A week ago while out walking our dogs, Terry and I found a baby hare about 2 weeks old, lying in the road, weak and covered in red ants preparing to eat him alive. We took him home and put him in a quiet dark place wrapped in a towel. He was very weak, in shock and we fully expected the Black Rabbit of Inlé to come for him in the night and prepared ourselves to find him dead the next morning.
In any event we still had to at least try to keep him alive and discovered, after searching the web that we needed to find some puppy or kitten baby formula to feed to him in a syringe 4 times a day to substitute mothers milk.
I started him on the baby formula a few hours after bringing him home and now 7 days later, I am thrilled to announce that, “Fiver” (named after the little psychic seer rabbit in Watership Down) has had a remarkable recovery!
The next challenge we faced was finding someone to take him over from us as we are leaving Mauritius for good in just under 3 weeks and needed to find him a foster Mommy – fast! Once again, luck was on his side and we found Laetitia who is willing to care for him until he is ready for release into the wild.
In my search for information on how to keep this little breath of life alive I learned many things; a baby hare is known as a leveret, they are highly strung little creatures born above ground, fully furred with their eyes open. So as to avoid the entire litter being lost to predators, after a few days the leverets separate each to their own little resting place on the ground called a “form” and when the mother comes to feed them morning and night she calls them to her. I have a feeling that Fiver’s mommy got caught by poachers, he went looking for her and ended up in the road, hungry and weak.
Hares and rabbits and found everywhere in the arts, culture and literature, some classic examples are Brer Rabbit, Bugs Bunny, the White Rabbit and March Hare in Alice in Wonderland and as previously mentioned, the famous rabbits in Douglas Adams book, Watership Down.
All around the world rabbits and hares are associated with the moon, the celestial body ruling magic, romance and reproduction and in east Asian cultures and Aztec mythology there is a rabbit that lives on the moon and is often depicted pounding the elixir of life in a mortar and pestle. There is also an ancient myth that to see a moon gazing hare brings growth, re-birth, abundance, new beginnings and good fortune. The hare is also known as the sacred animal ally to the pagan goddess Ostara and in native American mythology Nanabozho or the Great Rabbit is an important deity related to creating the world.
I am a not sure why little “Fiver” and I crossed paths in this lifetime, whether he came to remind me that life is transient and sacred and I need to cherish each moment or perhaps he came to herald my new beginnings in South Africa and bring me good fortune. Whatever the reason, I feel awed and privileged to have had the opportunity to share this time and space in love with him.
Look. Look. That’s the place for us. High, lonely hills, where the wind and the sound carry, and the ground’s as dry as straw in a barn. That’s where we ought to be. That’s where we have to get to.” – Fiver speaking – Watership Down
All my love,