On March 19, a truck arrived at a Western Washington feed store with a load of hay from the Othello area. Workers heard a strange, squealing sound coming from the back of the truck as they were unloading it.
When they investigated, they found four infant bunnies tucked in among the hay bales. They scooped up the unexpected stowaways and brought them to the PAWS Wildlife Center where they became the first baby mammals we received this spring season.
At PAWS we identified the infants as Nuttall’s Cottontails, a species common on the east side of the Cascades that is often found in grassy areas such as hay fields.
The tiny rabbits were only a few days old, and weighed about 40 grams (about 1.5 ounces) each when they arrived. Their eyes had not even opened yet. They were a little dehydrated but otherwise healthy.
As of this writing, the cottontails have been in care for 10 days. Their eyes are open and they are capable of running and jumping. If all goes well we should be able to return them to their home on the east side of the mountains in a few weeks.