Freqeuently Asked Questions
Why won't my leveret let me put the teat into its mouth?
When they feel stress leverets will go into 'freeze' mode. They will remain still and because you are trying to put something unfamiliar in their mouth, they may clamp their jaw shut. Also, they are born with their front teeth so you would need to insert the teat from the side of their mouth but as close to the front teeth as you can. Be patient, keep trying gently and once you get the teat in, gently squeeze in a tiny drop of milk. Give him time to swallow before you continue a drop at a time. He will eventually start to swallow if you squeeze in a continuous flow of drops, stop for a minute or two then continue.
Why won't my leveret take the milk after he readily accepted the teat?
The milk may be cold, they may not take the milk if it is not warm (not hot) also the teat hole may not be a suitable size. Too big and he could choke, too small and he will get frustrated because he isn't getting the flow of milk he needs to feed well. It's best to cut the teat a tiny amount at a time then fill the bottle with water and test the flow by gently squeezing the bottle, it should flow with a steady drip. It may also take him up to three days to settle. It's best not to offer more feeds to try and speed up the process, that will make matters worse. They don't like, nor should they be, over handled. Allow at least 30 minutes per feed for the first few crucial days, once he settles and starts to suck it will take seconds!
Why when feeding my leveret, does he suddenly stops sucking then wont take any more?
Leveret's will do this once they have had enough. However, if they suddenly stop and you know they haven't had the quantities they normally take or need to take then he may have been spooked by something. Keep him on your knee, let him settle for a few minutes then try again.
Why is my leveret sneezing and retching during feeding?
He may have swallowed/ingested too much milk. Is the teat hole too big? Have you accidentally squeezed the bottle slightly too hard and over filled his mouth? He may sneeze out some of the milk to clear his mouth and throat. Stop feeding him, keep him quiet and still on your lap. Give him around 3-5 minutes then start feeding him again, don't rush him in-between giving a few mouthfuls. Be mindful that excess milk could find it's way to the lungs, this is called 'Inhalation Pneumonia'. At the first signs of him going off his food, has shallow breathing or his chest crackles you must take him to a vet for treatment or you may lose him.
Why does my leveret spend a lot of time in his bed (Form)?
This is quite normal for leverets. In the wild they would 'Rest up' through the day then become active late afternoon/early evening, around the time mum would come to feed them. You must keep this in mind as leverets can climb to a degree so they may escape or injure themselves if the 'housing' you are using is unsuitable.
How long will the hand rearing process take?
It usually takes around 8 weeks through to release. This will depend on the age of your leveret when you got him. At the time of release you need to consider, his weight, health, weather conditions and the time of year, all which must be taken into account. Also finding a suitable release site; you must do some research to establish as best as you can that there are hares present, and there is no hunting, shooting, lamping or coursing in the area.
Why is my leveret licking and nibbling my hand?
This is probably because he is hungry. He may not be getting enough milk to satisfy him. Check his tummy after feeding, it should feel full but not taut. If it doesn't feel full it may be something as simple as the teat size or the milk is cold. You may think he is taking a lot of milk but it may be at a reduced amount for the length of time the feed takes. Keep a daily record of his milk intake and weight.
Do leverets bite?
They may give you an odd nip that you will hardly feel and I have never had one that has drawn blood. If they do nip it is more than likely because you are annoying them.
Why is my leveret making shallow grunting/growling noises?
This is because he is feeling either angry or threatened. He will make these noises to warn you that he is not happy! When a leveret is in server pain or feeling immense fear they may make a high pitched scream, this is not at all pleasant to hear.
Why has my leveret suddenly died when he was doing so well?
This could be for a number of reasons. It could be a build up of stress, leverets are timid creatures and are prone to stress. It may be because of a virus that you don't always see signs of. Over a 24 hour period he may go off his food, have a bloated tummy and /or diarrhoea then die. There may have been an internal problem from birth that you would not of had any knowledge of or maybe he was injured internally by an other animal before he was rescued.
Tips to Success:
Don't over handle your leveret.
He will become tame (imprinted) which when released will put him at a disadvantage.
Don't be tempted deviate from the feeding patten suggested.
You must try to keep your leveret to a routine close to what he would experience in the wild. They don't need, nor are they use to being fed every few hours. The more feeds you give him the less quantity he will take so you will then need to feed him more, more feeding means handling him more, more handling, more stress for the leveret!
Keep him away from domestic noises, pets and family activity.
All these will cause stress to your leveret and leverets can die of stress. If they get used to human voices, dogs, cats and children they will not fear these once back in the wild.
Do not keep you leveret near birds or fowl.
This could have respiratory problems for your leveret, also they they peck and could cause injuries to your leveret.
Give your leveret some fresh air.
As long as it's not wet and or windy you can put your leveret outside. The wire top of his cage will be big enough when he is little, then a hutch with a run when he is a bit bigger, please see my housing information and equipment used. You MUST ensure that what ever it is that it is secure. Check for gaps around the base, weigh it down on the corners with bricks, cover half of it with a sheet or towel for shade and provide an up turned open fronted box with hay bedding. Do not put them out if you are not going to be at home, and unless you have something that is under wired fox/badger/rat proof and secure NEVER leave them out after dark/overnight. You could overnight them in a secure shed.
Try to keep their diet as natural as possible.
Keep their milk warm.
Leverets won't feed well if their milk feeds are not warm. Always check the temperature before feeding, not hot or cold.
Leverets don't like being turned over.
Leverets do not like being on their backs or turned over. When feeding him let him sit on all fours on your lap with one of your hands gently on his back. If you try to turn him over he will spin his hind legs to try and right himself and in doing this he could damage his spine
Always aim to be the only person to handle him.
It's best not to share the hand rearing of a leveret, doing so could cause a lot of stress for him as would other people or children picking him up. If you have children and you feel you want to show them the leveret keep it brief, let them have a quick and quiet stroke but explain that it will be a one off. Explain to them why you are doing this and that it will be the best for the leveret. You could allow them to look in on them from a distance and quietly. It will be educational for the children to share the experience and learn about how the needs of wildlife are different than that of the pets we keep at home.
Always aim to release your leveret.
If you tame your leveret and/or keep him longer than necessary you will most likely end up with a juvenile hare that will chew parts of your home, run wild and damage himself or home contents and out grow any housing you could provide. Their natural instincts WILL kick in so please release them when the time is right to do so.