Last night, just as it was getting dark, my wife was hand watering our trees . Suddenly something small and furry shot out of the grass and gave her a bit of start. She shrieked and I jumped into action. I bravely chased down this furry little flash and quickly discovered it was a very frightened baby cotton tail.
The poor little thing was scared to death. It’s tiny little rabbit heart was pounding out about a million beats per minute. I picked it up and held it close. I gently rubbed its little head and rabbit ears and it slowly calmed down long enough for us to get some pictures. After we took the attached pics, we took it back out to its burrow.
This rabbit burrow was very interesting to me. Somehow the mom had hollowed out a den by burrowing under bermuda runners. She had lined this with her fur. All of this was neatly camoflagued under a pile off dried grass that was left over from our last mowing and weed eating.
Since we just mowed a couple of weks ago, and this little guy looked half grown, I was curious about how quickly rabbits mature. According to the National Geographic, cotton tails are born completely helpless. In fact they are so helpless that only about 15% of all babies born survive. The ones that do are weaned at three weeks and leave the nest at seven weeks. So, I guess we won’t be mowing around that tree for a while.
All the time that I was holding the little bunny, my country mind kept telling me that I should make this little guy one of the 85% of bunnies that don’t make it to adulthood. But I knew I couldn’t do it. Eventhough I know that in about four weeks this little guy and his siblings will be in my garden eating my lettuce and spinach shoots I am just going to let it happen. Watching the few rabbits I have on my property gives me almost as much pleasure as growing the vegetables that they feast upon. And, since I don’t really rely on the garden to feed me, I don’t mind sharing my harvest with a couple of bunnies.