I found a rabbit on the side of a trail in the woods. Clearly domesticated. Possibly released. While I wait for replies to rescue organizations and Craigslist replies from the owner (and if no reply, decide if I'll keep or give away), what should I be doing?

  • I bought some hay and food and a "chew stick" and gave it a cushioned cat bed in a corner.
  • I placed cardboard on the floor around that area
  • I've petted it. While petting, I found two tiny ticks and removed them. I also saw two fleas. I did not see any other critters. Is this indicative of an infestation, or is it likely just a few that were picked up while it was outside?
  • I placed an unplugged cord nearby and it sniffed but did not chew it
  • I'm now letting it run around and explore the house.
  • Is there anything above I shouldn't be doing?
  • Is there anything else I should be doing?

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  • If you like to keep it, you should think about a second one as companion. Humans are not able to "speak rabbit language" so no human can replace a rabbit-rabbit relationship, equal how much we try :) Feb 14, 2022 at 16:14

2 Answers 2


So, first, kudos to you for doing a very good thing! So many people think they can release rabbits to the wild and these rabbits have no natural defenses, so it's a death sentence. Thank you for the rescue!

In any event, you're doing pretty much all the right things. In terms of immediate food/care:

  • Timothy hay (any pet store)
  • Some fresh veggies like carrot tops, dandelion, and romaine lettuce. You can get pellets, but I generally kept the amount of those low in favor of veggies because they're fattening.
  • Fresh water

Rabbits are litter trainable. If you have the will, pick up a low slung litter box and line it with something like care fresh (avoid pine or cedar shavings) and put some hay at one end. This will encourage the rabbit to use the box rather than your floor.

As @IHeartBunnies noted, move your chewables out of the way or they will get chewed. Electrical is particularly worrisome in this respect.

Finally, flea/tick issued should be handled in consultation with a vet. Over the counter remedies can be very dangerous because they're usually designed for cats and dogs and dosages are not appropriate for rabbits. How you want to handle that, I guess, will depend on whether or not you decide to keep it. Don't be surprised if you decide to do that, rabbits are great pets and easy to care for if you pay reasonable attention, and it already sounds like you might have started to bond.

  • 1
    revolution flea treatment is generally recommended (requires a prescription) it will kill, fleas, ticks AND internal parasites that the rabbit may have picked up. Aug 19, 2014 at 0:21
  • I haven't seen any more ticks or fleas. It looked very clean and healthy when we found it. I think it might have been abandoned for only a few hours at that point.
    – mankoff
    Aug 19, 2014 at 14:20

Everything you are doing seems fine to me, but you might want to make sure that he/she doesn't get near any cords because just because he/she didn't touch the cord at first doesn't really mean much. As the rabbit gets used to your house, and the space it has, it will begin to get curious, and start chewing on things. You still want to make sure that it has plenty of space to run around. Also, make sure there is always hay out for it to eat.

  • @mankoff Also about the ticks, you might want to look out for more, but there is a chance that what you saw were picked up from outside, because it is unknown how long he/she has been outside. However, if you spot a couple more, it might be an infestation. Aug 18, 2014 at 15:33

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