Homeless shelter pets at the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) are benefitting from a creative new children’s book written by a mother and son to warn about the dangers of removing baby hares from their home. 12-year-old Denver Suttie and his mother Michelle have produced “Bewildered Bunny”, the story of a baby hare removed from its family by a human who did not know better and the efforts to return the baby to its home .
Proceeds from the book are going entirely to the EHS to help care for homeless companion animals. “We greatly appreciate this family’s generosity, and also that they are passionate about warning people about this serious annual problem,” says EHS spokesperson Shawna Randolph. “This book really gets the message across for people to leave baby hares exactly where they find them in the springtime. People really mean well. They think
that they’re saving a life but in reality they are putting that life at risk.”
Taking the baby hares jeopardizes their lives, since about 90 per cent of them do not survive. The EHS regularly receives phone calls in the springtime from confused people who have either taken a wild baby White Tail Prairie Hare into their care, or are thinking about picking one up because they feel that it has been abandoned by its mother.
These baby hares are born with their eyes open, fully furred, and are able to hop around right after birth. The mom will regularly leave her babies alone for most of the day so that her scent will not attract predators. She will feed her babies at dusk and dawn, but babies spend a majority of their lives by themselves either near trees or simply in an open field.
The book is written for children aged kindergarten to grade three and the authors hope that readers and everyone who they educate will keep the following in mind when a baby hare is spotted and looks abandoned:
- Leave it alone unless there is obvious signs of injury, since the mother is nearby;
- If you mistakenly pick it up, put it right back. The mother will not reject the baby because you touched it;
- Baby hares are extremely easily stressed animals and do very poorly in captivity. The best chance for its survival is to be reunited with its mom.
- It is against the law to keep most wild animals. Don’t try to raise any on your property.
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The Royal Alberta Museum
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Wild baby animals are not the expertise of the Edmonton Humane Society, so as part of a solid partnership; any baby hares that mistakenly come to the EHS’s shelter are transferred over to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton (WRSE).
People should not bring the animals to the EHS. If anyone suspects that a baby hare’s mother may have been killed and is not around at all, then a person should call the WRSE hotline at 780-914-4118.