Saving Mr. Awesome

Mr. Awsome The World's Cutest Cottontail Baby Bunny

Meet the most awesome, the cutest and the tiniest cottontail bunny we’ve ever seen: Mr. Awesome, aka “Spunky.”

And how did we make his acquaintance?

Ah, now therein lies a tale, Oh Best Beloved.

Last week a neighbor’s cocker spaniel found a bunny’s nest in their yard. Being a fairly typical dog, said pup “squeaked” some of the other babies, but for some reason known only to her carried this one around in her mouth for almost half an hour without chomping on it, as Baby Rabbit squealed for help throughout. The owner was able to get the bunny away from the dog and gave it to me.

He was so little–just three days old–that his ears were barely half an inch long. As soon as I had him in my hands he just snuggled in, and went right to sleep. He was so small he fit in the palm of one hand. And so soft!

We made a place for him as close to the nest as we could but still safe from the dog. Momma bunnies will search for the little ones when their nest has been disturbed, and it’s best if a baby bun is reunited with its Momma. Unfortunately, after 24 hours Momma hadn’t found and reclaimed little Spunky, so we took him to the Aves Wildlife Alliance, a brand new licensed wildlife hospital located in Neenah, Wisconsin. It’s a wonderful place! The owner, Rebekah Weiss, who has a degree in wildlife ecology and wildlife management, worked for several years as a state and federally licensed wildlife rehabilitator near Milwaukee. Just this June, she opened the new Aves wildlife hospital near the Fox Cities on the grounds of a farm that’s been in her family for five generations, after moving back to the area with her husband, Dave. As of this week, Rebekah has already had over 130 patients.

Rebekah even had baby bunny formula right on hand! Wow. Baby cottontails are super hard to keep alive, from what I’ve read, and she confirmed it. Rebekah told us that Spunky is doing awesome now, and thinks he has as good a chance as possible.

Rebekah accepts all varieties of injured and truly orphaned wild critters in the Aves Wildlife Alliance hospital, except bats, deer, eagles. Just some of the wildlife I remember her mentioning that have come in as patients include chipmunks, bunnies, squirrels, possums, deer mice, owls, redtail hawks, and downy woodpeckers. You’re not allowed to see her patients or touch them, because, of course, they are wild and human contact stresses the critters, endangering their recovery.

It was super neat to see the clinic, and meet Rebekah and Dave. We’re really hoping Mr. Awesome makes it. He is an adorable little guy, and put up a real fight to survive (which is why we’ve nicknamed him “Spunky.”)

In Wisconsin, licensed wildlife rehabilitators like Rebekah may not charge for their services, so all her funding comes from donations and grants. If you’d like to help the Aves Wildlife Alliance out, donations are welcome. You can help ‘em get more baby bunny formula as well as cover the myriad of other expenses involved in running a wildlife hospital. Contact information is on the Aves Wildlife Alliance website (which is a new work in progress — it’ll have more information in the future).

BTW, the hand holding Mr. Awesome in the photo belongs to Michael. Spunky certainly felt right at home snoozing there!

Look At The Tiny Nibbler!

Tiny Baby Rabbit

I can’t believe how tiny this baby bunny is!

And I can’t believe that I said it was OK for my neighbor, Dan, to put Little Baby Rabbit in my yard… because it’s not like we don’t have enough rabbits. In just one patch of our (rather small) front yard last night we had four adult rabbits happily chomping on clover.

Tiny Baby Bunny

How could I say no? He’s adorable. And he needed sanctuary. Who could resist? I mean – just take a look. See that heart-shaped leaf in the upper left hand side of the image? It’s a cloverleaf violet. Now, think about how big a cloverleaf violet’s leaf is. Not very big. So, compare the size of the cloverleaf violet to the size of the bunny, and you’ll get an idea of just how teeny tiny Little Baby Rabbit is! (update: major brain fart in original post – kept thinking violet and writing cloverleaf. At 94F, it’s obviously way too hot for a brain that’s accustomed to -10F to function reliably.)

I know, I know. Baby Bunny is going to grow up fat and sassy from eating my flowers. But it needed a new home, as this little cutie had been discovered by Rudy. A very fast-acting Dan literally pulled it from within Rudy’s jaws. Poor Rudy! You could see him going, “Wadda ya mean, drop it! Dad! I’m a dog! I’m supposed to catch rabbits, right? No way am I gonna drop it. Right? Right? Oh. Wrong. Dang.”

The bunny was fine when Dan got it, which is amazing because this is one little bunny and Rudy is one big dog. After it got over its fright, it was hopping around with nary a problem and… yes… inspecting the yummy flowers. So when Dan asked, what were my options? Give BB a home or… um, well, what options? I mean, just look at those tiny bitty ears! Is there anything cuter than a bitty bunny and its little bitty ears?

*sigh*

I’m a softie. I admit it. Next thing you know, I’ll be planting carrots. For them.

A Wee Wascally Wabbit!

Wee Baby Rabbit

Obviously, my two yard rabbits are not sisters…

This little dandelion chomper and four siblings were bouncing around the yard with Momma this evening.

Yep. Five baby rabbits.

They (including Momma and Papa Rabbit) have little fear of me. I have to watch where I’m going when out in the yard, so I don’t step on them. This, I keep telling them, is Not A Good Thing.

They should tremble down to the tips of their tiny paws when they see me! Why, I could very well turn into a Big Mean Rabbit Hunting Machine!

Have you ever heard a rabbit laugh?