appreciate the adorable sight of the nest full of tiny, fluffy bunnies wrapped in their soft fur in the early morning.

  4. Avoid mowing anywhere in that area, or disturbing the nest and mark the area to prevent accidental mowing, you can cover it with an upside down wheelbarrow, that will allow the mom access but no other animals. Or, cut a small opening in a laundry basket, and put the laundry basket right over top the nest.

  5. Wild animals need their space too. Monitor the nest from a distance. At about two weeks old they come out periodically to scamper around the nest area to eat grass. When baby rabbits are about three weeks old, they will venture out of the nest for most of the day.


Ensuring the safety of a baby rabbits nest in your yard is essential for protecting these vulnerable creatures. Our comprehensive guide provides actionable steps to prevent unfortunate incidents and safeguard bunny nests effectively.



Understanding Bunny Behaviour and Nesting Habits


Eastern cottontail rabbits typically nest in a small hole or depression in the grass or soil which are really just shallow areas called forms, often in grassy areas. These nests are usually well-camouflaged, covered with dead grass, making them difficult to spot. Knowing rabbits' common nesting sites and behaviours is crucial for preventing disturbances.


Identifying a Bunny Nest in your Yard:

 Imagine stepping into your backyard and spotting a shallow depression in the grass with soft fur lining the inside - could it be a bunny nest? These adorable creatures are known for making homes in inconspicuous places, often in tall grass, dead patches, or brush. If you do spot a rabbit's nest, be sure to give them their space as the mother will only return in the evening for five minutes or so to nurse her young. Take a moment to appreciate the nature that has made your yard their home. Look in the following areas:

  • Tall grasses, dead grass patch or brush

  • Near garden beds

  • Along the edges of yards

  • Anywhere you notice depressions in the soil


Seasonal Nesting Patterns


Rabbits primarily breed from early spring to late summer, with each breeding season potentially resulting in several litters. Baby bunnies typically spend most of the day outside around the nest when they are about three weeks old, and by one month old they leave the nest altogether. Once they’ve left, she’s ready to mate, make a new nest, and gets ready again for other babies to coming along. Understanding this seasonal pattern can help homeowners stay vigilant during peak nesting times.


Wild Rabbits vs a Domestic Rabbit


Wild rabbits are elusive creatures that are best left alone in their natural habitat. With their brown coloring and slim build, wild bunnies are designed to blend in with their surroundings and not attract attention, to avoid capture by predators. Their ears are always up, alert to any danger in the environment. If caught, they do not adapt well to indoor living. On the other hand, domestic rabbits come in a variety of sizes and colours and are much softer and rounder than their wild counterparts. Although they are great pets, buying them as gifts is discouraged. Sadly, many people abandon or dump their pet rabbits after Easter time and the novelty has warn off, resulting in a surplus of bunnies at your local humane society. Some are set free outside but Let's appreciate a wild rabbit in its natural habitat and be responsible pet owners when it comes to purchasing a domestic rabbit. If you come across what you believe is a domestic rabbit (it may have been dumped or abandoned) contain it in a box with a blanket. Cottontail rabbits, domesticated ones, will approach humans for help whereas a wild rabbit will not. If you have a local pet food store close by you could get some timothy hay for it to eat. If it’s a younger or baby bunny then alfalfa hay is best. Contact your local humane society, nearest wildlife center, or wildlife rehabilitator for assistance and advice.



Best Practices for Yard Maintenance


Maintaining your yard with bunny safety in mind involves a few strategic practices. These methods ensure the safety of the nests and promote a harmonious coexistence with local wildlife.


Mowing and Lawn Care


Rabbit nests can be found in the most unassuming places. As you gear up for your round of mowing, it’s important to be aware of any potential bunny nests in your yard. Keeping a close eye out for signs, such as shallow holes or dead grass patches, can help you spot a nest before you inadvertently harm it with your lawn mower. If you do come across a nest in your yard, try to gently put it back together if it’s been disturbed. Mark the area with chicken wire to avoid any accidental damage. If your dog found it and there’s no way to salvage the original nest, consider digging a new hole within a 10’ radius. Mother rabbits will still be able to find their young and nurse them back to health for the next three weeks. And, of course, keep a close eye on your dog while they’re outside to ensure that they don’t stumble upon any nests unknowingly. Remember, a little extra care can keep your lawn looking great while also protecting the bunny nests in your yard!


  • Inspect the area for nests before mowing, look for a shallow hole or even a dead grass patch

  • Raise the mower blades to avoid harming hidden nests

  • Mow less frequently in areas where nests are commonly found, and circle confirmed nest areas with chicken wire


Landscaping Tips


Implementing wildlife-friendly landscaping can prevent nest disturbances:


  • Create designated wildlife areas with tall grasses and native plants

  • Avoid using pesticides and chemicals near potential nesting sites

  • Install small fences around known nesting areas





Protective Measures and Interventions


Taking proactive steps to protect a bunny nest involves both physical barriers and behavioural changes.



Using Barriers and Markers if you find a Nest in your Yard

Protect nests with simple, non-intrusive barriers:


  • Place small garden fences, ie. chicken wire, around the nest

  • Use visible markers to indicate the location of nests to family members and visitors, and leave the nest alone

  • Consider temporary mesh coverings, or an upside down laundry basket with a hole cut for the mama bunny to enter/exit, to deter predators while allowing mother rabbits access


Educating Family and Neighbors


Awareness and education are key:


  • Inform family members and neighbours about the presence of nests

  • Share information on how to recognize and protect nests

  • Encourage a community effort in monitoring and safeguarding local wildlife





What to Do if You Find a Disturbed Nest


Despite best efforts, nests can sometimes be disturbed. Knowing how to respond can significantly improve the chances of survival for the baby rabbits.


Assessing the Situation


If you find rabbits nesting in a noticeably disturbed nest:


  • Carefully look over the baby cottontails for any visual injuries and if seen, call a wildlife rehabilitator asap

  • Avoid touching a baby rabbit as much as possible to prevent stress and scent transfer


Steps to Take


To help restore the nest:


  • Gently cover the shallow hole or nest with the original nesting materials

  • Use light sticks or strings to create a tic tac toe pattern over the nest to monitor if the mother rabbit returns (check the tic tac toe pattern after 18-24 hours and if it’s not been disturbed, you might have orphaned rabbits on your hand)

  • Contact animal control or a local wildlife rehabilitator if the mama bunny does not return within 24 hours. A wild orphaned baby bunny won’t survive long without humane assistance



Conclusion


Protecting a bunny nest really doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply be aware of the potential for one being in your yard and inspect your grass.




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