An Easter reminder of what Wild Things Sanctuary wildlife heroes have achieved, lives they've saved, and dreams they dream!
Happy Easter from Wild Things!

An Easterrn Cottontail about to be released
A young Eastern Cottontail about to be released after a long recovery

     Happy Easter Wild Things! Spring is here and that means Wild Things Sanctuary is getting ready for it's hundreds of baby patients that arrive for help every year.

     Baby bunnies are among some of the most numerous patients at Wild Things. Sometimes their mothers disappear and they are left as orphans, but often their nests are disturbed by cats, dogs and even lawnmowers. If the babies are injured or have been in the mouths of pets, then they usually need to go to a wildlife rehabilitator: pet's mouths carry deadly germs. However, in many cases, even if a nest has been destroyed, babies can be returned to their mothers. Baby bunnies may be the most difficult babies to be kept alive in rehabilitation. Babies rely on nutrients from their mother to set up their digestive systems to process nutrients. Baby bunnies can also be difficult eaters and it can be hard to get enough calories into their tiny bodies. For these reasons, keeping babies with their bunny mothers is always the best option if possible.

A two day old baby bunny
A 2-day old baby bunny

     But how do you know if their mother is still around to care for them? Even if the mother is present you may not see her. Baby bunnies are left in their nests for most of the day while their mother is out eating.
If a bunny nest has been disturbed, do not take the baby bunnies, but put them back into their nest or reconstruct the nest in the same place where the original nest was found and replace the babies in this nest. Watch for 24 hours to see if the mother returns. …But you still may not see the elusive mom! Mama bunnies usually feed their babies after dark, between midnight and 5am, and are secretive so that no predators (including humans) learn where their vulnerable babies are hidden. Put a string or ribbon over the nest in the evening, and if by the next morning that has been moved, this is good evidence that the mother has returned to look after her babies (TIP: place the strings in a crisscross pattern across the nest). If you want definite proof that the babies are being cared for, check them early each morning. They should be warm and round-bellied. You may even see milk in the lower part of their tummy if the fur is still thin (it looks white under the skin). The best way to know for sure is to weigh them on a small postage scale or kitchen scale. Write down a description and the weight. If they're gaining weight (1/4 oz./4-6g or so), they are being fed. A mother may also move her babies to a safer location once the nest has been disturbed.

Baby bunnies, about 3 weeks old
Baby bunnies, about 3 weeks old
      Be a guardian angel to these tiny babies if a nest is on your property. Ironically, bunnies often chose to nest near people as that keeps native predators less likely from coming near their precious babies. Keep your pets away from the nest while the babies are still present. Though some people find this an inconvenience, you don't have to do it for long, just a few weeks can mean life and death to these babies. Baby bunnies set out on their own when they are only 3-4 weeks and still very small. 
     This also means that if you find a small baby, it may already be independent. Youngsters leave their mothers when they are about the size of a tennis ball and are often mistaken for orphans. In most cases they
may have already left the nest and it is best to leave them alone. Rehabilitators like to use the idea: "If it can flee, let it be!"

Release time!
Release time!
     One of the most important things to keep in mind is: DON'T TRY TO RAISE THE BABY ON YOUR OWN!! As stated above, bunnies may be the most difficult babies to raise. The little Cottontail in the picture at the top of this page was the only survivor of a litter that a good-intentioned member of the public tried to raise. Unfortunately, she did not know about the right formula or feeding amounts/schedules. The babies came to Wild Things weighing about a third of their appropriate weight and a few of them were blind from being malnourished. This little one made it, but at 3-4 weeks it's bones started to bend and break: it was suffering from metabolic bone disease brought on by lack of nutrition and an improper balance of nutrients. He had to be kept in a small cage for weeks to limit movement and was given special supplements. At 2 1/2 months he was all better and ready to go: a happy ending despite hard-time set-backs.

A compomised spine due to metabolic bone disease
This bunny's spine did not develop correctly due to metabolic bone disease

The bunny table
The "bunny table": everything that is needed to feed and treat baby bunnies with digestive upset. You can see that it takes a lot!

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Orphaned Great Horned Owl
Easter Wildlife Tip!

Considering having a tree removed?
Think before you chop!

Pictured here, a Great Horned Owl baby (above) and baby Grey Squirrel (below) recover at Wild Things after being injured and separated from their parents when their nests came tumbling down after their trees were cut down.

If you have to take down a tree, observe it for a few days before taking action; you may find that you have a few baby birds or other animals who live in the tree.  Wait until the babies have moved out until you displace them from their home.

Don't look upon waiting for the babies to grow up as an inconvenience, but as a chance to be a guardian angel, helping vulnerable babies stay with their parents and survive. Songbirds may need only a couple of weeks to grow from nestlings to fledglings and leave their nests, other animals take longer.

If you have to remove a tree, try “re-nesting”: place the real nest or a handmade nest in a nearby tree at about the same height as the original nest, a mother will often return once she can hear her babies’ calls. Keep watch & if that doesn’t work, contact a wildlife rehabilitator. You can also try to encourage a mother to relocate her babies to another location by making noise near the nest. For more ideas see WTS' Living with Wildlife.

FYI: Handle birds carefully, but don’t worry about smell…mamas of all species wills till take babies back who have been handled by humans.
A baby squirrel lost his home when his tree was cut down

Baby Bunny Montage!

Newborn baby bunnies

Bunnies about 8 days old

Sleeping baby

Ears up! About 2-3 weeks old

Release day! Can you see them? They blend well into the forest environment!
A baby mallard

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Mission Statement
Wild Things Sanctuary (WTS) is dedicated to helping native wildlife through rescuing and rehabilitating debilitated and orphaned/displaced animals until they are ready for release back into the wild. Eventually, WTS is also aiming to provide a sanctuary for non-releasable native animals.

WTS is also committed to improving the well-being of wildlife through public education; focusing on how humans can safely and peacefully coexist with native wildlife, and on wildlife’s importance to man and the environment.
Copyright © 2012 Wild Things Sanctuary, All rights reserved.
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