Well, the day has finally arrived. This morning when I went to check on their form (the hollowed-out nest lined with straw and rabbit fur), it was empty. One of them was sniffing about nearby in the shadow of a dandelion, so I took a few pictures before it ran away.
I’m not sure if they’ll come back to the form to sleep or not, but the kids have strict instructions to not bug the bunnies. They’re absolutely adorable.
At this moment in time, there is nothing so disturbing as hearing the tiny Elmer Fudd in my head singing, “Killed a wabbit, killed a wabbit, killed a waaaaaaaabbit just now. Oh, I just now killed a wabbit, killed a wabbit just now.”
The good news, however, is that the remaining two babies are fine. I trekked outside around midnight armed with a flashlight and saw the flash of the mother rabbit’s eyes as she sat on her nest. She didn’t bolt, and I backed away slowly and went back inside the house.
When I checked on it this morning, the nest was all tucked into itself securely, so I guess things will turn out okay. I’ll have to make sure the kids don’t disturb it, and have my camera ready in about two weeks when the babies start venturing out to explore my backyard.
“I think I hit a rat.” Words that I really, really wanted to hear as Matthew mowed the meter-high brush under a wood frame propped up in our backyard. He finished off the section, stopped the mower, and we headed back to investigate the burrow.
The remaining two small (intact) critters nosed around as we tried to figure out if we were dealing with rats. I went inside for a pair of tongs and a plastic bowl to put the critters into while we figured out what they were. Wads of grey fuzz fell to the ground as I scooped up the first critter. It would have fit in the palm of my hand; guesses ranged from squirrel to chipmunk. We weren’t certain if the mower had gotten the mother or a sibling, so we gathered them both up (still oblivious as to their species–they were missing the telltale stripes of a chipmunk and tail of a squirrel) and I headed to the Internet to try to figure out what they were. While Googling for “chipmunk orphan,” I had an epiphany. We’d seen a brown rabbit in our headlights while driving up the drive in the past, and these were the size of full-grown chipmunks, but their eyes weren’t even open yet.
They were rabbits! Little baby brown rabbits!
Judging by their size (I weighed the babies in at 57 and 58 grams when I was trying to figure out what they were), they are just shy of a week old. After some hemming and hawing about hand-raising rabbits and figuring out that the mother was probably somewhere off in our backyard avoiding us, I put the nest back together as best I could and put the baby rabbits back into it. Hopefully, the mother will come back and care for them in the remade nest.
My thanks go out to [Heather](http://www.livejournal.com/users/phaeba/) and her extreme Googling skills, as she fed me useful information while I tried to figure out what was living (and breeding) in my backyard.