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June 17, 2014 / Rae Spencer

More and More Rabbits

Rabbit May 28

When the May litter of rabbits scattered, I lost track of all but two of the babies. One claimed the corner iris bed and another moved into the front yard. The mother rabbit visited both babies every day, but the one in the corner iris bed received the majority of her attention.

Rabbit May 22

It also received the attention of a new rabbit in the yard. The new rabbit was smaller and sleeker than the mother, and it seemed intensely curious about the baby.

Rabbit May 27

Rabbit May 22

I was a bit surprised by the mother rabbit’s acceptance of the newcomer. She never exactly welcomed the smaller rabbit, but she never chased it away, either.

Rabbit May 22

Rabbit May 22

One evening the two grown rabbits and the lone baby hopped in and out of the irises for over an hour, as if all three were playing a strange, hesitant game of tag.

Rabbit May 22

Rabbit May 22

Sadly, the baby rabbit died a few days after I took these photos. I found its body beside the shed, but there were no obvious clues as to why it had died.

About a week later, the baby in the front yard disappeared. The following photo was taken the last time I saw it. (Our neighbor later told me he had found the remains of a predator’s meal in his yard.)

Rabbit June 3

The longer I look at this photo, the more I wonder about those ticks. Was the rabbit ill? It had been grazing most of the morning, and returned to grazing after it woke, but still I wonder.

After the first baby died, but before the second disappeared, both of the adult rabbits turned their attention to the irises under our pear tree.

Rabbit May 27

Rabbit May 27

I assumed a third member of the litter had taken refuge in these irises. I didn’t want to disturb it with a close inspection, but, when the adults continued their obsession with the irises long after the second baby disappeared, curiosity won.

Rabbits June 13

Another nest! They were almost big enough to leave the nest when I found them, and a day or two later they moved as a group to the other side of the iris bed.

Rabbits June 14

Yesterday morning they were scattered, each into a separate hiding place. By evening they gathered again under the pear tree and waited for their mother. (I’m tempted to say “their mothers,” because both adult rabbits continue to visit the babies.) She arrived on schedule and fed them in the irises. When she left, the babies emerged one at a time. Two hopped under the deck, one retreated into the bee balm, and the fourth hid under the hydrangea.

Rabbit June 16

Rabbit June 16

Rabbit June 16

Rabbit June 16

I would love to have a way to keep up with the babies, to know if any survive to adulthood and where they settle when it’s time to raise their own young. This urge to know is familiar, and constant. It’s part of why I enjoy writing. When the story is mine, I get to know everything! But it’s a perilous wish outside of fiction, as the rabbits keep reminding me.

4 Comments

  1. timelesslady / Jun 18 2014 6:36 AM

    Sweet pictures and terrific post. I love the baby bunnies too. We have so many rabbits around us that they run in gangs of rabbits. Cute, but they are a tad destructive too. I lose several plants every year to their nibbling. They have adapted to us and we can get very close to them before they scamper away.

    • Rae Spencer / Jun 19 2014 12:36 PM

      We lose a few flowers to them, but I haven’t kept a vegetable garden in years, so the damage is minimal. 🙂

  2. bardessdmdenton / Aug 8 2014 2:09 PM

    So sad about the baby rabbits. But another fascinating post in words and pictures, Rae! And how could I not relate to: “It’s part of why I enjoy writing. When the story is mine, I get to know everything! But it’s a perilous wish outside of fiction, as the rabbits keep reminding me.”

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