There are a number of possibilities that can happen when you touch a wild baby bunny, but the most common concerns are:
- The bunny might get stressed and may even die
- It might give you an infection
Why Touching A Baby Rabbit A Bad Idea?
There is a list of risk factors involved when touching a baby bunny.
Wild baby bunnies are carriers of many dangerous viruses that can infect you.
Tetanus is caused by bacteria called Clostridium tetani, which can be found in wild baby rabbits.
If a bunny bites you or you already have an open wound from where the bacteria could enter your body, only then can you catch the infection.
Tetanus is not fatal, but it can cause painful muscles.
Feral rabbits can transfer rabies to humans through their saliva.
So, only if a baby bunny bites you or a scratch on your skin allows the bunny’s saliva to enter your body, then you can catch rabies.
Although no research to this date has reported such an incident in which a human got rabies from a rabbit, it is a possibility.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, don’t touch a wild rabbit.
Rabbits that live in the open have a high chance of getting infested with fleas.
This means a feral baby bunny in your backyard can have the said parasites, which can affect you too if you pick up the little bud.
But the good news is that if such a thing happens, you don’t have to worry about getting fatally sick.
Moreover, you can even help the bunny be free of fleas by using the appropriate treatment products.
You can also read a complete guide on how to get rid of fleas in rabbits.
Wild rabbits are known to be transmitters of tularemia, an infection that leads to diarrhea, pneumonia, a fever, loss of appetite, and some flu-like symptoms.
Tularemia can be more weakening for humans than it is for rabbits.
Generally, a person starts exhibiting symptoms after a day, but it can also take three weeks to happen.
In North America, the major host of bacterial diseases is the cottontail breed. Signs of tularemia include swollen diarrhea, pneumonia, or flu-like signs.
Parasite Encephalitozoonosis is responsible for this infection in bunnies. This virus impacts liver and kidneys.
But typically, those with a weak immune system are affected by it.
If you hold a bunny infected with Encephalitozoonosis, you could get it, but only if you come in contact with the rabbit’s urine.
Rabbits are naturally high-strung and can die if they suspect danger.
If someone holds a wild baby bunny, they can trigger anxiety in the scared little fellow, which can lead to death.
Nervousness or stress can be too much for a baby bunny’s heart and result in a fatal heart attack.
So, if you find an already fearful rabbit in your backyard, don’t add to its fear by touching/holding it.
When Is It Okay For You to Touch/Hold A Bunny?
If it’s visibly hurt.
Since the mother rabbit is always close by, you don’t have to worry much about baby bunnies in your yard.
However, if you notice any of them bleeding or noticeably struggling in any way, pick them up. Or you can call a wildlife officer to take the injured animal to a shelter where a vet can check and treat it.
Keep the following things in mind when you think you need to hold a baby rabbit.
- Don’t handle the bunny straightaway without any preamble
- First, gently touch the little fellow to familiarize them with your touch.
- Once you see that they are no longer trying to run away or trembling out of fear, pick them up.
- Put them in a box and create tiny holes in it in order to keep the bunny from suffocating.
- Take the box to wildlife experts and let them take over the case.
To reduce your chances of picking up a disease from a feral little bunny, put on protective gear, a mask, and gloves, before making contact.
What To Do When You Find A Bunny Nest In Your Yard?
As animal lovers, many good-natured humans feel the urge to pick up a helpless little bunny when they see one or more lying in a nest in their yard.
But doing that can be fairly dangerous for both the bunny and the person.
A hairless wild bunny can kick in the protective instinct in humans, urging them to help the tiny animal.
However, there are only some particular ‘safe’ ways of helping a baby rabbit, and those do not include touching the bunny.
- When you come across a bunny nest with motherless little fellows in it, try not to startle them by handling them yourself.
- Don’t rush into picking them up, instead wait for the mother to show up.
- Meanwhile, mark the area using a flag or any other marker to notify everyone who comes in your backyard that some tiny rabbits are inhabiting there.
- If you have other pets or curious kids, consider putting up a transparent fence around the nest to save the bunnies from being inadvertently harmed by anyone.
How Can You Find A Wild Baby Bunny?
Typically, you can come across a wild baby bunny in a small crater in the ground, known as a bunny nest in your backyard.
Most people stumble upon the tiny bud while mowing or doing any other kind of yard work.
However, many times a person can step on the nest without realizing and end up killing or injuring the newborn babies.
When wild bunnies are born, they are too weak to do anything, so the mother rabbit digs up a bowl-like depression in the ground to keep its babies.
Made with grass and fur, a baby nest is too small, almost unnoticeable, which is why many people can miss it and land on it, killing the miniature rabbits in the process.
Why Mother Bunnies Make A Nest?
A doe rabbit builds small crater-shaped habitats for its little ones, but it doesn’t stay with the kids.
After settling baby bunnies in their nest, the mother goes off on her business, leaving the helpless children behind.
This is why more often than not, a homeowner finds baby bunnies alone in the nest and assumes that they need to be rescued. However, that’s not the case.
A mother rabbit leaves her babies because she doesn’t want her scent to attract predators and harm her offspring.
And since newborn bunnies don’t have a smell of their own, they are less likely to be picked up by a wild animal when left unsupervised.
But the doe bunny is never too far away from her kids; she is always lingering around to keep an eye on the nest.
And when it’s feeding time, which typically comes at dawn and dusk, she makes her way towards her kids.
Long story short, baby bunnies stay without a parent during the early weeks of their life, which is generally the period when they are hairless.
Baby bunnies can appear irresistibly cute and tiny, forcing you to pet the one in your yard.
But don’t let your feelings take over your reason and follow the correct protocol to prevent damage to the bunny or yourself.
Oh, and most importantly, be very careful when mowing your lawn and not injure any tiny wild bunnies.
The best way to ensure that is by scanning the area thoroughly before starting any yard work.
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