Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Seven Little Cottontails

Unlike Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter who "were born in a sand-bank, underneath the root of a very big fir-tree", and gathered blackberries down the lane, that is, all but Peter who raided Mr. McGregor's garden; these seven little cottontail bunnies were born in a poop pile.

Lest you think ill of their mother, let me remind you that winter was long in passing and these little bunnies were born when snow covered the ground and it was cold. Newborn rabbits look similar to baby mice, all pink, and they have only a minute amount of fur. Since a manure pile generates a great deal of heat as it decomposes, creating a burrow inside this horse manure pile was smart, for it kept mother rabbit's little ones warm as she was gone from morning to dark foraging for food. Then, when she returned she'd nestle with her babies and fed them throughout the night.

Mrs. McGregor put Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter's father into a pie, but Pumpkin, the neighbor's gentle mare, doesn't mind sharing her food or her manure pile. These three - four week old bunnies haven't far to go to nipple on the hay, which was probably their first taste of solid food. By four to five weeks of age they will be weaned.

To enlarge pictures double click on photos

A wonderful web-site that explains raising orphaned wild cottontail rabbits is I wish I would have had this site when we tried many years ago to raise a wild cottontail that we found in the road by our corrals. Meadow (the baby rabbit) was a day old when we brought her home and lived sixteen day. Now, I have a better idea why she died. I thought I'd over fed her but this site changed my mind.

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