Page 15 - Sentinel April 2018
P. 15

BUNNIES Continued from page 14                                      BEAR WISE
        when you’re not looking) you can safely place the baby back in
        the nest, as long as there are no injuries, and then keep the cat   Greetings,  fellow  forest  dwellers!  Yes,  yours’
        or dog away for a while.                                            truly and approximately 12,000 of my Colorado
                                                                                                 colleagues  are  waking
        Cottontails can be injured very easily by a stray cat or dog, other                      from our winter hiber-
        wildlife and, unfortunately, humans.  Window wells are also a                            nation even as you read
        danger especially if uncovered. Babies can fall in breaking legs                         this newsletter. Our an-
        or backs which cannot be fixed. They could sustain a laceration,                          nual  great  awakening
        puncture wound or more seriously head trauma.  And of course                             is triggered by the tem-
        they are trapped so they cannot get out to feed and will most                            perature gauge and not
        likely starve and die. If you do see a bunny in your window                              the  traditional  alarm
        well and there are NO injuries you can safely pick it up and set                         clock  that  you  use  to
        it free. They will not bite but can scratch with their nails, and                        start your day.
        they are pretty tricky to catch.
                                                                                                 Depending  on  season-
        If you do find an injured rabbit (baby or adult) it is ok to put   al weather trends, our actual awakening can vary from year-
        them in a box with a towel to secure them, place in a quiet area,   to-year. It’s also not uncommon for us to wake up, leave our
        then seek help from a rehabilitator. Be sure to use gloves and   dens for a short, then return for some additional ZZZZ time
        wash your hands afterward. The rabbit will not want to eat if   before hitting the floor on all fours. When the thermometer rises
        injured so no need to worry about any food or water. The rehab-  enough to signal the end of freezing temps, so do we.
        ber will take care of that.
                                                                  As you may know, winter hibernation is Mother Nature’s way
        One of the best ways to find help is to go to  of protecting us black bears from starving to death due to dimin-
                                                                  ished food sources during the cold, long winter months. And
        You’ll need to enter your address and the type of wildlife help   you thought your pesky brother-in-law who has been camped
        you are seeking. This will provide you with a list of rehabilita-  out all winter in your basement den was just lazy. Maybe he’s
        tors that can help with specific species. I live here in Larkspur   actually conserving his energy since you stopped feeding him.
        and have been a cottontail and jackrabbit rehabilitator for 14
        years and you are welcome to call me with any questions. 303-  Speaking  of  diminished  food  sources,  we  need  your  help  to
        726-789.  Please be aware that I do work full time and may not   keep our primary diet limited to what nature provides rather
        be able to get back to you right away. I try to return calls on my   than what you provide via accessible garbage cans, bird feeders
        lunch hour and after work. Thank you in advance for caring and   and intentional feeding. With the extremely dry weather, what
        I look forward to a safe and happy spring for all our wildlife.   nature offers as a menu of natural food choices has decreased
                                                                  over  the  past  couple  of  years.  This  makes  your  cooperation
        P.S. Check your grass BEFORE you mow!!!                   even more crucial to help keep us healthy and safe from the
                                                                  dire consequences of eating food you provide
        Some rabbit facts:                                        .
        • Rabbits are not rodents, they are lagomorphs.           Deliberately feeding us black bears is not only unethical; it’s
        • Gestation period is 26-28 days and litter size is usually 1 to   illegal and if reported to local law enforcement will result in a
        9 babies.                                                 fine – for the human not the bear. Some intentional bear feeders
        • Their eyes open at approximately 6-8 days of age, leave the   explain that they do so because they feel sorry for us or want to
        nest at about 13-16 days and are fully independent at the age of   befriend us like a pet. Do yourself and us a favor: if you want a
        15-18 days.                                               pet, rescue a needy dog or cat from the local Humane Society.
        •  It is not unusual for the babies to be unattended for long pe-  We bears are not petable, and we are very unpredictable. Once
        riods of time.                                            we lose our fear of people due to associating humans as provid-
        • Stress is the biggest cause of death in wildlife.       ers of an “easy” food source, we soon become a nuisance and,
                                                                  more importantly, a physical danger to you and your neighbors.
                                                                  Twenty-seven area bears were euthanized by the Colorado De-
                                                                  partment of Game and Wild Life in 2017 for this reason. Bot-
                                                                  tom line: If you really care, don’t feed the bear.

                                                                  Let’s make the month of April Bear-Care Month by taking the
                                                                  following actions:
                                                                  • Never intentionally or inadvertently feed us!
                                                                  • If not already done, make this the season you purchase a “bear
                                                                  proof” garbage can.  This small investment amortized over your
                                                                                                  Continued on page 17
                                                                               Perry Park Sentinel April  2018 - Page 15
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