A tale of two baby jack rabbits
In Santa Clara, Utah, a young jack rabbit had a mishap, tumbling into a five-foot-deep window well. She couldn't get out, but after a day or so, someone noticed that she was trapped there, and a kind neighbor with a ladder helped her out. He did just the right thing by rescuing her and bringing her to Wild Friends.
Carmen Smith, licensed wildlife rehabilitator and manager of Wild Friends, could see the baby rabbit was thin and dehydrated. With some special fluids, she perked up and has been gaining weight.
Soon the little jack rabbit will go up to Wild Friends' big rehab enclosure. Up there, she'll be surrounded by nature and other wild birds and animals, and will be able to acclimate gradually before she's released to live a happy life in freedom.
Another rough start to life for jack rabbit
A second jack rabbit, younger and smaller, had a really rough start to his life when he was kept for a while by a family. They had the best of intentions, but things didn't go well at all for the baby jack rabbit. Small children are naturally exuberant, but quiet, gentle care, without the exuberance, is the best thing for little wild animals.
When the baby arrived at Wild Friends, on the first day he was so scared that he kept bolting and trying to jump backwards, which didn't help much with his feeding. Now, with good care, he's relaxed and has settled down. When he goes up to the big enclosure, he'll be eating out of a dish by himself, and will have time to adjust to being a wild jack rabbit, with a beautiful life ahead of him back out in nature.
To help or not to help wildlife - a tough question
If you ever come across a baby jack rabbit, just walk away (unless she's clearly injured). They don't need help - just to be left alone. If you ever find a wild bird or animal that seems to be in distress, contact a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.
"What should I feed a wild baby animal?"
As we might imagine, baby animals that are not cows don't do well at all when they are given cows' milk, but sometimes an animal's rescuer will feed them cows' milk since that's what's available at the grocery store. (Replacement milk for kittens will not work, either.) The answer is not to feed the baby animal, but instead to contact a wildlife rehabilitator and take the baby there right away. The rehabilitator will have the right diet for each wild species.
These two young jack rabbits are doing fine now and looking forward to a good life in the wild.
In the spring and summer months, you may find young wild birds or animals that might (or might not) need help. The first thing to do is call a licensed wildlife rehabilitator to ask for advice. To find a rehabilitator in your area, call Wild Friends at 435-644-2001, ext. 4460.
Photos by Molly Wald