Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society has nearly reached its capacity to take in baby hares just as the busy baby season starts.
Calgary Wildlife is currently caring for 35 baby hares that were brought to the wildlife clinic by well-meaning individuals thinking the babies needed help. But in reality, the majority of the hares did not need help.
Of the 35 babies brought to Calgary Wildlife, only three had injuries that required attention, the remaining 32 were unintentionally taken from their mothers. Often well-meaning individuals see a baby hare by itself during the day and assume the hare has been orphaned or needs help. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Hares are born with their eyes open and the ability to hop within hours of birth. Their mothers leave them during the day as a way of protecting them from predators but always come back to feed and forage with them. Baby hares can easily camouflage into their surroundings and freeze in place, which makes them nearly invisible to predators.
In general, hares are very difficult animals to rehabilitate due to their extremely high-stress levels and delicate gut bacteria. Sadly, healthy baby hares brought into rehabilitation centres have a much higher mortality rate than if they were left on their own in the wild. The best advice during the baby season is, “if you see a baby hare you should leave it there”. If the public is unsure if a baby hare needs help, they can call the Calgary Wildlife hotline at 403-214-1312 for advice.