Rabbits can, quite famously, be escape artists. With their ability to dig so fast and jump so high, it is important to ensure your accommodation is bunny-escape-proof and that, when you get your rabbits in and out of their enclosure, you do so safely with minimal chance of escape. We do, however, understand that sometimes the unexpected happens and bunnies can take a wander…
What to do if you find a stray rabbit
The first thing to do when you find a stray rabbit is to ensure its safety. If you can easily catch it without causing them too much distress, this is great. If not, try your hardest to move the rabbit away from any roads or areas of danger and try to pen it in somewhere.
Once you’ve caught the rabbit, it’s worth checking with any immediate neighbours to see if they could be missing a rabbit. You could also post on social media in local groups. However, please remember that a lot of people try to claim pets that aren’t theirs and you need to be careful who you hand the rabbit to.
Remember the following:
The owner should have an enclosure/set-up for the rabbit – if they don’t, they’re probably not the rabbit’s owner!
The owner should have photos of the rabbit – not many pet owners don’t take photos of their pet.
The owner should be relatively local - rabbits are unlikely to travel many miles
Don’t be afraid to ask the owner for proof of ownership before handing over the rabbit.
If you can’t find an owner or you aren’t 100% sure that the people who have come forward really are the owners, contact your local rescue centre or vet to have the rabbit scanned for a microchip. The vet/rescue should then be able to keep hold of the rabbit and will give a period of time for an owner to come forward before relinquishing the rabbit to a pet adoption service.
Don’t be tempted to try and rehome the rabbit yourself – rescues will homecheck/vet any potential homes and will also have important policies in place. Not only this, but rescues and vets are able to check the animal for any illness or injuries and will have the facilities to quarantine them from any other animals. They are also often the first places people will check if they have lost their pets – especially if they don’t use social media.
If no one comes forward within the rescue’s policy wait-time and you are keen to take over ownership of the rabbit, most rescues will then give you the opportunity to apply for adoption of the rabbit.
What if I can’t catch the rabbit?
If you can’t catch the rabbit, contact your local rescue centre who may have specialist equipment/techniques and volunteers/staff to help.
How do I know if it’s a wild or domestic rabbit?
If you’re unsure, the best thing to do is send a photo to your local rescue as they can advise you, or come out and check. Remember, wild rabbits can also be black!
Why can’t I keep the rabbit with me until the owner is found?
Finding a rabbit and not taking the appropriate steps to find an owner can be seen as theft. It is important to hand the rabbit to a rescue or vet, as they will have policies in place to ensure the rabbit is healthy, and then returned to the owner or rehomed.
PLEASE NOTE: It is very important to keep any stray rabbits away from any pets of your own, as they may be carrying a virus/disease.
Don’t forget to microchip your own bunnies!
If you have found a stray and need advice, or you’re local to us and need our help, please do get in touch.