There are two basic rabbit types, the Cottontail, and Feral Rabbits (pet bunnies set free).
Mother Rabbits DO NOT CARE if a human touches her nest or her babies.
Tiny baby bunnies with their eyes open are fully mature, and on their own.
Cottontails are rarely destructive, they prefer wild/weed vegetation.
Feral Rabbits are ALWAYS destructive, both with their extensive burrows and their enormous appetites for anything that grows.
These are the small multi toned brown/grey bunnies with the white cotton
tail, they breed almost year round, average 2-7 babies per litter, and
are generally non-destructive. The Mama bunny excavates a hole
equivalent to a 500 ml measuring cup, lines it with dry plant material
and fur plucked from her breast. Often this is in the plantings at the
house foundation, but can just as easily be in the middle of the lawn or
under a tree or shrub.
Once born, Mama Bunny will only visit the babies once or twice daily, very early dawn or very late at night. She lays across the top of the tiny burrow and the babies nose up and through the fur and plant material to nurse. This will only take a minute or two, so never be surprised if you don't 'see the mother bunny' come to feed her babies, this is natures way of protecting the helpless baby bunnies. They will stay in this safe burrow for 7-10 days at which time they will open their eyes, scatter from the burrow, and start to eat solids.
Although small at this time, often not much bigger than a hen's egg or small orange, it is perfectly normal for them to be on their own, even if they do not show fear of humans. Once their eyes open they are mature enough to no longer need their mothers care or ours. Please, do not kidnap a perfectly healthy and happy cottontail, they do not need rescuing once their eyes are open, unless they are injured.
Unfortunately outdoor roaming cats wreak terrible devastation on these young bunnies. Please, if your cat comes home with a baby bunny, do not let it out of the house again for at least two weeks, that will give the bunnies time to grow up and move on. Remember, any animal that has been in a cats mouth MUST get antibiotics within 5 hours. The bacteria, PASTURELLA, is virulent and will colonize so rapidly that by the time the animal shows symptoms of illness (12-36 hrs) it is too late to treat or save the animal.
These are pet rabbits either intentionally or accidentally set free, and
wreck tremendous damage on both the ecosystem and our property. A feral
rabbit can be of any size, color and pattern, in fact, anything that
does not have the distinctive cottontail coloration is most likely a
Feral. Dealing with feral rabbits usually ends up in the death of the
adults (once wild, they rarely will tame down enough to make safe pets,
the reality of biting, kicking and scratching is too real), and the
possible salvage and adoption of the babies.
Unfortunately they are very prolific breeders and can easily produce 10-12 babies every 30 days, pretty much year round. The baby bunnies start to reproduce at 6 mths of age. That cute bunny that takes up residence in your yard will easily produce 60 babies in 6 months, at which time the survivors of her first litter will also begin to reproduce.
Another unfortunate habit of these rabbits is their tendency to burrow, and burrow and burrow. Extensive rabbit colonies of interconnecting tunnels and chambers that will not only undermine any structure they burrow under, they are often close to the surface causing people, children and pets to fall through while innocently walking in their own backyards. This commonly results in injuries from twisted ankles to fractures.