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It happens a lot: people ‘rescue’ a seemingly abandoned baby rabbit. But is it? Wild rabbits (cottontails) leave their nests alone most of the time, often visiting just twice a day, so don’t assume a baby without a visible mother needs help…unless it’s CLEARLY domestic. Here’s how to tell them apart: * Wild rabbits are always brown with an agouti pattern (black, white and muted yellow mixed together, but definitely overall a camouflage beige-gray-brown). * Domestic rabbits can be this color, but are likely to be black, white, orange, deep chocolate brown, cinnamon, orange, gray, spotted, blotched or a combination of colors. * Wild rabbits always have erect, slightly pointy ears. * Domestic rabbits can have ears like this, but they’re more likely to have somewhat larger ears that end in more of a hairpin curve than a point. They can also have floppy ears (lop). * Wild rabbits have narrow, pointed heads. * Domestic rabbits generally have rounder heads. They might have a wedge-shaped head, but it will still be visibly wider and have more padding in the cheek area. * Wild rabbits have teeny tails that come to a sharp point, with a distinctive flash of white underneath (the ‘cotton’ tail). * Domestic rabbits have tails that are broader, fluffier and like a beaver’s, but furry. * Wild rabbits are muscular, even as babies, and are lean (not skinny, but built along the lines of an Olympic sprinter). * Domestic rabbits, even breeds that will be trim as adults, are soft round squish balls as babies. * Wild rabbits are smaller than domestic ones. The two babies here are the same age, and you can clearly see the size and other differences between them. If you DO find a wild baby rabbit the right thing to do is usually…nothing. If you’re certain it needs help, handle it as little as possible, keep it it a dark, quiet place and call the nearest Wildlife Rehabilitation Center. And if you find a domestic baby rabbit call a rabbit rescue or animal shelter so it can get the help it needs!