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What do I do if I find a stray rabbit?

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PROFESSOR RABBIT

How to Catch a Stray Rabbit: At Rabbit References, click on Care, Feeding, Tips. Select the topic "Catching Stray Rabbits."

Many domestic rabbits get left outside when their humans no longer want to care for them. The idea is that the rabbit will be free to fend for him/herself and perhaps join a warren of the native cottontails. Nothing is further from the truth. Domestic rabbits and cottontails do not belong to the same genus and cannot interbreed. In fact, cottontails view domestic rabbits as intruders and will drive them off or kill them. The fate of the domestic rabbit abandoned outdoors is death either by starvation or by predation.

Determine if the rabbit is domestic or a wild rabbit.

How to Tell the Difference Between a Cottontail, a Hare, and a House Rabbit: At Rabbit References, click Care, Feeding, Tips. Select topic "Lagomorphs."

Try to win the rabbit's trust so that you can bring him/her indoors.

Click here to read "How to Rescue a Rabbit Running Loose." There's a section on winning the rabbits trust.

Take the rabbit to a vet for an examination and then call RabbitWise for further consultation.

Check the calendar for the next Rabbitology class and sign up.

AGOUTI DOMESTIC RABBIT
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How do you know it's a a wild rabbit?

DISCERNING A WILD RABBIT FROM A DOMESTIC RABBIT

Cotton-tailed rabbits, like many other wild animals, are agouti (ah goo tee) colored, a gray/brown/tan/black flecked mix. On adult rabbits, there is no white coloring. Sometimes baby cottontails have a small white dot on their foreheads. They are small, weighing 2-4 pounds, with long slender legs and wedged shaped heads. The ears are up, narrow at the base, and are thin and translucent at the tips. They exhibit a natural fear of humans.

Domestic rabbits also come in the agouti color with the same cottontail but with light tan to white under bellies. They also are light, medium, and dark gray, palomino, white, silver, tan, chocolate brown, cinnamon brown, and black. A popular companion rabbit breed, the Dutch, has "trousers" in black, brown, tan, or gray, with the face and ears in the matching color. The "saddle" area over the shoulders is white. Other popular breeds are white with black, gray, tan, or a mixture of colored spots. They can be smaller than cottontails but are more likely to be larger.

Some domestics have up ears. Others have lop ears that hang down by the sides of their heads. Their ears are wider at the base than the cottontail's ears and are of an even thickness and are opaque to light. The forehead is more dome-shaped than wedged, the cheekbones more prominent, and the cheeks fuller. They are not particularly fearful of humans.

Click here to see a wild Eatern Cottontail rabbit.

Click here for the article "Does This Animal Need Help"? by the Wildlife Rescue League of Virginia. In the Northern Virginia area, call (703) 440-0800 for advice.

More links for information about wild rabbits at http://www.lagomorphs.com/mainpage.html

Cottontail Rehaber Video: What to do if you find a wild rabbit.

Wildlife Center of Virginia, Waynsboro. At the bottom of the page, click on "I need rescue advice."

Wild Again Wildlife Rahabilitation. Click on "Wildlife Emergencies."

Maryland Wildlife Rehabilitators Association, 410-255-4737.

Poplar Spring Wildlife Sanctuary, P.O. Box 507 Poolesville, Maryland 20837. Phone: 301-428-8128

Second Chance Wildlife Center, 7101 Barcellona Drive Gaithersburg, MD.; 301-926-9453.

National wildlife Rehabilitators Association, 320-259-4086. Click on "Need help?" and then on "I found a baby mammal, now what?"

International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, 510-383-9090

How to Locate a Wildlife Rehaber: http://www.tc.umn.edu/~devo0028/contact.htm

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