Last night we had a rather exciting time!
Let me start at the beginning…
On the morning of June 26th I was up early and getting ready to nestle into my weekend ritual of getting up at the crack of dawn, making coffee and grabbing a book. I love to read for a while before the day gets going, sometimes even early enough that I have to turn on the lights because the sun is still sleeping. While passing through the kitchen I looked outside and there, just below the pool, was a rabbit digging a hole. I grabbed my mug of steamy morning goodness and pulled up a stool to watch what she was doing.
The rabbit dug that whole for over an hour and then turned away from it to clean herself off. She shook her front paws out and bits of dirt went flinging away. She cleaned her face and ears too. Then she turned back to the hole and proceeded to give birth! I couldn’t believe my eyes! And, it was a little difficult to see because it was still before dawn and with her coloring she blended in well with her surroundings. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any photos. Soon she was done and went to gather grass in her mouth to cover the hole. I have to say she did a great job at disguising her little warren. Later when she was gone I ventured over to the hole to see what I could see, being very careful not to touch anything for fear that the mother rabbit wouldn’t come back. I could see very little through the grass she’d spread, but I could see little wet black things squirming a bit. Yup. Baby rabbits!
Around the 4th of July we saw momma rabbit return to the hole in the late evening. I’m not sure if she was feeding them or if she was just stopping by to say hello. The next day we looked in and saw the rabbits getting lighter in color and we could make out bits of ears and eyes and fuzz.
This week I went to look in the hole again. I’ve been working hard at staying away from it because I didn’t want the neighbor kids to see me peering in there and getting all curious and I didn’t want to disturb the babies. When I looked in this time I was a little surprised to see that the babies had grown so much they were nearly busting out of the top of the hole! I could see fully-formed ears, open eyes, and lots of brown fur. They were so dang cute!!
Last night I thought I’d try to get a couple photos of the rabbits in the hole. I went to the hole and looked in and there was only one bunny in it! I thought that maybe the mother had come to bring the others out but this one was too small to leave the nest just yet? Or, maybe they had all wandered away save this last one? I did snap a couple photos but again, it was hard to see inside because of the adept camouflage skills of the mother. I headed back to making dinner a little sad about the bunnies leaving without telling me.
After eating dinner on the patio Jeff and I decided to go look in the hole again. No one was around except one neighbor swimming in the pool. We both laid down on our stomachs next to the hole to look inside. The bunny was still there and the neighbor got a little curious about us laying on the ground outside the pool. We explained the hole and the babies and that now there was only one left. He came and looked in too, then went back to swimming. We went back to the patio to talk and finish a glass of wine.
A few minutes after settling back on the patio the neighbor in the pool yelled, “oh my gosh there’s a baby bunny under that chair!” We looked and sure enough, there was a baby bunny under one of the pool deck chairs. The lone bunny from the hole must have ventured out! I grabbed my camera and resumed my position on my belly on the ground with my zoom trained on the fuzzy little guy. Jeff came and looked in the hole and pronounced it un-empty! The original bunny was still there! So this other little guy might have been there the whole time and we just didn’t notice him.
I snapped about 8,000 photos of the little thing and just as I was getting ready to leave I looked up once more and he was gone! I thought he must have hopped away but then I thought, “OH NO! What if he fell in the pool?!” I jumped up and there he was doing his best doggy paddle across the blue water of the swimming pool!! Holy crap! I yelled for Jeff to come back out and I ran into the pool area like a mother after a drowning child. I grabbed the pool skimmer net thingy that they use to pull out leaves and other debris from the pool and went to get my bunny! Odd, but he swam right at me and I scooped him out of the water with tears in my eyes and adrenaline in my veins. I plopped him down on the cement and Jeff came with a basket to scoop him up to get him back into his hole. While this was happening a neighbor came out onto his deck and asked if that was a rabbit. We said yes and he said that’s the third one he’s seen do that today. Earlier in the day two other bunnies drowned in the pool. I was heartbroken to hear this and seriously considered taking on two bunny pets!
Jeff and I got him back into his hole with his brother and I continued to cry. I don’t know why but rabbits have always been really powerful for me. I don’t know if I believe in animal totems or power animals but for some reason I have always resonated and connected with rabbits. They have a very special rabbit-shaped place in my heart. There is a serenity that comes over me when I see a rabbit and this birthing experience was such a powerful thing for me. And, now, here I am saving the life of a bunny. There is something magical here but I can’t quite decipher it yet. I will continue to process this experience… what’s the universe telling me?
Here's the little guy about two minutes before he decided to take a swim.
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