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Orphaned Eastern Cottontails


Although our local Eastern Cottontail rabbits are very adorable, they DO NOT make good pets. It is important to not take these babies out of the wild unnecessarily, or as we call it “rob the nest”. If you see a nest of bunnies with no sight of mom, do not panic. Momma Cottontails do not stay around the nest during the day to avoid drawing predators to her babies. She is corpuscular, meaning she will be at her nest only at dawn and dusk to feed her little ones. The nest will consist of grass clippings, natural materials and mom’s warm underbelly fur. If the nest has been disturbed, simply put back the materials.


If you are concerned that something has happened to the mom and you would like to see if she is coming back, you can place thick string, dental floss, shoelaces or thin sticks in a tic-tac-toe pattern across the nest. Check the nest after dawn or dusk to see if the strings have been disturbed to tell if mom is coming back. If they haven’t, contact CWCC by texting us photos of their backs and bellies so that we can determine their health.


Injured Eastern Cottontails

If the babies or an adult rabbit have been in a dog or cats mouth, they need antibiotics immediately, even if they do not seem injured. If the nest is flooded, they will need to come into care. If the babies look wrinkled, skinny or are covered with ants/bugs, please contact us immediately. You can always text us a photo directly at 980-389-1133.

Adult rabbits are very susceptible to being hit by cars. If you have found an injured adult, please handle it very carefully with a towel, place it in a dark, warm, quiet box and contact us. It is important to note that adult’s back legs are extremely strong so be very mindful of their kicks and use your towel to secure them. Handle them as little as possible and as they are a prey animal and are very susceptible to stress related death. Keep dog, cats and children away from them. DO NOT feed or give the animal water but instead wait for further instructions. 


A rabbit nest in your yard?

How to protect a rabbit's nest from dogs

Our goal is always to keep healthy baby animals with their healthy mother. We do not want to remove babies from their mother if at all possible. Dogs commonly find rabbit nests in the backyard and homeowners become concerned for the safety of the babies. A simple way to keep the babies safe is through the laundry basket trick. Simply cut an adult rabbit sized hole in the side of the basket and place it over the nest and weigh it down. Rabbits typically stay in the nest until four weeks of age so they should be on their way soon. 

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