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Surviving Hurricane Katrina, Mother Rabbit Gives the Gift of Life

Mother Rabbit and her two surviving babies, Camelia and Magnolia, rest inside their hutch.


It's a miracle that the white rabbit became a mother at all. She was a victim of the New Orleans flood caused by Hurricane Katrina. She and a fellow rabbit had evaded all sorts of dangers in their neighborhood, including getting killed by starving dogs and cats. But it was becoming increasingly difficult to find adequate grazing to stay alive.

Attempts by animal rescuers to catch the two rabbits had failed, and eventually the white rabbit's companion disappeared all together. But when a humane trap was baited with aromatic apple slices, the starving white rabbit could not resist.

Caught and terrified, the white rabbit was driven twenty plus hours north to the Washington, D.C. area where her rescuer, Jen, lived. Jen settled the white rabbit in a large pen in her house. She provided plenty of bedding straw for a comfortable night's sleep, fresh hay and greens to eat, and clean water to drink.

All of this was just in time!

That very night, the white rabbit made a nest in the straw. She lined the nest with her soft, warm fur, and delivered four babies. After their births, she cleaned them meticulously and placed them carefully in the nest. Unfortunately due to her malnourished condition, only two of the four babies survived. For the following weeks the white rabbit, affectionately called Mother Rabbit, devoted herself to her babies—two little sisters, named Camelia and Magnolia. Mother Rabbit nursed them and kept their nest clean and in good repair. She groomed them and cared for them as only a mother can.

- On the tenth day the bunnies' eyes opened.
- On the 12th day their ears opened.
- On the 16th day they began to hop about, nibble on solid food and mimic every move their mother made.

At the end of eight weeks, plump and healthy, Camelia and Magnolia no longer needed their mother's milk. It was time for their permanent home.

Jen planned to escort the three rabbits down to the Rabbit Sanctuary in Simpsonville, South Carolina. But Mother Rabbit was weak and exhausted. Her struggle to survive the hurricane, the malnourishment that had followed, and then the birth and care of her babies had all exacted a devastating toll. Not long after her mission to successfully raise and wean her children was accomplished, she died. Her two daughters are now living the ideal life their mother wished for them at their forever home, the Rabbit Sanctuary.

All mothers, regardless of species, make sacrifices for their young. As we recognize and appreciate our own mothers on Mothers Day, let us also think of mothers everywhere and realize the needs of others who share this planet with us.

Posted May 8, 2007