A HARE IN THE HOUSE – the successful hand-rearing of a Brown Hare

Bambi 3

It all started with a phone call, as these things often do.  It was the 2nd of September, and as I was checking the calls left on the answer machine, I came across a message that sounded urgent.  It appeared that the callers’ partner was a pilot of a small plane that was kept in an airfield, the runway of which was basically a field with the grass kept short by an industrial-sized lawn mower.   That day, the mower had accidentally run over a group of baby rabbits (or hares, the lady was not sure which), and she did not know what to do.  Apparently the mower had struck 4 babies, two of which were killed almost instantly, one ran away (perhaps injured, perhaps not) and one stayed put in sheer terror, and it was this one that ended up in a box in the lady’s kitchen.  She went to a local pet shop to find out what she should do with it, and was advised to contact me here at CottonTails®.

By this stage it was getting late, so I suggested that the lady put baby and box (lined with pulled grass) somewhere quiet and warm overnight and to bring it to me in the morning if it was still alive.  To be honest I was not expecting the door bell to ring, as most cases like this sadly pass away from shock within hours.  I was also expecting a young rabbit, as I have only once had a brown hare come into the rescue in almost 20 years of running CottonTails®, and that was handed in from someone who had accidentally hit it with their car.  That one lasted about 20 minutes, and there was nothing I could do.

 The next morning arrived and, to my surprise the lady did indeed turn up with the rabbit/hare in the boot of the car.  I decided to examine it there as a precaution before bringing it in, just in case it was a rabbit with myxomatosis, but when I cautiously opened the box it was apparently immediately I was dealing with a hare after all, a tiny little leveret cowering in the corner!

Bambi 1

I was aware that the leveret had not had any food for over 36 hours, so the first thing I had to do was prepare some kitten milk for him.  I decided to use Beaphar Kitty Milk (made up at a concentration of 1 flat scoop to 15mls cooled boiled water) and add in the probiotic Avipro Plus (1 flat scoop to 100mls milk).  I have hand-reared many baby rabbits over the years, so was not surprised that the leveret only took a small amount during this first feed.

Bambi 2

I settled him down in a small inside cage with a towel draped over the top to give him some security, and placed him in the kitchen where he was warm.  Leverets are born fully furred with their eyes open so don’t really need heated pads, unlike rabbits that are born naked and blind and rely on mum’s pulled fur and their siblings to keep them warm.  He weighed 128grams, and fitted easily into the palm of my hand.