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Free images of Rabbit Life Cycle 

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My urban backyard is home to many living creatures, including rabbits.  I battle with them continuously over who has domain over the plants, bushes and trees I so carefully purchase, plant and care for.   This cold winter saw the rabbits eat the bark off many of my fruit trees.  The damage was so severe that I doubt the trees will survive.

My dog does her best to chase the rabbits away.  Last evening, a doe was especially brazen and a chase around the yard ensued with the dog yelping with excitement and the rabbit darting for her life.  This morning, much to my chagrin, the results of the doe’s presence become known to me when again my dog excitedly barked at a little tuft of rabbit hair caught in my rose bed. 

 

rabbit burrow warren in rose bed

Rabbit Burrow - 1

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rabbit burrow warren beside house in rose bushes

Rabbit Burrow - 2

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rabbit nest beside house warren den burrow

Rabbit Burrow - 3

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Against the house, the doe had dug a burrow that was about 7 inches deep and lined with her fur.  She had “kindled” (gave birth) to several “kits” (baby rabbits).  The nest was barely visible and covered over with grass.  Under the grass I found a litter of 5 or 6 kits.  Since I did not want to touch or disturb them,  it was hard to tell just how many there were – squirming in the nest.  They appear to be very young, since they have no wool (hair) on their bodies at all.  Kits develop a thin layer of hair in about a week, and these as yet have none.  Their eyes and ears are still closed – baby rabbits open their eyes at 6-8 days.

The spot the doe chose is against a brick wall, surrounded by sharp rose bushes.  Although the kits were well protected from predators, I was concerned about the scorching heat of the day as the spring sunshine bore down on the flower bed. 

As all nursing wild mother rabbits do, I did not see the doe come to intermittently feed her babies.  I’ve learned that they do this during the night and only for a few minutes in the early morning hours.  Many people incorrectly assume that a nest has been abandoned, but this is not the case.  The kits are weaned at 4-5 weeks.

 

newborn baby rabbits kits

Rabbit Kits - 1

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black newborn baby rabbits

Rabbit Kits - 2

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black baby bunnies in nest

Rabbit Kits - 3

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newborn baby rabbits in nest of hair and grass

Rabbit Kits - 4

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blind deaf baby bunnies rabbits

Rabbit Kits - 5

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newborn baby rabbits bunnies in nest of grass and hair

Rabbit Kits - 6

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I saw the kits for three days.  On day one, they were bare, very tiny and moved very little.  Day two was similar.  It was evident that the doe had visited the nest since more hair had been pulled and the pile of grass covering the burrow had been enhanced.   On day three, hair growth on the kits was evident and they seemed to be leaping out of their burrow.  Their heads were bobbing up and down like water in a boiling pot. One would leap and land upon the others causing the others to leap in turn.  I was concerned that they would injury themselves on the nearby rose bushes.

The evening of the third day brought a bitter cold and rainy Canadian spring day and evening.  Although the burrow was sheltered by a roof overhang, the rained poured down all day.  The evening saw a drastic drop in temperature and by morning, there was frost on the ground.   On the morning of the fourth day of discovery, the nest appeared to have been freshened.  More new grass had been added.  Sadly, however, only three hours later I found four dead kits laying in the grass, apparently tossed out of their nest.  They did not have any scars or blood on them and were about three feet away from the nest.  I don’t believe they crawled out on their own.

 

young baby rabbits in nest kits

Rabbit Kits - 7

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Research has now taught me that kits easily become cold, dehydrated and weak.  They are easily fatally overstressed.  Since wild animals like the cottontail rabbit mature faster than domestic rabbits, when they begin to go down hill, they do so very quickly.  Most kits die from either trauma or harsh exposure.  While adult rabbits have a body temperature of about 101.5 – 102.5F, kits do well in an ambient temperature of about 78-80F.  A too cold or too hot environment is detrimental to their survival.  If they are deprived of food and warmth for more than a day, they die because they have no reserves to fall back on.  Baby rabbits dehydrate rapidly.

Baby rabbits are also very susceptible to bacteria since their immune systems are not yet developed.

Another reason kits die is a lack of protective antibodies in their mother’s milk.  The most common cause of death, however, is a failure for normal rabbit flora (bacteria) to establish in the kits’ intestinal track.  While babies are born with these protective antibodies, they loose them after birth. 

Did you know... 

That in order to have healthy baby bunnies, they need to eat their mother’s poop?  Rabbits produce two types of feces.  The night time stool that looks dark and sticky, contains the “cecotrophs”  that kits need to eat in order to obtain necessary digestive organisms.

 

man holding dead baby rabbit kit few days old

Rabbit Kit - 8

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The day after the cold spring storm, four of the litter had died and had been thrown outside their nest.  The fifth lone survivor lived another day and then passed away as well.

 

baby rabbits kits who died

Rabbit Kits - 9

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If you'd like to drop me a note to let me know if any of these images have been useful, I'd love to hear from you. I'm curious to see if my snapshots have been of benefit to you in some way.  Also, I'd like to hear what kind of images you'd like to see more of. 

 

 

 

 

We Are All God's
Creatures

 

 

 

 

"If all the beasts 
were gone,
 men would die from 
a great loneliness 
of spirit, 
for whatever happens 
to the beasts 
also happens to the man.  
All things are connected.  Whatever befalls 
the Earth 
befalls the sons 
of the Earth."

~ Chief Seattle 
of the Suquamish Tribe,
 letter to 
President 
Franklin Pierce ~

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Life is as dear 
to a mute creature 
as it is to man.  
Just as one wants happiness 
and fears pain, 
just as one wants 
to live 
and not die, 
so do other creatures."

~ His Holiness 
The Dalai Lama ~

 

 

 

"If you have men 
who will exclude 
any of God's creatures 
from the shelter 
of compassion and pity, 
you will have men 
who will deal likewise 
with their fellow men."

~ St. Francis of Assisi ~

 

 

 

 

"The worst sin 
towards our fellow creatures 
is not to hate them,
 but to be indifferent to them.  that's the essence 
of inhumanity."

~ George Bernard 
Shaw ~

 

 

"A bird does not sing 
because it has an answer. 
 It sings because 
it has a song."

~ Chinese Proverb ~

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

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