Eastern Cottontails – Are they truly orphaned?

Check out Wild Care’s Facebook post with important information for determining if the cottontail rabbits in your yard are truly, “orphaned”…

Kristine Beebe’s Cottontail Nestlings

Look at these beautiful bunnies! Rehabilitator extraordinaire Kristine Beebe sent this video of little eastern cottontails under her care. The squinty one hasn’t fully opened his eyes yet.

We receive so many bunnies at Wild Care — more than any other species, believe it or not! This year so far we have taken in *twice* as many nestling cottontails as squirrels!

A lot of this has to do with the way cottontails make their nests. The mother rabbit digs just a shallow depression in the grass or vegetation and lines it with fur she takes from her belly. Then she covers over her young with more grass or vegetation to disguise it so predators aren’t as likely to find it. And she also stays away from the nest except for twice a day, at dusk and dawn usually, to feed her babies a very rich milk that sustains them throughout all the time she’s gone. The babies are very quiet and have little scent so they are as hidden from predators as they can be.

Sometimes you will accidentally find a nest of bunnies. If you can, just cover them up again and leave them alone. If you want to make sure the mother is coming back to feed them, put a piece of string across the nest in an X pattern, and see if it’s disturbed the next morning.

But there are so many different situations that can happen with cottontails and sometimes it isn’t quite as simple as that! We are here every day from 9 to 5 to answer questions and provide advice on getting along with and helping bunnies. Anytime you find a bunny or a nest and aren’t sure what to do, give us a call and we can guide you through the process.

We want to keep bunnies together with their mother whenever possible. It’s not easy to take care of them. Sadly, many of the bunnies who come to us don’t live to be released. They are fragile and very susceptible to stress. When they come in after being caught by a cat, especially, or a dog, they often have grave injuries that aren’t obvious at first glance.

So we are very happy to see such beautiful bunnies like Kristine’s in the video, healthy and curious! They grow up super fast and soon will be out in the wild.

Posted by Wild Care Cape Cod on Tuesday, May 7, 2019

If you find an animal in
distress, please call us at:


Our helpline and our facility
are open EVERY DAY from
9:00 am – 5:00 pm.
We are located at the
Orleans rotary (on the Eastham side).

Make a Difference


Wild Care is Going Green

Wild Care Receives a $21,191 TernSOLAR Challenge Grantfrom Tern Foundation. Help us meet the challenge.



15 June, 2024
Wildlife Baby Shower 2024!
05 April, 2024
Wild Night Out
28 February, 2024
Wildlife Winter/Spring Talk Series 


Wild Care has a state-of-the-art seabird therapy pool, which allows seabirds and waterfowl to exercise on running water. This will help our bird friends recover more quickly so they can get back to their watery habitats!