Baby Rabbits and an Unexpected Nest

We don’t have enough coyotes, foxes and owls in Colorado.

How I do know?

Because we have too many rabbits! And the rabbits eat most of the plants we try to grow. Up till last week, we thought some plants protected because we raised them off the ground in old wine barrels, and we’d never seen a rabbit in one of the barrels (lots of squirrels, but no rabbits).

But now I’m convinced nothing is safe from these rapidly reproducing, hungry cottontail bunnies.

We found baby rabbits in wine-barrel garden.
Click on the barrel to see video of the bunnies.

We were getting the barrels ready for growing herbs again this year, adding peat and the usual materials, when the old dirt began to move. From a hole, underneath old, dead basil plants (not the ones in the picture), came  three small bunnies, one far more energetic than his siblings.

Were they were old enough to survive on their own?

According to’s “How to Save a Baby Bunny”

Once a rabbit is the size of your fist, has its eyes open and ears that stick straight up, it’s old enough to survive on its own. Release it into a wooded area with plenty of undergrowth. You should look for a white blaze on its forehead; this is a good indicator that it is old enough to survive without your help.

There was no way to put the nest back together. We understood bunnies are one of the most difficult young wild animals to successfully “rescue.” The nest location was awful (What was the mother thinking?): Once the bunnies successfully jumped out of the barrel as one did, they’d never be able to get back in. So because they met most criteria for survival, including size, open eyes and no white blaze on face, we relocated them to the edge of a nearby open field (with lots of underbrush) and wished them well.

Nothing personal, but we still would like to see more owls, foxes and coyotes.


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