A wild rabbit with a broken leg is like being on the edge of a cliff without a lifeline. Unlike domestic rabbits, who get served everything, including food and care, on a platter, wild rabbits have to fend for themselves. They must scavenge for shelter, food, water, and mates to survive in their environment.
In the wild, rabbits are at the bottom of the food chain, meaning they are prey animals and are often hunted by hungry predators. Rabbit predators include hawks, owls, eagles, coyotes, foxes, badgers, feral cats, and so on.
Wild rabbits need their legs to get food, water, mate, shelter, and escape from blood-thirsty predators. They rely on their legs to keep them mobile, happy, and secure. However, with it broken, their survival is left to fate – a terrible place.
So what do you do when encountering a wild rabbit with a broken leg? Find out in this guide.
How Serious Is a Broken Leg for a Wild Rabbit?
As wild animals, rabbits rely on their legs to get food, and as prey animals, they rely on their fast limbs to escape dangerous situations. A broken limb would drastically reduce their chances of survival.
It is tricky for rabbits to survive in the wild, even if they are healthy. Rabbits get eaten by predators now and then but have been able to survive extinction due to their short gestation period and mass reproduction.
Losing a significant limb to injury will make their lives difficult. It simply means they won’t be able to compete for food, mate for reproduction, and will also become easy targets for predators that are quick to kill.
How Important are a Rabbit’s Legs?
They need their legs for several day-to-day activities and, most importantly, survival.
Rabbits use their front legs to run, grab things, and achieve stability. An injury to the front of a wild rabbit is less devastating. Rabbits hardly break the bones in their front legs because they’re smaller and shorter than their hind legs.
Rabbits survive the danger and thrive in their environment thanks to their quick, strong, and powerful hind legs. With these legs, rabbits can jump, run, dig, mate, and even fight off adversaries.
The hind leg is essential for the survival of rabbits. Breaking a bone in these legs will leave them defenseless or make them an easy dinner for hunting predators.
What is The function of a Rabbit’s Legs?
A rabbit’s leg has three (3) primary functions: running, digging, and self-defense. These activities are part of their daily survival, with the hind leg playing an integral role. So if the broken one is the hind limb, the consequences are even direr.
Rabbits have a 1.5-foot gait and can run at a top speed of 30 miles per hour. Their quickness and agility aid them in evading predators. This means that their legs are powerful and can tolerate physical harm.
Rabbits, by nature, dwell in burrows. The burrow protects from predators and the blazing heat of the sun. They use their muscular hind limbs to dig and build tunnels beneath the ground, where they dwell in colonies with other bunnies.
While wild rabbits may not have a human to care for them, they do have a big social circle that watches out for them.
Rabbits also use their legs to defend themselves and attack predators and competition. When a wild rabbit is caught with nowhere to go, it can protect itself by launching powerful kicks and fighting with its claws.
What to Do When You See a Wild Rabbit With Broken Legs
Assume that you were walking or driving past and noticed a rabbit curled up on the road. You approach it, but it remains still. When you get closer to see it carefully, you notice that something is wrong with the tiny rabbit. It has broken a leg and is probably terrified and in pain.
If you come across a wild rabbit with a broken leg, here’s what you should do:
1. Evaluate the Situation and the Environment
If you find yourself in this circumstance, the first thing to do is assess the situation and observe the surroundings. It’s important to know that danger might lurk around if you attempt to help the rabbit.
The rabbit may be in danger, spreading to you while you try to help. If this is the case, approaching it may be a wrong decision.
For example, there could be a snake in the grass, or it could have a grip on the poor bunny, but you can’t see it because it’s camouflaged.
2. Know When to help
Maintain your distance and study the surroundings to ensure there is no danger in or around where you discovered the rabbit.
Also, remember that the wild rabbit may carry a disease that may be transmitted to you. Rabbits usually don’t bite humans, but being a wild and injured one, it’s still a possibility.
If you still feel unsafe after observing for a while, it may be best to go away and call for help or leave the rabbit to fate. If you see no reason to be concerned, go to the next step in helping the rabbit.
3. Handle the Rabbit Properly
If you decide to assist the rabbit, wear appropriate safety equipment. Use a thick towel, a jacket, a box, or anything that comes in between you and the injured rabbit to scoop or carry it carefully. This is because wild rabbits are uncomfortable with humans and are used to being hunted; they will most likely perceive you as a predator.
4. Find Help
Do you feel unsafe helping the poor rabbit and don’t want to risk getting into danger? We recommend that you call the House Rabbit Society, PETA, or any other organization that specializes in helping and saving animals in emergencies.
5. Caring for The Injured Rabbit
If you’ve decided to take care of the injured rabbit, you still need to be very careful. While in your care, the wild rabbit will be very stressed and scared because it is not used to human interaction.
Contact and book an appointment with your vet to get proper treatment for the injured rabbit. You will have to foot the medical bill, which may cost thousands of dollars, especially if surgery is required to fix the broken legs.
Options for Treating a Broken Leg in Rabbits?
With the right treatment, a wild rabbit can recover from a broken leg. There are three (3) primary ways of treating a rabbit with a broken leg. They include:
- Surgical Repair: This method involves a vet surgeon performing surgery on the broken leg to keep it in place.
- Non-Surgical Repair: This method involves the vet surgeon using splints and bandaging material to keep the broken pieces of the rabbit’s leg in line for healing.
- Amputation: This method involves the vet surgeon performing surgery to amputate the broken leg.
You can visit a vet to give you the best recommendation possible.
Wild rabbits have traits and attributes that help them survive in their environment. One such characteristic is their strong, fast, and powerful legs, which assist them in finding food and escaping predators.
An injury such as a broken leg is a major blow to the survival quest of the wild rabbit. If you happen to stumble on a wild rabbit with a broken leg, we hope that this article will come in handy, and you’ll make the best decision for yourself and the bunny.