If rabbits have escaped, the concern is usually great – but no reason to panic. If the worst comes to the worst, as the owner, you should remain calm and proceed in a structured manner in order to quickly bring your long-eared bat back to safety. Here’s how to do it.
It is not uncommon for rabbits who have escaped to return to their fellow rabbits and their food bowl on their own – Shutterstock / Leena Robinson
In the best-case scenario, your rabbit will come back on its own. Even if you don’t, don’t give up hope. You’ll need patience, a few volunteers, and some luck too. In any case, you should immediately take the time to search – sometimes seconds count.
Rabbit escape: immediate action
If you discover that your rabbit has escaped, you should make sure that no other rabbits follow. If the long-eared bat was able to escape from an outdoor enclosure, find and close the place where it broke out – a hole in the fence or a dug tunnel, for example. Then it’s on to the search. It’s quite possible that the refugee is still nearby and just looking around. Therefore, first search the immediate vicinity or the garden and also take a look at bushes and hedges. If nothing can be seen, the search must be expanded. First, however, the attractant method is used. Place your muncher’s favorite food in an open cage – the animal may smell its food and come back comfortably after a while. If this does not work, the large-scale search begins.
Expand search for escaped rabbit
You need patience and helpers now. Mobilize family members, friends, and neighbors to help you search. The more wards you have in the search party, the higher the chances. It is best to organize the search so that each person slowly starts in a different direction, starting from the location of the successful escape. For optimal communication, each helper should carry a mobile phone and have treats in their pocket to be able to attract the furry friend if necessary. One person should always remain on site and keep an eye on the food that is laid out – if the long-eared bat comes back, it can then be caught and the search ended.
Be sure to search systematically: the longer the animal is away, the further away you search. Rabbits like to hide, so you should look into shelters. Pay special attention to bushes, tall grass and other hiding places and try not to move too quickly, loudly and hastily as this can startle the animal.
What to do when it gets dark
If you can’t see the rabbit after dark, don’t give up hope. While more danger lurks at night than during the day, rabbits still have their instincts and well-trained senses. They are excellent at hiding and are quicker than almost any other animal. An escaped rabbit can survive a night outdoors with no problem. In the best case, it will return to its conspecifics and the filled feeding bowl on its own the next day.
Further measures if the rabbit escapes
If you haven’t been able to find your rabbit yet, involve strangers in the search. Distribute search slips with the animal’s photo and your address and telephone number. You can hand these out to private individuals, distribute them in shops or hang them up in clearly visible places, such as on trees, street lamps or shop windows (please ask the shop owner first).
Also check out animal shelters and vets in the area – someone may have already given your rabbit to them. Many homes and doctors have a bulletin board where you can also post search notices. Keep looking and ask your neighbors to check their garages and basements as well.
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