Dog Care 101

Photos Of Dogs And Bunnies (Our Dog Found Some Baby Rabbits… Again!)

It has happened again!…

Our dog, Tenor, recently discovered a rabbit hole in our backyard — and his attention could not be diverted away from the bunnies until the last one left the nest.

The rabbit hole was located along the edge of our landscaped flower beds.

Mixed in between the daylillies and the weeds that have started to overtake our garden was a furry/grassy nest that the dog noticed was “wiggling.”

Dog Meets Bunnies

It scared the heck out of me at first — because I was pulling weeds with my bare hands when I felt the “soft spot” in the ground, and then noticed that something furry was wiggling underneath.

I feared that it was a snake at first. But when I pulled back the grassy covering over the hole, I noticed several tiny bunny feet and bunny ears all crammed up together inside the rabbit hole.

As soon as Tenor realized there were living, breathing creatures in there, he immediately wanted to play with them!

But I didn’t let him put his nose directly on them.

Fortunately, he behaved exactly as our other dog did with bunnies years earlier.

(Our other dog handled 2 of the newborn bunnies a little too roughly than I would’ve liked at first. But he was super gentle with another one that he removed from that same nest. There were 2 more that remained untouched. All of them survived.)

I’m lucky that Tenor minds me very well — usually. Every time I say, “Leave it!” he backs up a few inches and just watches them.

After that first day…

Most of the time when I would let him outside, Tenor would beat me to the rabbit hole and I’d have to shout “Easy!” so that he wouldn’t be too aggressive when he was nosing the area — and checking to make sure that the bunnies were still there.

I said those words so many times over the course of several days that I’m certain those bunnies now think their names are “Leave It” and “Easy.”

Anyway, no bunnies were harmed in the process of watching them grow in our backyard.

Many times, in the early morning and late evening, we would notice the mama rabbit hopping away from the nest — after feeding her babies.

Tenor was gentle at all times — and he genuinely seemed concerned for their well-being.

Each bunny left the nest one-by-one, and Tenor seemed sad for 2 days immediately afterwards.

These bunnies all survived just fine. They hopped away from the den after just a few weeks in our yard.

Someone recently asked me how long it takes before the babies leave the nest…

Each time, it doesn’t take all that long. It seems much shorter than you’d think — usually 3 or 4 weeks tops.

I’ve written 2 different articles that will be helpful if your dog ever has a run-in with wildlife:

UPDATE: 2 Months Later… Another Bunny Nest!

Fast forward 2 months from the day that I wrote the above post and shared the above photos…

My dog has found yet another bunny den in our backyard!

It’s near where the other rabbit hole was.

This time, Tenor brought a teeny tiny baby rabbit (fully enclosed in his mouth) to the back door to show me. ARGH! At first I thought it was a mouse.

He gently dropped it, on command. So I immediately put the baby back into the rabbit hole. (This mama always builds her nest in our garden area — underneath some tall flowers or short shrubs.)

Not wanting to get any more human/dog scent on the baby, I used a stick to roll it into a dustpan, and then used the dustpan to transfer the bunny back to the den. Then, I hoped for the best.

I noticed that this bunny (who couldn’t be more than a day or two old) had a small scrape on its head that was bleeding ever-so-slightly. At first I thought Tenor must’ve bitten down too hard while picking it up. But now I’m wondering if I actually did it myself with the weed wacker just moments before my dog ‘found’ it.

After putting the baby back in the hole, I crossed my fingers that the blood and dog scent wouldn’t cause the mom to reject it or the other babies in the nest.

I figured that this new backyard attraction would mean weeks of me letting the dog out several times a day ON A LEASH (in our fenced-in backyard)… again. But the dog is actually minding me quite well — so I don’t have to keep him on a leash after all. He’s extremely curious (and ready to pounce), but as long as I’m watching him, he keeps his distance from the nest.

It’s been a few days now, and the bunny with the scrape on its head is surviving just fine. All 3 are.

But something new happened this time…

My dog approached the rabbit den one evening while the mama rabbit was feeding the bunnies (just after the sun went down), and the mother rabbit ran away — leaving all 3 bunnies belly-up on the ground outside of their den. They quickly wriggled back into the hole to safety (with their eyes still closed).

Tenor chased the mother rabbit to the fence line, so he never even saw the babies outside of their den. Whew!

Then, exactly 10 days after my dog discovered the newborn mouse-sized bunnies in the den, the baby rabbits started to leave the nest. One by one, they left the den (all on the same day) as happy, healthy individuals. By dinner time, all 3 of them were gone.

The mother had dutifully checked on them and fed them every single evening for the last 10 days — just as the sun started going down.

The only reason I know this much detail about these little bunnies is because their den was right next to our deck — so it was easy to watch their growth and movements each day and night.  Plus, every time I let the dog out to use the bathroom (several times a day), I had to keep an eye on him to ensure that he didn’t get too close. So I’d check and see how they were doing.

I noticed this morning that the first bunny had left the nest. (The night before, all 3 of them were there — even though it was obvious that they had outgrown their den and would be leaving the comfort of their hole very soon — probably as soon as the mama gave them the sign that they were strong enough, and fast enough, to escape from any dogs that might be looming in the area. Hee hee)

I’d say they’re about gerbil size. Not as big as you might think to leave the nest, but clearly healthy.

For the last few days, they were basically just huddling together (since they didn’t fit in their hole anymore) as quiet as can be, and not making a single movement whenever I or my dog got near them.  

Now, they are all living happily as free bunnies somewhere in the woods around our home.

So I’m thrilled to report yet another dog-meets-bunny story with a happy ending!