A rabbit who is 4 inches long, hops well and has open eyes and erect ears is independent from their mother and should be allowed to fend for themselves. Uninjured baby rabbits in an intact nest should also be left alone. Although they might look abandoned because mom isn’t around, mother rabbits visit their dependent young only a few times a day to avoid attracting predators. If the nest has been disturbed, lightly cover it with natural materials you find around the nest, like grass, fur or leaves, and follow these steps:
- Keep all pets out of the area.
- Avoid touching the babies, because foreign smells may cause the mother to abandon their young.
- Use yarn or string to make a tic-tac-toe pattern over the nest to assess whether the mother is returning to nurse their young. Check back 24 hours later.
- If the yarn or string was moved aside but the nest is still covered with fur, grass or leaves, the mother has returned to nurse their babies.
- If the “X” remains undisturbed for 24 hours, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.