I suspect not.
I cannot believe that it is approaching two years since I blogged. How can the time have flown so fast? I was distracted by a tumblr site I started last year to enable me to post quick batches of photos of places we had been and things we had seen but even that has fallen into disuse. And it’s not as if I don’t have plenty of wildlife to blog about…
A friend has been having the fun and interest of watching hares – of various sizes – visit her garden since spring so in view of the fact that hares are on my mind, I’ll take the opportunity to write about Grunty the Leveret. That should also please a certain Madame Cardy…
It was a hot and sunny afternoon in early June about 7 years ago. I’d noticed Pepper the dog lying in full sun, looking hot and uncomfortable but intent on something in the long grass. I didn’t think much of it but about an hour later, noticed he was still there, panting hard and he’d been joined by several cats who were also looking down into the grass. Odd.
On closer inspection, a small creature sat up on its hind legs and grunted loudly and aggressively at me. The cats backed off, Pepper wagged his tail and I picked up what I assumed was a rabbit and then realised must be a leveret, a baby hare.
Oh blimey !
Young rabbits don’t emerge from the warren until they are well developed and mobile. This feisty little creature was too small and not sufficiently mobile to be a young rabbit so it must be a hare. And I’d picked it up. Having picked it up, I’d transferred my scent to the animal so even if I could figure out from where Pepper had found the leveret (which was not possible) Mama Hare would reject the leveret because it now smelt ‘wrong’.
First step was to find out how to keep the animal alive. Google was my – and the leveret’s – friend. I found the wonderful Hare Preservation Trust’s website and also an exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful woman – Susan McClure – who patiently talked me through the first few days.
The site (at that time) recommended powdered kitten milk as being the product most easily available from a vet in sensible quantities for most people. However, the gold standard was ewe replacement milk for lambs. It’s the gold standard for reasons of high fat content, apparently. Happily, though we had no ewe replacement milk in the house, we knew where we could get it so while I got to work with some glucose solution in case the leveret was dehydrated, Patrick went off in search of a friendly neighbourhood farmer who was bottle-feeding lambs and therefore had a scoopful of powder available. And my mission to Grow A Leveret began…
…How to grow a leveret – part 2 to follow in a few days.