What’s normal for baby rabbits?
Baby rabbits remain in their nest—a shallow depression in the ground covered with dry grass and bits of fur—with their siblings for the first three weeks of life. After this time the babies leave the nest and are no longer in need of their mother’s care. They are approximately 4 inches (10 cm) long at this point, their ears are upright, and they can hop rather than crawl. Babies at this age should hide in the grass when people are around.
What to do if you find a baby rabbit on the ground
Look around to see if there is any sign of a rabbit nest that has been recently disturbed (by a pet, a person, or by mowing the lawn, for example) if you have found a baby that looks either:
- Too small to be out of the nest
- Close to the size described above but not behaving normally—for example, sitting in an exposed area, not hopping away when approached
If you find a nest and it looks recently disturbed, put the baby back in the nest and cover it up with the original covering or dry grass from the area. Do not handle the baby directly—baby rabbits become very stressed by human contact and mother rabbits are sensitive to foreign scents. Instead, wear some garden gloves (rub the gloves in grass first to get rid of your scent) and scoop the baby back into the nest and then replace the nest covering material (usually dried grass and bits of rabbit fur).
Test to make sure the mother rabbit is visiting her nest
Once you have replaced the baby in the nest and covered it, try this simple test to determine whether the mother returns to feed her babies. If you cannot find a recently disturbed nest, contact a wildlife rehabilitator.