CHAPTER 74—THE SECRET LIFE OF WILD RABBITS
Several weeks had passed by since the Willow, the wild bun, had appeared in their yard. Dad frequently spotted Willow out in the garden, munching on willow leaves and alfalfa near the burrow entrance. Those seemed to be her favorite. Occasionally, she would wander over to the magic garden and nibble on the fresh clover.
Dad watched Willow through the window, curious about the behavior of wild rabbits. Normally, to watch the secret life of wild rabbits, a human would have to camp out in a field. But he could observe their behavior right from his kitchen window.
He noticed whenever Willow heard a noise, her ears would stand straight up and she’d dive for the burrow, only to emerge when all was safe. But she didn’t seem to be living in it. It was just her bolt-to spot near the food. “I wonder where she’s living?” pondered Dad to Abigail.
One day, Dad was under the house working on some water pipes with a plumber. As they slid across an old piece of plywood lying on the ground, they heard squealing. They looked at each other. “What could that be?” asked Dad. “Rats?” suggested the plumber.
The plumber lifted up the sheet of plywood, and there were four furry little creatures, cowering together. “They are rats,” said the plumber. But Dad took a closer look, “No! They’re rabbits!” he exclaimed. They had accidentally stumbled upon Willow’s burrow.
Dad carefully placed the plywood back over the babies and both were careful not to slide on it as they finished the plumbing repairs. Dad closed the access door tightly, so no other animals could get in.
Willow was a smart mom. She had found a perfect place to raise her kits under the house. The babies were safely hidden under the plywood and it was cool there. She had found a small opening that only she could squeeze through so no predators could get to them.
To keep an eye on them, Dad set up a camera under the house. Willow would stop by to feed her kits once a day around 2:30 in the morning. The rest of the time, she was gone.
As the kits grew bigger, they emerged from under the plywood. They had the entire space under the house to roam around and play safely. Once the kits were older, Dad began placing willow wreaths under the house, so they would have food to eat without having to leave the safety of their burrow. They were so tiny and vulnerable—and cute!
“Dad, did you figure out where Willow lives?” asked Abigail. “Yes, Abigail. Willow had four kits and they’re living under our house. They’re growing up little by little. They’re very safe under there.” Abigail was relieved. They needed all the help they could get. Although the average life span for a house rabbit is eleven years, the average life span for a wild rabbit is only one to two years because of all the predators. She was glad they were safe!