(WFSB) - Police and wildlife officials are warning people not to pick up baby rabbits.
Plainville police on Wednesday listed a few myths and misconceptions about the cottontail rabbits that may have burrowed in a homeowner's yard.
"With rabbits, a common myth is that if you touch a baby rabbit the mother will no longer care for it," Plainville police posted to their Facebook page. "Nine times out of 10, the mother will return to care for the babies after they have been handled."
Still, they said the rabbits should not be touched.
Police said another misconception is if the mother isn't around the nest, she has abandoned it.
"Mothers feeds baby rabbits only twice a day, at dawn and dusk," police said. "Baby rabbits found alone in a nest are usually not orphans."
They recommended that if a nest is disturbed, it be put back together to cover the babies.
"To check if the mother is coming to care for them, place several lengths of yarn (small branches work, too) in a grid pattern over the nest," they said. "If the grid is disturbed after the next dawn or dusk, the mother is still caring for the youngsters."
Police said baby rabbits leave the nest at about 3 weeks old, when they're the size of a chipmunk.
"If you find a chipmunk-sized but fully-furred rabbit with eyes open, ears erect, and the ability to hop, they are meant to be on their own," police said. "As small and helpless as they may look, they are not an orphan and doesn't need your help."
They said the best thing a homeowner can do to protect the rabbits is check the yard for nests before the grass is mowed.
For more information, they recommended heading to the Humane Society's website here.