It’s Baby Bunny Season in Indiana, Here’s What to Do if You Find a Nest
Usually, nature doesn't need intervention, but here's how to make sure the bunnies in your yard are safe.
Baby Bunny Season
It's the time of year when the weather is warming up and animals are starting to come out of their winter homes. Rabbits don't hibernate, but like many animals, we don't tend to see them as much during the cold months. However, in the springtime rabbits not only become more noticeable, but they are also having all kinds of babies.
When I mow my yard in the spring, my biggest fear is that I will accidentally hit a baby rabbit's nest. So any areas with thick grass, I always check to make sure there aren't any bunnies in the area, and if there are, I just make a mental note and we don't mow that area until the bunnies are gone. But how do you know when a bunny nest is doing fine, and when it needs help?
Mother Nature Knows Best
It can be easy to see a nest of baby bunnies and instantly have the urge to "help" them. They are these adorable, tiny, helpless animals, and you may see them and think "Wait where is the mom?" But the mom is probably not too far off. According to Indiana DNR, Rabbits typically don't come back to the nest very often but maybe twice a day to check on the babies. So don't be alarmed if you see a nest of baby bunnies and no mom around.
Most of the time that you come across a nest, the babies are just fine and you should leave it alone. However, if the nest is in your yard and you have pets you will want to make sure your pets don't disturb the nest. This will keep the babies safe from your pets, and your pets safe from any potential illnesses the wild animals could have.
Indiana DNR: Human Intervention is Often Unnecessary
The Indiana Department of Natural Resources took to Facebook to say that usually human interference with nature is unnecessary, and you're best to just let mother nature do her thing.
NATURE KNOWS BEST. Most people have the best of intentions for caring for wildlife; however, a young animal’s best chance of survival is being in the wild with its mother. Unnecessarily assisting wildlife often does more harm than good. In truth, most animals do NOT need help and RARELY abandon their young. If an animal is not injured, it can be returned to its nest or den - HUMAN SCENT DOES NOT discourage a mother from returning. After returning the animal, leave the area and do not hover. Wildlife parents will not return if they sense you are in the area. For more information: on.IN.gov/keepwildlifewild
What if a Nest is Obviously Disturbed?
What if you have a nest in your yard and say your dog uncovers it? Rabbit.org says it's best to just put the baby bunnies back (if they've been removed and are uninjured), and recover the nest. They also suggest if you believe the nest has been neglected, put a tic tac toe pattern of string across the nest, and check back in 24 hours to make sure the mom has been back.
When is Human Intervention Needed?
It's quite rare that human intervention will be needed to help baby bunnies, however, there are a few instances where intervening will be appropriate. According to Rabbit.org if you notice the nest is flooded with water or has bugs/ants visibly crawling in and out or if a baby has been killed and there is blood in the nest, they say you should immediately contact a wildlife rehabber or rabbit vet.