Throughout the spring and summer many wild mothers will raise their young in both rural and urban environments. It is important to know when to intervene, and when the mother is just out of sight.
Hares are common throughout Calgary and Southern Alberta. They don’t construct nests for their young, but rather deposit the babies (called leverets) in protected areas like bushes and shrubs nearby. The leverets are born fully furred and with their eyes and ears open, unlike rabbits that are born naked, blind, and deaf. The mother tends to stay nearby but keeps her distance to avoid drawing predators to the leveret’s location, reuniting with her young twice daily at dusk and dawn for feeding.
While usually well hidden, occasionally people stumble upon a lone baby hare. Leave the hare alone! It is more than likely not orphaned, but rather tucked away for the day. If the leveret is in a conspicuous location, it is okay to move it to a nearby bush or shrub. The mother and leveret will vocalize to each other. If the hare is under threat of attack from a crow or magpie, the best thing to do would be to shoo the birds away and place a cardboard box over the hare until the birds have lost interest and moved away. Be sure to remove the box by the evening to make sure it can be found by its mother in time to be fed. If the hare is injured in any way, contact a wildlife rehabilitator for advice. If the leveret has been attacked by a cat, it is important to intervene. Cats have bacteria on their teeth and claws can be deadly, and small puncture wounds can be difficult to see. It is always a good idea to contact a wildlife rehabilitation organization for advice.
When in doubt, call for help! Don’t accidentally kidnap a hare, they have a much better chance of survival with their mother! Please contact the Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society hotline at 403-239-2488 for tips, instructions, and advice, or look at the website at www.calgarywildlife.org for more information.