Rabbits/Help Babies Stuck Under Spa
QUESTION: Our rabbit was briefly stolen (we ourselves had inherited her when she showed up in our backyard in Nevada and had posted a million "lost rabbit signs" but no one claimed her). 2 days after she had been stolen from our yard and after posting a MILLION flyers offering a $200 reward for her return, she was returned by a neighbor….. All good although the rabbit seemed very traumatized….It is now 3 weeks later and from under my spa last night which is a minuscule crawl space completely tiled over, we heard scratching….
Yep, tucked away behind the spa that is fully encased we can JUST see 2 baby rabbits…. We now know that our rabbit is female and we now have 2 baby rabbits (at least). While seemingly healthy, they won't come out (of course) and are well and truly back there….Mother is still feeding them – they seem healthy from what we can see but having googled, I am desperately concerned:
1) That the ammonia of their urine may kill them – they are obviously living in their own waste at this point (and the smell is strong)
2) I need to remove a wall to get them out (would do it if the babies need to be rescued
3) They may be living with other dead carcasses
I have put some pellets as far into the area as I can and I have put some water at the entry as the only bowl I could try to squeeze back there the mother tipped over.
I literally can't tell you how concerned I am…. Again, if I have to remove a wall I will but even that worries me as the noise and dust surely would scare them half to death if not to death…
Thank you -
ANSWER: Hi Emma:
First, thank you for being caring enough to adopt your bunny in the first place and for being concerned enough to post signs and offer a reward when she went missing. You are certainly a caring and dedicated owner!!! Any bunny would be lucky to have you.
As for the babies - well, you certainly have a dilemma, but its now quite as bad as you think ☺
I'm going into my 38th year of breeding rabbits and helping others and you wouldn't believe the places bunnies are born~~~~~ Far more complicated than behind your spa.
In order to give you the best solution for this situation, I'll need to know how old the baby bunnies are - or at least approximately how old they are. The age makes a big difference in the solution.
Since you were able to see the baby rabbits - you can get an idea of their age.
1# Are the rabbits still pink #no fur# with their eyes closed?
2# Were their eyes open and did they have some fur?
3# did you see them walking or are they still tummy crawling?
Can you please describe, to the best of your ability, what they look like in terms of eyes #open or closed#, fur #none, some, a lot#, movement #wiggling, walking), etc. The more details you give me, the better I can estimate their age and with that comes the solution.
For now, rest assured that the rabbits are not in danger as long as the mother is feeding them, and clearly she is.
Remember, in the wild rabbits live underground in warrens, often in very tiny dens off those warrens with mass crowding and despite that, they live. Dens of wild rabbits go deep, often 30 or more feet below the surface and are made up of what can be several hundred feet of tunnels with a variety of angles and turns and the only opening for air/ventilation is the single opening at the top which they always cover with grass/sticks/rocks, etc. Wild rabbits live in self-chosen condition with very little oxygen and thrive. Pet bunnies are 99.8% identical to wild rabbits in DNA and can survive in the same conditions. The area behind your spa has more than adequate air flow - so have no worries. In addition, does keep the next free of feces and urine by - eating it. Sounds gross, but its what they do. They eat it until the kits are able to walk around which happens at 9-10 days of age.
Your baby bunnies are fine behind your spa, but lets work on getting them out! ☺
If you provide me the answers to the questions above, I'll help you get the little buggers out.
I'm providing links to photos I've taken of my own baby rabbits through the years - along with the age. They might help you determine the age of the bunnies behind your spa.
Note - this site operates on plain text and does not allow html links - to view the photos you will need to copy and past the web address of each one in your browser address bar. Copy and paste each one beginning with the "h" in "https" for each photo.
Two Day old kits: https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share?s=LaDwk4U2R_0muI5d4yyFrw
Five Day old kits: https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share?s=TGu8Cv2eTQgg9EslBLhaSo
Seven Day old Kits: https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share?s=elg8QfjgTtUp9NnDKwgVGc
Twelve Day old kits: https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share?s=hb0Wfgf4QlIkmTnuJ4hpDs
Sixteen Day old kits: https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share?s=WUrTNFMAQmchnDByR2v63w
Thirty Day (1 month) old kits: https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share?s=XwLoTYTgTY4ktm_K6wGEwQ
42Day (6 weeks) old kits: https://www.amazon.com/clouddrive/share?s=2ocn9zxVQ6wpEzvOK3BNrg
I'll wait for your reply.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: THANK YOU so much .... very very very relieved to hear this (really was trying to think about quietly removing a wall.
38 years - I can understand why - as certainly our rabbit has turned into the most surprisingly great pet/companion- I knew nothing of them as pets before.
I should have said that the babies are about 3-4 weeks - your 30 day photo might be marginally bigger (only marginally) than ours - I had calculated that 32 days from the 2 days she was stolen would have been gestation period which would have made birth date November 22nd approximately (!)...so right on your 30 day photo (which for the record is too adorable for words)...
I had read that they should be surviving on pellets by 1 month so I keep thinking we are in the nick of time but how to get them out and not so scared of me! Also, knowing our rabbit - I am seriously thinking they are surviving on insulation and electrical cords. I have given up my bathroom.
Our rabbit we THINK is a Britannia Petite (or should that be a Petite Brittania)? These rabbits are obviously 50% that and heaven only knows what - we now know one is grey and the other a more fawny colour..
Again, thank you - I have been worried sick and this is very very relieving.
Rabbit kits can be weaned as early as 21 days if necessary. It's not optimal; but they will survive. However, at one month old they are fully self-supporting and have no further need for their momma.
Once you feel confident that the kits are at least a month old, grab the doe and put her in a cage or another room; somewhere that prevents her from getting back under to nurse the kits.
Also - dont push any food/pellets into the area to try and feed them.
The goal is to remove all food sources so their hungry bellies bring them out of hiding - and trust me, it will. Rabbits have an incredibly strong will toward survival and they will go to great lengths to survive. If a food source in one place runs out, they will seek out others and often travel great distances to do so. Even 3 week old kits will go a great distance to get food. They can go with food for a week or more, even at their age, however, they can only go 36 hours without water so its likely that thirst will bring them out before hunger.
If you want to safeguard their survival, then the day before you attempt to bait them to draw them out, mix up some pedialyte - plain with some Snapple brand lemon iced tea. NOT DIET SNAPPLE - the regular. For some odd reason, rabbits love snapple lemon iced tea (however the diet variety can kill them from the artificial sweeteners). The lemon ice tea will attract them and the pedialyte is full of electrolytes and minerals that will give them a boost. Give them a pick-me-up of sorts to get them more mobile.
Rabbits are crepuscular - which means they are active just after sunrise and just before dark. This is also when they feed most activly. They seldom eat in the day and never eat at night. My suggestion is to put some food and a bowl of water about 2 feet outside of the spa they are under. Even better, put some bait food and a bowl of pedialyte/snapple mixed. The best food to bait out young rabbits is very ripe banannas. Rabbits love them, they are very good for them, and they have a strong smell. Papaya and Mango work just as well. Then sit somewhere they cant see you just as the sun comes up and again as it goes down (each day) and wait for them. Perhaps you can have a fishing net handy - because they ARE lighting fast and since they have not had human contact, they will be terrified of humans and dash back under the moment they see you. Wait for them to come out and capture them.
My suggestion would be that for the first day - put down the bait and liquid and leave it down for a full 24 hours - so they good a good long sniff of it. After a day, put it down only during sunrise and sunset (while you are waiting for them) and if they dont come out, pick it back up. You want to teach them that if they want to eat they must come out at a certain time; and they will learn the routine fast.
It may take a day or two once momma stops feeding for them to wander out, but not longer than that. You may have to sit on guard for a couple days, but you'll get 'em :-D
Now - the potentially concerning part.... (i hate that....) - Are there any wires that the babies or momma could reach within the area they are nesting? If so, then your attempt to get them out should be escalated. Rabbits are more destructive to wires than rats, mice, squirrels and chipmunks combined. They will chew on any wire they can find. If there are none, then no worries, take your time.
Please let me know if you need any further help with capturing them. Also, if you need assistance on caring for them once you have them, please let me know.
I'd like it if you could let me know how this works out for you. I'll wait to hear back.
Best wishes for the holidays.