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What to do if you find a rabbit

  1. First establish if it is a bush rabbit , a leveret (baby hare) or a domestic pet.  The Orphanage can assist with identification.

  2. WILD BABIES: If you suspect that you may have found wild rabbit babies, please DO NOT move them unless you find a dead rabbit nearby that could be their mother. Bush bunnies are only fed by the mother in the nest once a day and are on their own the majority of the time – they also explore outside the nest but are able to find their way back.

  3. If the babies are abandoned, each state has different laws regarding their care.  Please reveiw the information sheet for Victoria 

  4. HARES:  Baby hares are called leverets and live above ground.  They position away from the nest in the day to prevent predators destroying the whole litter.  If you find a baby hare, leave it where it is if it is safe from dogs and harm, as the mother will come back in the evening and call for the babies. Raising leverets is difficult and you need to get expert advise from a hare rescue.

  1. DOMESTIC PET RABBITS: If you have found a domestic bunny and you can easily catch it, secure the bunny in a laundry or shed with fresh grass, hay and water. If you do not have hay then some grass, pellets and salad greens (no iceberg lettuce, cabbage or cauliflower though) will suffice for a day or so. The bunny must eat constantly or it can die.

  2. Contact your local pound or rescue to see if anyone has reported their missing rabbit.  

  3. Leave a note in your neighbors letter boxes or door knock to see if they have lost their bunny.  Put a notice (free of charge) on Lost Pet Finders that can be shared on facebook and lost and found groups.

  4. Put notices up at local vets and shops and contact your local rescue or your council pound.

  5. Take the bunny to a vet to see if it is microchipped. Claim ownership of the rabbit, as we have known of vets who have refused to give the animal back to the finder.  They will send it to their local council pound,  where it may be killed.   If the rabbit is not microchipped, then contact your local shelter – your council may be able to provide the location of your shelter. Check what will happen to the bunny if left at the shelter. The sad fact is that  some shelters will euthanaise stray pets due to space and the large number of pets surrendered.

  6. If you cannot catch the bunny, see if you can secure a possum/cat trap from your local council. If they cannot assist you, please call Rabbit Run-Away Orphanage for advise.

  7. While waiting for assistance, encourage the bunny to visit the same area by leaving water, pellets and fruit, vegetables in the same spot each day, as this will make it easier to catch.  A list of safe vegetables are on an information sheet on this website.

  8. Once the bunny is caught it will be very scared.  Put it in a quiet space with hay, pellets and greens.  A rabbit must continually eat or it will die.  Keep the area quiet until you are sure the bunny is eating.  It should begin to trust you and come out for food within a few hours.  A rabbit is a prey animal and it needs to develop and build trust with its carer.

  9. Please also review the information on Surrendering a Rabbit

The first question you need to ask is:
"Have I found a bush bunny, a leveret or a domestic pet?"

Bush Baby Rabbit

Leveret (baby hare)


Domestic Pet Rabbit

Story, Pete, Missy Moo and Saski.jpg
Report a Dumped or Abandoned Bun
If a rabbit is let loose it is a cruelty offence and must be reported  CLICK HERE
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