People who find cottontail rabbit babies often describe them as calm, comfortable, friendly, and sweet. All too often, wildlife rehabilitators receive photos of baby rabbits snuggled in hands, pockets, and bras, with enthusiastic stories about how much they love to be held. These stories almost always end in tragedy, when the babies die of stress.
Animals don’t always communicate that they’re upset in the same way we do. Prey animals like rabbits don’t usually show fear by screaming or crying or biting, but by simply freezing in place and hoping to be left alone. This is easily mistaken for calmness by well-meaning people.
If you find a baby wild animal that appears to need help, don’t handle it any more than is absolutely necessary to transport the animal to a qualified rehabilitator. Otherwise, you risk causing serious harm through your good intentions.