Sometimes a nature study opportunity just presents itself! Two days ago we discovered that a cotton-tailed rabbit had delivered a litter of 8 bunnies in the raised garden outside our condo! Ever since, we have been visiting, observing, and feeding our fuzzy new neighbors. What a perfect time to do a cotton-tail rabbit nature study!
We read pages 215-219 in Anna Botsford Comstock’s Handbook of Nature Study. I don’t read the entire section to my kids because it wouldn’t hold their attention. I go through with a pencil and underline the parts I want to read.
After that, we went down to observe the bunnies.
- Pay attention to the rabbit’s ears. What do you think it’s thinking?
- Take a look at the nostrils. Why do you think it wiggles so? Do you think they have a good sense of smell?
- Look at the placement of they eyes. Why do you think they’re located where they are? Do rabbits blink?
- Look at the hind legs. Why do rabbits need such strong hind legs?
- How does a rabbit protect itself? What is meant by “freezing”?
The girls made a few sketches of the rabbits. We didn’t use a printable for this because it was super last minute, and we didn’t have a chance to print anything out. Instead, the kids made a scrapbook page to paste her sketches onto. She wrote a few interesting facts that she learned about. Here are some of the things we learned about rabbits that we didn’t know before:
- Bunnies leave their coverlet at 3 weeks old, at which time they’re on their own.
- Rabbits use their strong hind legs to jump up to 8 feet (which would explain how they got into our high-off-the-ground planter)
- Predators for baby rabbits include; hawks, owls, snakes, and red squirrels. RED SQUIRRELS!
- Rabbits don’t dig their own burrows. They move in to deserted burrows of woodchucks or skunks. The mother rabbit makes a coverlet using grass and her own fur. In the case of our baby bunnies, they mom didn’t use a burrow. She just made a coverlet out of mulch. City rabbit!
The Handbookofnaturestudy.blogspot.com is, to me, the holy grail of nature study. She did a great nature study about rabbits back in January of 2009. Well, as you know, nature study never goes out of style! The info in still relevant Check it out!
Have you done a nature study about rabbits? Post a link to your blog post about it, below!