Yesterday afternoon, Chris called the house from the front yard where he was mowing. "You'll want to come out here and see this," he said. The boys and I got shoes and headed out to find him standing at the edge of our property, peering at the tiniest rabbit possible. The bunny had thankfully been sitting at the lowest point of the grass drainage run near the road, so it was terribly shocked but unharmed, even though Chris went over its' head with the mower.
There was some discussion about whether or not we could keep it as a pet. While we entertained the notion, Ross made a box for the bunny. He decorated with grass and cedar shavings and put in carrots, tender greens, and water (water dish hadn't made it into the box when I took the picture).
At first, the bunny only crouched in the corner, obviously frightened. All crunched up, he'd have fit inside a tennis ball - really small rabbit! Eventually, though, he started exploring the box. The carrots and clover Ross put in seemed of little interest, so I tried some broccoli and tomato leaves, which went over quite well (obviously - the teethmarks already in the leaves when I picked them are no doubt from this bunny's relations...).
Chris had a valid point that Pixie might have a problem with a rabbit living in the house. After the bunny was used to my hands and would crawl up and down my arms, sniffing, when picked up (instead of huddling into a trembling ball), I took him inside for an introduction. Pixie sniffed the bunny in a bored way, made a singular comment, and then set about pressing her head to my hands, asking to be pet. Clearly, the bunny was only going to be a stress point for her if he interfered with her chances of getting pet!
Pixie did get up a bit of rowdier interest when I let the bunny hop around on the floor briefly but returned to largely ignoring the bunny when I moved it back to the center of the room.
After the kids went to bed, I had the bunny curled up, sleeping, tucked on my lap in a fold of my t-shirt. Pixie asked to come up, an arrangement I figured wouldn't last long...but I was wrong. After Pixie got settled on my lap, the bunny wriggled out of my shirt and settled in next to Pixie, warm and purring. Unbelievable cuteness!
In the end, though, Chris prevailed. Considering Pixie's habits, we can't be sure a mouse-sized bunny would be safe here. So, last night after the kids were asleep, I took the bunny back down where we'd found him. I did tuck him a bit farther into the forest than the drain at the edge but not so far in that he wouldn't be able to find his way out again. We'll surely keep an eye out for tiny nibbles in our garden (although it might be tough to detect tiny nibbles hiding among the mongo nibbles of the other rabbits...).