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Be #WildlifeWise about baby rabbits and hares

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baby rabbits

We are asking members of the public to be #WildlifeWise around baby rabbits and hares.  

We are currently caring for its first baby rabbits, known as kits, of the season. Blossom, Lily and Tulip were found in Kinross when their nest was sadly dug up at a building site.

They will now be hand-reared until they are old enough to self-feed and eventually be released back in to the wild.

However, baby hares, known as leverets, have a very different start to life and are left by their mothers in long grass and undergrowth rather than burrows. Unfortunately, this can lead to some members of the public mistaking them for displaced baby rabbits and taking them away from their mothers.

Anna Keen, operations manager of the Scottish SPCA’s National Wildlife Rescue Centre, said: “We appreciate the concern from members of the public about baby rabbits and hares but we’d urge them to be aware in the physical and behavioural differences between the two species.

“Rabbits live in burrows and the mother rabbit will create a nest for her young. Mother rabbits are very protective as the kittens are born completely helpless, naked and blind.

“If you were to come across a nest of rabbits it is often best to cover them back up and observe to see if mum comes back. Sometimes a small layer of sticks over the top will give a good indication of whether mum has been back to feed them.

“However, if their mother does not return, or if you come across a single baby rabbit that appears alone after observation do give us a call so we can advise.

“Hares on the other hand are born fully furred, able to see and capable of independent movement. 

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leveret

“They are generally larger, with longer hind legs than rabbits and longer ears with characteristic black markings.

“If you come across a baby hare, then don’t be alarmed. If it is not in immediate danger, please leave it alone and observe from a safe distance as mother hares will often leave their babies for periods of time and will usually return.

“We will always attend if an animal is injured. If this is the case or if a young rabbit or hare is lethargic and does not run away when approached, then it will need our help and people should phone our animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

“While we love caring for these animals at our National Wildlife Rescue Centre, it is so much more beneficial to keep them with their parents to learn vital natural behaviours in the wild.”

Visit www.scottishspca.org/wildlifewise for more information on the #WildlifeWise campaign.

 

Paw

 

If anyone is concerned about an animal, please do not hesitate to contact our confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999.

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