How to Take Care of a Wild Baby Cottontail Rabbit

Wild baby cottontail rabbits are adorable, but they can also be extremely vulnerable, especially if their mother becomes the victim of a predator. A motherless baby cottontail rabbit faces certain death if he is not rescued and taken to an experienced wildlife rehabilitator. However, it's important that you know how to take care of a wild baby cottontail rabbit if you cannot get him to an experienced wildlife rehabilitator right away.

Things You'll Need

  • Small box Small towels or washcloths Milk replacer for kittens


    • 1

      Determine whether the wild baby cottontail rabbit is really an orphan or if her mother has simply left for the day and will return in the evening to feed and care for her. A baby rabbit in need of help will generally move slowly and will have blue skin instead of pink skin.

    • 2

      Gently pick up the baby rabbit to determine if he is hungry once you have determined he is an orphan. A wild baby cottontail rabbit that is undernourished and needs help will typically have a sunken stomach.

    • 3

      Contact a local wildlife rehabilitator immediately if are you sure that the wild baby cottontail rabbit is an orphan that has been injured or is sick. You can find a list of wildlife rehabilitators in the United States through The Wildlife Rehabilitation Information Directory.

    • 4

      Keep the wild baby cottontail rabbit warm and safe until you can take her to the wildlife rehabilitator. Line a small box with a soft towel or a washcloth and gently place the baby in the box then lightly cover the box with another small towel or a washcloth to give the baby rabbit the darkness she needs to feel safe.

    • 5

      Keep the baby rabbit in a room that is between 65 and 70 degrees to ensure he is warm enough. This is especially important if you cannot get the baby to a wildlife rehabilitator right away.

    • 6

      Purchase milk replacer, which is typically used for kittens, at your local pet store. The milk replacer can be used twice a day to keep the baby nourished until she is taken by the wildlife rehabilitator, but you'll need to ask the wildlife rehabilitator how much to feed the wild baby rabbit each day.

Tips & Warnings

  • While it is essential to get a wild baby cottontail rabbit to a skilled rehabilitator, some people either opt to or have no choice but to rehabilitate the baby rabbit themselves. If you fall into that category, continue feeding the baby rabbit milk replacer until she opens her eyes. When her eyes open, she can begin eating solid foods, such as Romaine lettuce, dandelion greens and hay. The baby cottontail rabbit should be released back into the wild when he is eating solid foods on his own and is five inches long.
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