Rabbits residing in the wild tend to dig burrows and make nests for living. It is also their safe place to stay away from danger and other potential predators. Rabbits will prepare the nests in every area they feel safe and effective. But these spots might not be convenient for you.
It is better not to relocate the rabbit nest from its original location. Rabbits, being territorial animals, do not like it if you move their nest. If it is crucial to move their nest due to a threat, try your best not to shift it more than 10 feet from the initial area. Sometimes the mother rabbit will refuse to take care of the babies if their nest is moved.
What will happen if I move a nest, and does it affect the rabbits? If you notice the rabbit nest on your lawn, then you have to know how to handle it. It is crucial to learn more about how to shift or protect the nest.
Rabbit Burrow Vs. Rabbit Nest
Wild rabbits are different and excited to make a home. But it is crucial to understand the differences between a rabbit nest and a rabbit burrow.
For entry-level owners, a nest is particular and crucial for the mother and her newborn baby rabbits. Babies live in the nests for around three weeks. By this time, they wean off and are ready to live by themselves. Meanwhile, the burrow is an underground hole or tunnel. Many wild rabbits live in burrows because it is their safe shelter.
In other words, a burrow is an underground tunnel. It can result in many burrows dug by other rabbits. Wild rabbits stay in social groups, known as herds. They will make burrows under the ground to stay there. The term ‘warren’ means a group of burrows.
The rabbit burrows are the same as our homes. They have many doors to the central living room, and all the rabbit meets here.
Many rabbit families live in the warrens in a societal structure. One family will have a male (buck), a female (doe), and baby rabbits (kits).
How Do The Rabbit Nest Look Like
The mother rabbit uses the nest only to care for the babies until they wean off. After that, they will abandon it. It is a procedure only for particular species of rabbits. Many varieties of rabbits stay in burrows with their family. The cottontail rabbits are the type to live in nests.
When the mother rabbits are nursing the baby rabbits, the nests are hidden, and it is hard to detect them. You might not even recognize where the rabbit nest is present.
There are fallen leaves and tiny shrubs along with the mother’s fur in the nest. Mother rabbits use this method to conceal the nest from predators and unnecessary fame. The mother’s skin insulates the babies and prevents them from being cold. For providing a decent place for the baby rabbits, the mother will dig some inches into the ground and keep the nest.
The density of the above insulation ranges from some inches to a half foot. It develops a nice boundary for the baby rabbits to mature. The baby rabbits live in the nest for only up to 3 weeks. After that, they will become mature and live by themselves.
When the mother gives birth, the eyes and ears of the baby rabbits are closed and do not have fur to remain warm. Babies take up to 15-20 days to come out of the nest. In general, one nest can accommodate from 1 to 12 babies. But, on average, every nest includes five baby rabbits.
Many nests are near the shrubs or plants and are difficult to see. Based on the lay of the ground, sometimes the babies can get out of the nest with the necessary protection. Kids and pets who play in the soil tend to discover these nests.
Remember, several cottontail rabbits stay in nest-like patterns. But these patterns are dents in a stone or the soil, and they build their house there.
How To Shift The Rabbit Nest
When it is about relocating the nest, rabbits find it hard. It can make the female and baby rabbits very anxious and sometimes hostile. In many situations, it is better not to shift the rabbit nest. But, if it is crucial to move their nest because of possible dangers, you can relocate the tent.
If you stroke the baby rabbit, the mother will abandon it, this is a famous myth, which in reality is wrong. By touching it, your smell will be on the baby rabbit, but the mother rabbit would not stop nursing it. It is better to resist caressing the baby rabbits too much.
“It is best not to stay around the nest for a long time. The mother will not refuse to nurse the baby rabbit if the baby has humans’ or other pet scents. But you might get unnecessary attention to their area.” – Here is the source
The baby rabbits have many chances of getting wounded if others did not handle it properly. When the baby rabbit moves too much, it gets anxious and might harm itself, or sometimes it will die.
Besides that, if there is any disturbance in the nest, the female rabbit would not leave her babies. If you spend plenty of time near the nest, the mother rabbit starts to feel fear. Fear or anxiety is one of the potential reasons for the mother to abandon the nest.
Making A New Nest
If there is any danger for the nest and the babies in their original place, it is better to relocate them. Before that, dig the ground within 10 feet from the original nest and try not to exceed this distance. It is best to create a new nest around a similar size as the previous one. An ordinary rabbit nest measures 4 inches in depth and 5 inches in width.
After preparing it, make sure to switch the baby rabbits from their original nest to the new one. It is better to encircle the nest with the previous materials. Remember, get some fur from the mother rabbit to make it as insulation for babies. If you use the same fabrics from the old nest, the mother rabbit can discover the nest. It offers the female a decent chance to acknowledge the new nest.
In general, the best thing is to keep the nest in its original location. The baby rabbits would leave this nest after three weeks, and after that, you do not need to handle it. Because of this, if possible, wait till the babies leave by themselves.
How To Preserve The Rabbit Nest Without Shifting It
Here is another batch of questions – what can I do to protect the nest during the three weeks? How to save the baby rabbits so that the dog or other predators would not kill them? How to keep the baby rabbits away from the playing children? What should I do to make the babies safe from yard tools, which I use for maintaining the yard to look neat?
Rabbits tend to breed from March to September. Every month, the rabbits can have many litters, and each litter has several babies. Many owners will do the yard work when their rabbits are breeding, and it can be a threat to their nest.
Not Realizing Where The Rabbit Nest Is
Some owners face this situation – they think there is a rabbit nest in the yard but do not have an idea of its location. During these circumstances, it is better to resist yourself from doing a few yard tasks.
Sometimes mother rabbits place and conceal their nests in the grass. Due to this, it is also good to prevent trimming your lawn. Besides that, restrain yourself from raking or shifting too much between the flower beds and lawns. You can supervise the things you have to do but be careful not to move the rabbit nest.
Realizing Where The Rabbit Nest Is
If you are confident about the location of the rabbit nest, your task is a lot easier. As you are aware of the area the rabbit nest is, you can stay away from there. Due to this, there would not be any problem, and you can try a few things to keep their nest safe from outdoor forces.
If you have another kind of pet in your home, ensure that they do not know the location of the rabbit nest. Be more careful about the outdoor nests. If possible, it is better to bring them inside. When they are outside, supervise their actions. Keep away the other pets from roaming around in the yard, so they can not go near the baby rabbits.
If the other type of pet notices the location of the rabbit nest, then keep them far away so that they can not go near the nest. It is better to fix a gate from which the mother rabbit can slide through, but the other pet can not pass it. This method helps you in keeping away the other pet from the rabbit nest. Besides that, the mother rabbit can always go to her baby rabbits.
During a downpour or even a hurricane, the babies might suffer from drowning, trauma, and other dangers. You can avoid this situation by keeping a protective layer on the top of their nest if there is a storm or snow. This way, their nest will be safe from water, and also the rabbits are safe.
Rabbits are very particular when it comes to the area of their nests. They will make a fuss when they find that their nest is at some other place. Though shifting the nest is the best to avoid, you can still do it with particular care. The mother rabbit might be against this, but if you place her fur with the baby rabbits, the mother becomes calm. You should relocate the nest in the cleanest and subtle situations and only if it is crucial.