The wild rabbit returns to visit the lady who rescued and raised her as an orphan child

The wild rabbit returns to visit the lady who rescued and raised her as an orphan child

Orphaned as a child, a wild rabbit was given a second chance at life when he was greeted by a caring woman. Months later, she returns to the wild but reappears in her savior’s backyard, proving that she is thriving.

Jessica Lee, 25, of Marietta, Georgia, found a baby cottontail, Honey, crawling on pine straw in her backyard on June 28, 2020.

“I put some gloves on and put them in my hand, and rubbed her head with my fingers,” Jessica told The Epoch Times. “Eastern cottontails were born blind and deaf, so I probably thought I was her mother.”

(Courtesy of Jessica Lee)

Jessica, a Miami native, spent 10 minutes scouring her yard and researching online what to do when she finds a baby cottontail rabbit, before finding a rabbit nest and two extra baby bunnies, sleeping.

She put the rabbit in her hands back to the nest and thought that would be the end of the nest. However, the next morning, the three kids were still there on their own, looking worse than the night before. At the time, Jessica thought the mother was no longer to feed them.

The public health professional made an “X” on the nest with paper, and sprinkled flour on the ground to see if the area would be disturbed overnight. The next morning, the paper and flour looked the same, but the little rabbits were missing.

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(Courtesy of Jessica Lee)

“I got frantic,” Jessica said. “I started looking around the perimeter and found them in the grassy area of ​​my backyard. The three rabbits managed to crawl out of the nest, which meant they were hungry and uncovered. I then decided that the mother rabbit had abandoned them, and took them with them.”

Jessica said the little rabbit she had in her gloved hands two days ago was now weak and emaciated. I called a wildlife rehabilitation expert, but they were too far away and weren’t accepting new wild rabbits at the time, so Jessica started researching how to take care of baby cottons herself.

She started with a much-needed meal, buying cat milk formula, mixing it with goat’s milk, and feeding each baby through a dropper every three to four hours.

“It was a long process because I had to be very gentle and slow to avoid being ambitious,” Jessica explained. “After feeding, I warmed a cotton ball with warm water and stroked the bottom of each rabbit to stimulate them so they could urinate and defecate.”

This was necessary to promote intestinal flow.

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(Courtesy of Jessica Lee)

Then Jessica learned, unfortunately, that only 10 percent of orphaned rabbits live longer than a week.

“I only managed to save one,” she said. “I called it honey.”

(Courtesy of Jessica Lee)

When Honey opened her eyes, Jessica introduced hay, leafy greens, pellets, berries, and oats into her diet, weaning her off the milk formula. She would take the two-week-old rabbit outside every day to expose her to nature and watch her gain strength and confidence, eat the grass and run in the yard.

Although the process was intense, Jessica said it was rewarding.

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(Courtesy of Jessica Lee)

When the little rabbit recovered, the relationship with her savior intensified.

“I would wake up every day and shower her with love and affection,” Jessica said. “She was like a little pet, and she became very protective…I think she identified me by smell and knew I was the one who saved her. She was volatile with other family members, but not me.”

Honey, who occupied Jessica’s enforced yard, was feeding off Jessica’s hand and jumping into her lap. It was “almost impossible” to pick her up, but Hani liked to be booked and enjoyed exploring.

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(Courtesy of Jessica Lee)

“I would let her in and run around the house,” Jessica recalls. “She was running around the living room, dodging the furniture as if on an obstacle course. It was really nice.”

Jessica also explained that she sits in her yard every day and spends time with Honey – who enjoyed blueberries and Quaker oats – petting and socializing with her.

When Honey was two months old, she began to mortgage the screen door leading to the yard. Jessica decided the time was right to begin her gradual release.

On her first solo outing, Honey stayed 5 feet from the open door and then made her way inside the balcony.

The next day, Jessica put her in the middle of the yard in a small animal cage, and Honey looked around and then jumped up and quickly started hopping toward Jessica’s house. She knelt under the bush to see the world go by.

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(Courtesy of Jessica Lee)

“As the days went by, I could see that she was getting more confident, and more comfortable going out in her natural habitat,” Jessica said. “I’d still keep her in my yard at night, but during the day, I let her go out until she got more habituated and fed on the grass.”

Jessica Honey made an outdoor rabbit cage to protect them from predators, such as hawks and snakes. When I was 9 months old, Hani, I enjoyed the outdoors more.

On March 31, 2021, Honey is seen pushing her head against the bulkhead of the door and scratching it. She even used her body to push the door. When Jessica let her out, she went away from home. Jessica knew at this time that Honey no longer wanted to be held captive and that she had to leave her, despite it being an emotional day for her.

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(Courtesy of Jessica Lee)

But Jessica didn’t have to wait long for Honey to show up again. Near dusk on the same day, honey appeared in the yard.

“I called her name but she kept her distance,” Jessica recalls. “I saw her a week later, and then a month later; I would have approached her but she would still be so steady, and every time I really got close she would run away.”

(Courtesy of Jessica Lee)

At the time of writing, Honey is 2 years old. Jessica describes her as “silly, playful, yet shy,” and hopes to see her “roaming” in her backyard this summer.

For others who might find themselves in a similar situation trying to save a rabbit, Jessica pleads: “Only take orphaned rabbits if you really think they are orphaned. The mother rabbit only returns at dusk and dawn to feed her babies, so the best thing to do is to bring the babies back to their nest and wait.” “.

For Hani, Jessica is grateful that she was able to save a life.

(Courtesy of Jessica Lee)

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