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Cottontail Rabbits

Found a Wild Animal?

Baby Rabbits

If a baby bunny is injured, it will need our help. Click here for instructions on how to get it to NWRI.

If the baby is not injured:

The female cottontail rabbit can make her nest anywhere. She spends all day and night grazing nearby and feeds her young for only about 5 minutes twice a day. If you have a nest in your yard, please leave it alone! Babies are weaned and on their own in 2 or 3 weeks, when they are about the size of a woman's fist. Please work around them during the time they are in their nest. If you need to mow, or if a dog or cat is bothering the nest, place the top half of a cat carrier over the nest, and place a large brick or rock on top of it. This will keep predators from the nest, but still allow the mother to slip underneath to feed them. Do not move a rabbit nest, even if it's only a small distance away from the original nest! The mother will not be able to find a relocated nest, and the babies will starve to death.

If you think a nest of bunnies has been abandoned or the mother is dead, make an "X" or tic-tac-toe pattern out of grass or dental floss and lay it across the nest. Leave the nest alone for 24 hours. Do not approach the nest, and do not stand anywhere in the yard, even from a distance, to watch for it. The mother will not come when you are there or if you are making frequent visits to the nest. If after 24 hours the grass or floss has been moved, the mother has been there to feed her young. If it has not, gently collect the bunnies into a towel-lined box, and call NWRI.

Leave bunnies alone if they have fur and are out of the nest and are not injured. Rabbits may "freeze" in one position in the presence of danger. If a baby bunny is fully furred and out of it's nest, leave it alone! Do not pick it up, even if you can get close enough to do so. It is independent of its mother and will move on in a few days.

Adult Rabbits

Any rabbit that is obviously injured or ill needs to be rescued. You can tell an adult rabbit is injured or ill if it is:

  • Bleeding
  • Cold and still
  • Covered in flies and/or maggots
  • Easily captured by hands
  • Has open wounds or a fractured limb
  • Cannot use one or more of its legs
  • NAM
  • Guidestar Platinum 2021
    Guidestar Platinum 2021