I hate rabbits. Wild rabbits have eaten at least a couple of hundred dollars worth of perennials I've planted over the past couple of years. And they are everywhere in our neighborhood.
Today I picked my daughter up from her school and there was a large group of kids clustered around something close to the entrance of the school. It turned out it was a baby rabbit, lying almost hidden in the grass right on the edge of the school yard where the grass turned to concrete (see the picture of an almost identical baby bunny below). A teacher was ensuring the kids got no closer than 10 feet from the bunny.
My daughter and I came home, and later that evening the family had dinner. Over dinner we talked about the baby rabbit. My daughter wanted to go back and see if the rabbit was still there, so after dinner we walked over to the school. Sure enough the rabbit was still there. There was a girl scout meeting happening and one of my daughter's teachers was there. She told us the school groundskeeper had run over the nest with his rider lawnmower early that morning and had seen two baby bunnies run away. We searched all over for the nest (because it is best just to put wild baby rabbits back in their nest) and finally found it utterly destroyed in the middle of the school yard. I have no idea why the mother rabbit would choose to nest in a place where hundreds of kids ran around several times a day.
With a destroyed nest, there was nowhere to put the baby bunny. And the teacher told us there should be a second one around. Some more searching finally revealed it crouched down in the grass. The teacher gave us a cardboard box, and we carried the two babies home. Despite my loathing of adult wild rabbits, these two are pretty much the cutest things I've ever seen, bar none.
When we got home I called a veterinarian friend of mine who specializes in small animals (guinea pigs, rabbits, birds, etc). She asked if they had a white blaze on their forehead. Like the baby in the photo below, they do, although our two rabbits are bigger, and their eyes are wider open and their ears are more upright than the baby rabbit in the picture. According to my friend, the white blaze indicates they are not yet weaned.
So I called the nearest wildlife shelter, which unfortunately is over a half hour drive away (it was too late by that point to make the trip this evening to get there before they closed). The person who answered the phone wasn't sure whether or not they were old enough to be released, but suggested I should just put them outside. They really don't look old enough to be on their own to me, so I am going to err on the side of caution and drive them to the wildlife shelter tomorrow morning.
In the meantime they are in a box in a quiet corner of the house, cozied up with a towel and a pile of hay.
I guess there is part of me that has a soft spot for wild rabbits after all...