Flopsy and Co. in my Back YardPublished April 21, 2008
“Grab your camera and come out to the yard. There’s something you have to see.” The last time my husband told me to come look at something in the yard, this was awaiting me: A massive, creepy, five-inch Hickory Horned Devil. I kinda have a thing for bugs, and this guy was straight out of science fiction. Awesome! Though we live in a typical suburban neighborhood, we’ve had our share of interesting wildlife in our back yard, from a lovesick fox to prehistoric-looking dragonflies. I never know what he’s going to discover when he’s doing lawn work “I’m ready. Are we talking creepy or fuzzy?” I asked as I raced out the door. “Fuzzy. But I’m not sure of what variety. I don’t even know if it’s alive any more. I mowed over it!” I wasn’t excited to see fuzzy carnage, even if it was a yard-destroying mole. He led me to this patch of grass: “What is it? Rats? Squirrels?” He knelt down and gingerly moved the patch of loose fur and grass out of the way and there we saw the creatures’ defining features: Baby bunnies! Three baby bunnies! We watched them fuss and squirm and wondered what to do. Were they abandoned? They didn’t look hungry or weak, just chilly. They took turns diving beneath each other in an effort to remain at the bottom of the pile. They were so agile that it looked like they were swimming around the nest. “Should we bring them inside and feed them? Do these guys need to be saved?” We did some research and learned that our back yard bunny patch was normal, and the babies were just fine. Turns out we let our grass grow too long, and the Mom rabbit decided that the tall grass would make a perfect home for her babies. (Despite the fact that two canine yard patrollers spend plenty of time out there. How did they miss those little guys for ten days?) Mom rabbits only feed their babies once a day, at night or in the very early morning, and there was nothing we could (or should) do to “assist” her in her duties other than make sure that Zeke and Sum left the nest alone. For the next week. Easier said than done. Keeping Zeke and Sumner out of the yard when the weather is nice is nearly impossible, so we improvised a solution that works for all parties: The dog crate stays on top of the nest during the daylight hours and is moved away at nightfall. (The rabbits are too young to do anything but sleep right now.) The guys have shown little interest in the crate, so there’s no fear that they’re going to slip into a primal frenzy and tip it over to get to the bunnies. We’re having a lot of fun checking up on Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, and they don’t seem to mind our curiosity. Now that we know they’re 100% ok (we devised a little test to make sure that Mom was coming every night) we don’t touch them. They’re getting cuter every day, if that’s even possible. Soon they’ll be old enough to hop on down to our garden and eat all of our lettuce, and we’ll end up cursing them just like we do all of the other rabbits in our neighborhood! Until then, we’re in love.
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