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Rabbits/NON URGENT Suprise litter of Habbits! Were given a hare told she was domestic short hair. Babies are raised but I fear selling them on may colonise further Habbits?

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Non Urgent as I have raised all the babies born on valentines day this year. We bought a two year old French lop and as we left I was handed a dun grey rabbit and told she was a short hair domestic. On returning home with the lights on I realised she was not domestic and further to that she was identified as a Hare and pregnant at four months old! I could not put her down,,I would not have her euthanized I would do anything to keep Lavender alive and a did she was nursed during the night in bed she would just spread out and she managed to deliver three leverets all individuals some more hare than rabbit. I just don't know what to do about rehoming as due to the breeding line genetic throw back we have a snow hare who is litter trained and  comes out to call. I know there is a fine line between staying wild or domesticating them. They are beautiful,I have a show rabbit and they outshine her! I need your expertise....Do I re home? Do i sell as we have offers but in more concerned that they aren't your average rabbit in a hutch up the back garden. They currently live as a warren each with their own bed and access to run free and come and go as they please in outside with them. Somehow i doubt they would manage the wild, I know you don't have knowledge on wildies but I honestly find your question replys spot on and can only wish to have the wisdom you have. I don't keep very well and the bunnies keep me going I love them so much it would tear me apart to part with them but if giving them to a wildlife rescue or centre is the best thing I would do it as I just want the best for them. Sorry for emotionally writing with tears streaming down my cheeks, I would value your input on any aspect of the young ones Snowdrops, Sweep and Tikey our other buns are French lop Thumper and show bunny Bella, Thanks for taking time to read this xx

Answer
Dear Sammi,

Actually, I have a LOT of experience with wildies.  And you can rest assured that if this is a hare, then her babies are 100% hare, not hybrids.  Hares will not and cannot hybridize with domestic rabbits (or wild European rabbits), though they may socialize with them.  I live with many hares (jackrabbits) and wild cottontails, and none of the species interbreed or show any sexual interest in each other.

I am very glad you would not consider euthanizing her, since that seems beyond drastic. She is a healthy, beautiful animal, so why would anyone even suggest that?  It is beyond me.

That said, do you have wildlife rehabilitation people in the UK?  It might be best for Lavender if she were to be able to be rehabilitated and returned to the wild, especially since hares are in trouble in the UK.  I can connect you with people from a society whose main goal is protection of European Hares, and they might have some ideas about where Lavender might have a safe life, even if it is to live with humans, since she is now habituated to them.

Hares can be quite lovely as companion animals, and if they are used to humans it might not be safe for them to live wild.  They would be at a disadvantage, were hunters to approach.  So another option, if you love her and her babies, would be to let them live with you.

If you were here, I'd offer to take them into our sanctuary.  I do love hares!  I think they are the most beautiful, wonderful creatures on the planet.

If you could send a picture, I would be able to confirm her species identiy so we are sure we're going in the right direction.

Dana

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Dana Krempels, Ph.D.

Expertise

I've lived with companion rabbits for more than 35 years, and consider them members of my family. I can answer any questions about the biology and health of rabbits, from the commonplace to the unusual. But please note:

RULE #1:
THE INTERNET IS NOT THE PLACE TO SEEK HELP IN AN EMERGENCY.

...it is an EMERGENCY.

Find a rabbit vet at www.rabbit.org/vet for immediate help, and don't risk your bunny's life by spending time asking questions online! If you can't get in touch with your vet, read these Emergency Sick Bunny Instructions.

If you have found a wild baby rabbit, please read these EMERGENCY INSTRUCTIONS FOR WILD BABY RABBITS and then use this link to FIND A LOCAL WILDLIFE REHABILITATOR who can give you the right advice.


RULE #2:
Help me help you! Please make your subject line informative if you have an urgent question. then LET ME KNOW IN THE SUBJECT LINE so I can give your question highest priority over non-urgent questions. If you don't do this, then I can't guarantee timely assistance!

For all the best, most accurate rabbit health, care and behavior information, visit The House Rabbit Society.

Experience

I have been rescuing and rehabilitating domestic and wild rabbits for about 30 years. I have written articles for many rabbit rescue publications, as well as for the veterinary journal, Exotic DVM. I own EtherBun, the internet's largest listserve dedicated to health, care, and behavior of domestic rabbits.

Organizations
Houserabbit Adoption, Rescue, and Education, Inc. (H.A.R.E., Inc.) president National House Rabbit Society (Board member)

Publications
Exotic DVM
Warren Peace (Journal of the House Rabbit Society of Miami)
Various newsletters of the House Rabbit Society, nationwide

Education/Credentials
Ph.D - Biology
B.S. - Biology
B.A. - English

Awards and Honors
Lightspan Academic Excellence Award for web site on rabbit health and biology
(http://www.bio.miami.edu/hare)

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