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Injured or orphaned rabbits

Adult rabbits

If the rabbit has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over or circling, this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care infromation.

Baby rabbits

If the rabbit or bunny has an obvious injury, is bleeding, feels cold or looks sick, or the animal is attempting to move away but is falling over, this animal needs immediate help. Please review our Emergency Care information.

If the animal is not injured, please review the information below to further determine whether your wild animal needs assistance.

Rabbits are a prey species which means they serve as a food source for other animals. This is important to remember as they can stress extremely easily and are very frightened when approached or handled. The mother’s only defense against predators is to not draw any attention to her nest of babies. This is why the infants are only fed twice daily, at dawn and dusk. The mother briefly visits the nest to feed and clean her babies but otherwise stays away and watches over them from a distance; therefore it is very rare to witness this feeding process. When the babies are about the size of a tennis ball at 4 weeks of age, they are completely on their own. 

If you think the baby bunnies in a nest are orphaned please read carefully and follow these instructions FIRST before removing them from their home.

Every year hundreds of bunnies are taken from their mother’s care unnecessarily. If you have already removed the babies; place them back into the same nest site and rebuild the nest to the best of your ability using the original nesting material.

  1. Check the bunnies for any injuries, parasites (such as maggots or many adult flies present), temperature (if they feel cold), or look very thin; these bunnies need immediate help
  2. If they look healthy and are warm, gently place a few small sticks in a recognizable pattern (we recommend a star or X pattern) over the top of the nest. Check the sticks the next morning to see if they have moved. The mother gently lies over the nest to feed so you are looking for slight movements of the sticks.
  3. If the sticks have moved and the babies still look healthy; the mother is taking care of her babies. Please leave them alone from here on out unless there is cause for concern. The mother needs her space to successfully raise her babies. Keep all pets and children away!
  4. If the sticks look as though they have not moved and/or the bunnies are chilled or parasites are present, you can assume the bunnies are orphaned and in need of professional help.

Contact a wildlife rehabilitator, wildlife facility, or a wildlife veterinarian as soon as possible. Do not keep the animal at your home longer than necessary. It is against the law to try and raise these bunnies yourself. Get the animal professional help as soon as possible.

If you find tennis ball size or larger juvenile rabbits in your yard, unless they are obviously injured or feel cold, please leave them alone. They are on their own and do not need help but will “freeze” in fear, allowing people to approach them. Do not handle them unless absolutely necessary as it will only cause more stress and draw dangerous attention to these vulnerable juveniles. If they are in an unsafe location or a window well they can be gently relocated to a nearby safe spot under some brush or covering as long as they are healthy.

Animal Humane Society's Golden Valley location provides care for all wild animals except skunks. We will provide phone advice for skunk situations. Please bring your wild animal directly to the Golden Valley location. If you need further advice or assistance you may call Wildlife Exam at (763) 489-2223.