Monday 19 March 2018

Baby hares rescued from mother hare's dead body after she's struck by car

The hares that were rescued
The hares that were rescued

Linda Stewart

Two infant hares have been rescued after they were removed from the belly of their dead mother after she was struck by a car.

A passer-by came to the rescue 10 days ago after he witnessed the mother hare being hit on the Doagh Road, according to wildlife rescuer Debbie Nelson.

She had died on impact, but the man noticed her belly was moving and cut her open to discover three fully developed leverets that were close to being born.

Debbie, who has taken over the care of the leverets at her rescue centre, Debbie Doolittle's Wild Life, said the rescuer wanted to remain anonymous.

Wildlife rescuer Debbie Nelson
Wildlife rescuer Debbie Nelson

"The chap contacted me last night and had seen the mother hare being hit by a car in front of him," Debbie said. "So he pulled over, being an animal lover, and stopped to look at it. The hare was dead but he noticed that her belly was moving."

The rescuer was a fisherman and had a fishing knife in the car, Debbie said.

"He cut her belly open and found the three babies, still in the sac. He removed them and put them inside his baseball cap and rushed home."

The babies were fully developed and may have been within a day or so of being born. Unfortunately one of them was dead, but the other two are now thriving at the rescue centre near Antrim.

"Since then he has been bottle feeding them and taking good care of them. They're fine, he's done an amazing job," Debbie added. "I am taking over the next stage as he feels they are becoming a bit too tame. They need to be weaned off the bottle and to get a bit more used to solid food and getting ready to be released." Debbie has had a huge online response to her Facebook post.

"It's not something that you tend to see. It's the kind of thing you only see on YouTube," she said. Last year Debbie took in an incredible 1,089 injured wild animals at Debbie Doolittle's Wild Life and released 843 back into the wild after they have been nursed back to recovery.

She has rescued animals from roof spaces, stables, drains, industrial buildings, car engines, boiler houses, behind bathroom panels and chimneys.

Debbie has been rescuing animals since she was a child and went on to work and volunteer in various environmental groups.

But in 2014 she decided to set up her own animal rescue centre at her home just outside Antrim.

"We converted the premises so we have a mini wildlife hospital. A lot of baby animals are in the house over the spring and summer and a lot of hutches are donated to us," she said.

Anyone interested in supporting Debbie's work or taking up her educational programme can find out more at

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