Typically friendly, a Waldo woman’s dog massacred a bunny family recently. But, thanks in part to the prolific procreation rabbits are known for, the woman made a discovery of baby bunnies in her yard after the massacre, four weeks ago. This time around, the baby bunnies survived.
“We were a little more on alert,” Beth Canipe told The Star. “I don’t think I would’ve realized it was a nest (if not for the massacre).”
Mating season for the three rabbit species in Missouri — the eastern cottontail, black-tailed jackrabbit and swamp rabbit — occurs from February through July. When born in their shallow, hidden ground nests, baby bunnies can be difficult to spot. Their nests can appear as little more than a dead patch of grass in an otherwise green yard, or as a dense clump of grass, brush pile or thicket in or around a garden, typically in proximity to shedded rabbit hair. Dogs and other digging animals and yard implements such as lawn mowers pose a threat to baby bunnies during their initial development.
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▪ If you discover a nest, mark it off with flags or tape to alert others of its presence.
▪ Before yardwork or mowing, check the area for nests.
▪ If you have curious pets or young children, consider temporary plastic fencing or another barrier to put up around a nest to prevent prying fingers and claws.
▪ Removal of woody vegetation in grassland habitats would benefit jackrabbits by opening up vistas.
▪ Avoid the use of non-native plants such as tall fescue.
▪ Loosely wrap young orchard trees with trunk protectors made of plastic, cardboard, paper, aluminum or poultry netting.
▪ Avoid destroying native grassland habitat. Replant native warm-season grasses and herbs following ground-disturbing activities.