5 days ago, our large German shepherd/bull mastiff cross dog, Bear came onto the lawn with something in his mouth that was making a tiny squeaking sound. When I spoke his name, he gently opened his mouth and laid onto the ground a tiny baby rabbit, which was no more than 2 days old. He had found it near some bushes and although he’d carried it in his mouth, it was still unharmed. Baby rabbits are born with their eyes closed and they don’t open until after about 10 days, so it was quite helpless. After some quick research, we learned what to feed it and the best methods of doing so. The technique is to cut little wedges of clean, latex-free makeup sponge and saturate it with formula that is sold for feeding motherless kittens. The narrow end of the sponge is small enough to fit into the tiny rabbits mouth and by using an eyedropper, it is possible to feed him this way. We feed him (it’s a boy) once every 12 hours, and he learned quickly to suckle the narrow tip of the soft sponge. We had thought his chances for survival were slim, but he is doing fine and his hair is coming in and he is very squirmy and has a robust appetite! His eyes are still closed but he is warm and is being kept warm, and curls up in his little box, covered in soft cotton rags. He sleeps most of the time, except when feeding and it’s amazing how he moves his front and back legs, very much resembling the way a human baby moves during breast feeding. The plan, should he make it to 3 months, is to release him in the wild.. When I say “wild” I just mean somewhere on our rural property, where he will soon connect with the other rabbits that live nearby. We have been advised by vets to keep him isolated from our dogs, cats and people during the first 3 months, so that he retains his healthy and instinctual fear, thus assuring he will be wary and quickly run for cover, thus increasing his chances to survive.
Post Script: A sad note to this story, last night the little rabbit died, after becoming weak thru the day and unwilling to feed. It is a very difficult challenge to meet, though we did all we could, we failed to keep him going and we sadly buried him this morning. Sorry.