"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Little thing...

I took the dogs for their evening constitutional the other day, before the latest cold snap.

Whenever we walk here we always do it with our eyes wide open - on the lookout for snakes.  But this time I spotted someting else on the driveway.  And I immediately reacted.

"RMaaaaaaaaaaaan.  Heeeeeeeeeelp" I screamed.

And simultaneously, "Mandy / Scallywag, heeeeeeeeeeeeel".  Mandy doesn't listen though.  So RMan was indeed urgently needed.

Thankfully, he came running, and whilst I held the dogs back, he rescued the poor little thing I had found and which was being eaten alive by the ants.
Lepus Capensis leveret - or baby hare
A baby Lepus Capensis hare - a "leveret".  Just the cutest little creature I've seen in a long time.
Warm, protective hands
 RMan had an immediate memory jolt - he kept rabbits when he was a tiny tot.
Just too cute
Once he had cleaned off the biting ants - and the poor little thing was literally crawling with them - we tried giving it some water, and then some very watery milk.  Not interested.
Weak - but still very active
Even though it was breathing fast and in a very weakened state, it still tried to jump out of RMan's gentle hands.  Thanfully, he caught it in time.
I immediately Googled hares in the Western Cape and discovered that the mother leaves them during the day in shallow hollows or "forms"- normally covered by brush.  This one obviously didn't listen, and went walk about...
Snug in a box whilst we Google how to help it
Whilst I was Googling, RMan found a shoe box, and giving the leveret some grass clippings and a bit of a lettuce leaf (neither of which it touched), he placed it in the warmth and security of the footwell of my car.

I was worried about the little thing - it was so young, and I knew it would need it's mother, and it's mother's milk.  So, as it was getting dark and chilly, I managed to convince RMan to replace the baby hare where he had found it - making sure it was in as ant free an area as possible.  We hoped that the mother would find it again.

Sadly, she didn't - and the little thing didn't make it through the night.  Such a pity - it was such a sweet little thing.

And, I am always amazed at how strong, rough male hands can, in the wink of an eye, become such tender, caring appendages :)

8 comments:

--Leanan-- said...

Poor little hare. :( We found one few years back too, fed it for almost a month but in the end he didn't survive. :( When you see a little hare next time DON'T touch it. Once you touch him he will "carry human smell" and his mother will not want him anymore. You could look for the nest and return him to it but in gloves or put plastic bags on your hands before touching him. If you see that the mother isn't coming back and you have to take him you can buy powdered milk for bunnies and try to feed him (with a bottle, they don't know how to eat grass). Hope this helps next time :) ;)

Dani said...

Leanan - welcome - and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

Yeah, I had a feeling that one shouldn't touch it, but it was so completely coverd in biting ants there would've been no other way to get them off.

Thanks for the info - I'll bear it in mind if we ever come across another one :)

kymber said...

oh Dani - so sad. but what beautiful, tender hands the RMan has.

your friend,
kymber

Dani said...

kymber - Very sad. But we couldn't leave it to get eaten alive by the ants. A no win.

RMan - very special :)

Sue said...

They sure are cute at that age.
Shame what happened, but I agree-it would have been hard to just leave it covered in ants.
Nature can be cruel.

1st Man said...

Awww, adorable and sad at the same time. Y'all gave the little thing it's best fighting chance and sometimes that's all we can do. Your effort to save the little guy/gal will not go unnoticed by mother nature. When you least expect it, you'll get some positive return in some way. It's all part of the circle of life and how we're all connected.

And sweet comment about RMan. :-)

Dani said...

Sue - And the temptation to interfere too great... :(

Dani said...

1st Man - I know, what goes around, comes around. And one's instinct to "assist" is sometimes to great to resist...