I did a terrible thing yesterday. I mowed the lawn.
Yes, mowing my lawn was a terrible thing to do. Do you know why? I killed a baby bunny. I’m sure it didn’t suffer. There wasn’t enough left to actually tell there was a rabbit there at all except for what might have been some innards with traces of blood and a few tufts of fur. I didn’t even know I hit anything until I saw another baby bunny run like the devil himself was chasing him…out from under the mower.
It was at this point that I moved the mower farther and saw the remains (if such a small amount of evidence can in fact be called remains). I chased after the little bunny, fearing that I either orphaned it or killed a sibling. I had no idea what I was up against, so I thought I had it cornered against the wall. I left to find a box in which I could keep it while we figured out what to do.
When I returned with a box, the rabbit was nowhere to be found. I didn’t think it could have gone far, but I looked very hard and could not see it.
When I returned to survey the scene of the crime, I discovered the hole they were in. There were more bunnies. I fished them out and discovered there were 3 more besides the one I had just lost. I put those 3 in a box for safe keeping. They were so little. No more than about 3.5 to 4 inches long. I brought Diana and the children out to see what had happened. Of course, my children were immediately taken with how cute and small they were. The poor, helpless little dears didn’t even have teeth with which to bite us yet, and one of them shrieked the universal bunny distress call. No help came, however.
Worse yet, as I resumed mowing I made a sad discovery. Yes, I killed a second bunny, the one I thought I had lost. He’d been right where I’d looked four separate times: between the relatively tall grass and the foundation of the house. I either crushed its poor skull or broke its neck, or both. I ran right over it 3 or 4 times with the wheels of the mower and then I saw its tiny body twitching in the now shorter grass. I had been taken back by my commission of negligent bunny-slaughter the first time. This second one just tore me up. I felt truly horrible inside. “I killed the wabbit!”
Aubria did some quick research on the internet and found out some quick and vital facts. They wouldn’t have bitten us even if their teeth were ready. They might still be nursing age. The mother wouldn’t mind human tampering at all. So we brought the poor scared little bunnies inside for the next several hours. All of the children got to hold them. They actually preferred to hide in the leg of Diana’s pants.
After more research it became clear that these were cottontails, and that the mother was out patrolling the surrounding area. She only comes to visit her babies around midnight every night when she nurses them for only 5 minutes. She has to stimulate them to get them to eliminate (keeps their burrow clean) and then they go back to sleep for another day. They live like this for a month or two before striking out on their own. If the mother were to come back and find the burrow empty she would be extremely distraught. It was at this point we determined to return them to their burrow and hope “mommy” came back to care for them.
The guide we read suggested that we dust the surrounding area with odorless baby-powder or with some unscented thread or dental floss. If either were disturbed we’d know that “mommy” came back.
The children went outside first thing this morning and indeed, “mommy” had been there. She had noticed the lack of 2 of her babies and decided that this location had been compromised. The baby rabbits have gone with “mommy” to what will hopefully be a safer location.
All things considered, it was a privilege for our children to learn and experience this, not to mention ourselves. It was devastating to me to kill poor, defenseless bunnies though. I still feel terrible. I should have been able to have saved that 4th bunny. So, I give you the following video clip. Elmer Fudd will be playing my part in this brief clip.