Rabbits

Did you find a BABY rabbit?

Rabbits nest in a shallow “scrape” in the ground lined with, and covered by, a mixture of dried grass and the mother’s fur. Finding babies alone in the nest is normal, as the mother only visits twice per day to nurse, usually at dusk and dawn when no one is around. If you find a nest of rabbits you can check whether they are orphaned by performing the “String Test”.  To do this, cover the nest back up with the dried grass + fur mixture and fashion a large “X” or "tic-tac-toe pattern" on top of the nest using string, yarn or small twigs. Leave the nest overnight and check it the next day.  If the pattern is displaced or pushed aside but the nest is still covered, the mother is caring for them and no intervention is needed. If the "X" or "tic-tac-toe pattern" is undisturbed after 12 hours, please call 713-468-8972.

If a dog has attacked the nest, place only the injured babies into a box. Leave the healthy ones in the nest, perform the “String Test” described above, and keep the dog away from the nest. Call us immediately to make arrangements to bring the injured ones in.  If a cat or unknown animal has attacked the nest, place all babies (injured and healthy) into a box, follow the Temporary Care Instructions for All Animals on the previous page and call us at 713-468-8972.

Have you found an injured ADULT rabbit?

If you have found an injured adult rabbit, please follow the instructions under “Does the animal seem to be ill or injured?” on the previous page.

General Information about Rabbits in the Houston area

The two species of rabbits commonly seen in the Houston area are the eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus)and the swamp rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus). In Houston, we typically see rabbit babies heavily from March to May, and sporadically from June-August. However, it is not uncommon to see a few babies as early as January or as late as November. At about 3 weeks of age, bunnies, (who are about the size of a hamster) are independent. Babies whose bodies are at least 4 inches long, ears are erect, can hop around quickly, and avoid people are likely independent.

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