I’ve just returned from the wildlife clinic. They will be tending to the medical needs of our overnight visitor, after which they will hand the bunny over to a wildlife rehab center. That’s assuming the little darling survives.
I say that because its condition deteriorated even after a hopeful improvement overnight. This morning I enjoyed seeing the baby rabbit breathing normally, hopping around a bit, and looking significantly less frazzled and panicked than it had looked the night before.
Yet it seemed to turn in the other direction shortly before we left for the clinic. Its breathing slowed dramatically and it became lethargic.
None of that means the situation is hopeless, though, since it’s so young that it might just need IV fluids and some warm milk given via syringe. Well, that and antibiotics to stop any current or possible infection of its wounds, which also need to be treated. And I’m assuming it has no internal damage.
At least I know it’s getting the medical attention it needs, and it can get whatever nutritional support it needs that I’m not equipped to offer. I’m hoping for the best.
Meanwhile, let me introduce you to Little Bunny Foo Foo. And forgive me for using that name. The damn childhood rhyme has been bouncing around inside my head since I discovered the two little rascals.
First to provide some scale, here’s a photo showing the baby sitting in my hand.
As you can see, it was quite small. If it stretched out completely, it was about as long as my hand. That’s not very big at all.
That image also shows part of the huge wad of fresh grass in the bathtub. I pulled a wide variety from around the area, and I pulled roots and leaves to make it as natural and comfortable as possible.
When I first put the bunny in the bathtub right at the edge of the grass bed, it suddenly seemed horribly small, unbelievably disproportionate to its new environment.
I even put the stopper in the drain for fear it might get caught in the hole. Mind you, that’s also why I felt it would be safe in the bathtub. It was simply too small to get out.
After I made sure it had water and plenty of bedding, I left it alone. Only without me hovering around could it calm down and find some level of comfort.
Much later when I returned to check on it, I found it snuggled up on one side of the green pallet.
I then left it alone for the night.
This morning I went first thing to the bathroom as I feared it might not have survived. Getting through the dark hours was its greatest challenge. If it had been too hurt, it likely would have succumbed to its wounds while I slept.
Although its position in the grass had changed, and the entire mass appeared to have been slept in in several spots—or at least trampled down—I was thrilled to see the little bunny had indeed lived through the night. In fact, it seemed to have a bit more vigor and vitality.
Finally it was time to go. I had called the wildlife rescue clinic as soon as it opened. They were happy to hear it had survived even though its sibling had not, and they were looking forward to its arrival. The veterinarian had been informed of its worsening condition and wounds.
I went in the bathroom and scooped up the rabbit and grass together, placed them in a small box, and carried that out to the car with me. It took only about five minutes to get to the clinic.
My sincere hope is that the bunny requires nothing more extreme than proper nutrition and some minor health care. It certainly had gone through enough already. I think it deserves to live.
But there is a dark side to this story, as I mentioned before. It was not just one baby rabbit that I found. There were two, but only one of them was alive.
To save those of weak emotional constitutions the undue burden of seeing photos of the body (before it quickly vanished), I’ve placed them below the fold.
Note: I am not posting these because I have a morbid fascination with carnage and death. I’m posting them to illustrate that nature can be both wondrous and cruel, both captivating and vile, and it is only through death that life goes on. I respect the natural processes—the circle of life, if you will—so I do not shun away from the terrible manifestations put forth by living things.
I strongly suspect the frightful scream I heard from the patio emanated from the baby rabbit I saved. Once I discovered the dead one, it appeared to have been there long enough for the blood to begin drying. Low humidity would have helped that process, I know, but not that quickly.
Still, the crimson pool under the poor creature’s head was still wet, a coagulating mass of life that had poured out of its small body.
You can also see the excreted material had begun to dry as well.
I so wanted to weep over this tiny body. Yet, as I made clear originally, I never had the time.
But let me stress this: I seriously mean it was a tiny body. You’ve already seen the live one sitting in my hand, and that demonstrated how small it was. Here’s another perspective on their size—my hand next to the dead rabbit.
Small. Innocent. Too cute to have died such a tragic death, and certainly undeserving of the unmitigated terror visited upon it by a ruthless yet capable predator.
But quarry is how things survive. Prey offers in death a bit of life for another. I realize that, but I find no reason to wallow in it.
To have found the body so quickly taken, though, certainly proved that the killer had not run away as I at first assumed. Its noisy escape was actually a raucous change of location in order to hide. It obviously had remained quite nearby. It took me less than a minute to carry the camera back inside, yet that was all the time it needed to return to the patio, retrieve its kill, and make a silent escape.
That’s another reason I suspect it was a cat of some kind. The other hunters in this area are either too large to move that quickly and quietly, or are of the type that would not have left the body there after the kill.
So either a bobcat or a domestic cat is most likely to blame for this scenario. Out of the two, I would go with the domestic cat option. The patio doesn’t exactly provide ample ways for a larger cat to get in and out in such a short time without having to go over the fence—or squeeze carefully through the one hole large enough to offer a possible avenue for entering and exiting the veranda.