Not all baby bunnies are orphaned. Learn more here.
If you find a baby or a cottontail, it is important to try and determine whether they are still dependent on their parents or if they are good to go on their own.
As always, if they have any obvious injuries, such as a limp, open wounds or any external bleeding or if they were attacked by an animal of any kind, it is best to call The Wildlife Center of Southwest Florida.
A good rule of thumb is to determine if they are independent: If they are the size of a softball (about 11-12 inches) or larger, are alert with ears up and eyes open, they are probably OK; learning to make it on their own and it’s best to keep the family pets (dogs, cats, etc) away and just let them be.
If they are still dependent on their parents they will be smaller than a softball, their eyes may be closed and their ears may be laid back against their body.
Please check for nests before mowing your lawn! You can protect the nest while you do so by placing a laundry basket over it. Once you finish with your lawn please remove the basket.
A cottontail’s nest is usually a shallow divot or depression on the ground, generally these nests are under a plant or a tree with some brush covering it. The mother will come back for feedings at dawn and dusk. Cottontails do not burrow. The nests are lined with various grasses and their mother's fur.
Cottontails have no scent, the mother stays away from the nest (except for feeding times) to prevent predation.
If you find a disturbed nest we advise that you lay an array of small twigs in a criss cross pattern over the nest. You can check the next later on to see if the twigs have been disturbed; if they have been disturbed, it is a good sign the mother has been back for feedings. If the nest is left undisturbed for 12 hours, the cottontails inside probably need your help. We ask that you give us a call.