Well, this morning in my Update on Lil Pete- Our Friday Furry Find, I told you that when I went to check on Lil Pete, his nest was completely empty and he was gone. After checking on the nest, we went to a meeting at church and then to a birthday party.
When we got home, the kids and I took naps, then we all had dinner, etc, etc.
This evening, after dinner, the kids and I went outside to play while Brian was working on the wiring for the outdoor speakers. I saw a bit of movement by the rose bed out of the corner of my eye and it startled me. So, I went over to look, and what to my wondering eyes should appear… one little bunny with two tiny ears!
Lil Pete came back! He was actually caught in the crevice between the two red bricks pictured above. So, I had to scoot him out. While I was at it, I noticed a fellow littermate on the lawn that apparently tried to jump off the bricks and didn’t survive. If Mrs. Cottontail did move the nest, she forgot to tell Lil Pete, cause he was trying to find it.
Lil Pete looks a little less robust than yesterday, but his eyes were open today. From everything that I have read, as long as these little guys have that little white patch on their forehead, they are not ready to be left on their own. I also read that I shouldn’t try to feed it or give it anything to drink, because it could actually harm him. I do know that mother rabbits typically only visit their young in the early morning and at dusk, to prevent predators from noticing their whereabouts. Cottontail bunnies start venturing from their nests around two weeks old, but are not fully weaned until between four and five weeks old.
Since the kids saw Lil Pete this time, I had to work real hard to keep them from bothering him. Finally, I just had to be brutal and tell Mister that if he touched Lil Pete, his mommy wouldn’t come back to take care of him and he would die. That seemed to get through to him, because he went off to play.
While the kids weren’t looking, I put Lil Pete back in his nest and moved the sand turtle lid over to provide a little more protection for the nest, but left it angled to allow Mrs. Cottontail easy access should she decide to visit tonight.
Knowing that two of his littermates have already perished left me feeling quite bad for Lil Pete. So, I put a call out to the Wildlife Center of Missouri. Since it was after hours, I had to leave a message with a request for a return call.
A volunteer returned my call. After I explained the situation, he asked several questions, including Lil Pete’s approximate size, whether or not Lil Pete’s eyes were open, and if Lil Pete’s ears were standing up or still flat against his head. After I answered his questions, he instructed me to leave Lil Pete in the nest overnight again, and to check again in the morning to see how he is. He also instructed me to call the Center in the morning, to see if I would need to bring Lil Pete in for rehabilitation.