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Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Easter Bunny's Been Busy!

Tonight my daughter came running in from outside.  "Mommy, there is something in the yard that you need to see!" 

"What is it, Miranda?"

"I think it's a dead rat, but it's not dead!" 

It was only a few months ago that we found half of a dead rat in our yard.  I shudder to think of where the other half of the rat was, or where these rats were residing before their unfortunate demise.

Wonderful.  Another dead thing I have to bury before the dogs find it and roll in it.  Another joy of pet ownership. Dogs roll in the smelly things that cats kill.  What on Earth possesses dogs to roll in the most disgusting and smelliest things imaginable!?  And how is it we can love them so much, despite this significant personality flaw?  Perhaps dogs and cats think that cologne and perfume are the most disgusting smells ever, and they FURgive us for our stinky flaws?

As I follow my six year old out of the house, the neighbor's granddaughter comes running from the back yard screaming in horror, "It's moving, Miranda!  It's moving!"  I walk to the back yard to see my son staring at it in dumbfounded amazement.   "Wow, it's moving," he says softly with a spark of wonder in his eyes and in his voice.

I look down and see tiny little legs wiggling.  It was a baby bunny.  So cute, but so alone.  This was not a nest.  There were no other baby bunnies to be seen anywhere. 

Once I declare to the children that this half dead rat is actually a baby bunny, the kids are overjoyed with their discovery.  Even the little girl that was horrified by the fact that this rat thing was moving, suddenly finds it adorable.  I now have 4 children begging to pet it or hold it.  Eight hands are grabbing at a baby bunny not much larger than the palm of my hand.

I've done my share of wildlife rehabilitation, and I know that if you find an "abandoned" nest of baby bunnies, that you are supposed to lay some long grass or straw over the nest.  Mama bunnies only return twice a day to feed their babies, and she will move the straw or grass you place over the nest in order to feed them.  If the straw is still there after 24 hours, the nest may be abandoned.  But this wasn't a nest, and I have a cat...and two curious kids!

So I make a phone call.  I call the Iowa State University Wildlife Care Clinic, and ask their advice.  Erica, the volunteer on call, tells me that the bunny could have been moved by my cat, or a bird could have scooped it up intending to eat it, but dropped it mid-flight in the yard by accident.  I move into the house, hoping the loud kids "oohing and aaahing" will not follow.  As I am speaking to Erica, I am still fighting off my own two children in the house.  My kids honestly believe that this bunny is the coolest toy ever!  They both want to love it up so much they are about to burst!  I had to put Erica on hold, and tell the kids, "Back off!  It's a baby!" I yelled with a slight giggle appreciating their interest in this new creature.  They finally backed off and let me complete my conversation.  Erica, also laughing at this point, advises me to place the little peanut in a heated cage and bring it to them the next day for evaluation.  Of course this all happens just 20 minutes after the Wildlife Care Clinic has closed its doors for the evening, and no staff remained at the office. 

I am not a bunny expert in any way, but this little baby seems pretty lethargic.  If it is hypothermic, too cool, then warming it up right away will help it a great deal.  I place the baby bunny in my scrub top chest pocket, and head out the door.  I left my kids at the neighbor's house, who were kind enough to watch them as I ran this errand of mercy, and drove the peanut to the clinic.  The peanut  is now in a kennel with a heating pad on low.  I hope he survives the night.  While there is no evidence of puncture wounds or injury on his tiny body, if he was displaced by a hawk or a cat, there could certainly be internal damage.  His color looks good as his little mouth and gums are the lightest shade of princess pink.  Erica assured me he would not starve overnight since the Mama bunnies only feed the babies once or twice a day. This is quite different than baby kittens who need to be fed every few hours.  If he does not make it through the night, I can only assume there was significant injury or a significant health condition.  Either way, he has my love and my prayers.

If all goes well overnight, I will get him to the Wildlife Care Clinic in the morning.  Hopefully he will be in time for a big breakfast.


Anonymous said...

Did it make it through the night?!

Immydog said...

No, I am sorry to report that it did not survive the night.