Toronto

Fort York staff found these adorable baby bunnies cuddling in their garden

A litter of baby rabbits was discovered in the Fort York National Historic Site's garden last month — fittingly, on the 150th birthday of Beatrix Potter, the author who brought Peter Rabbit to life.

'We actually didn't know what they were at first... so we thought it was a large rodent'

A litter of baby rabbits were discovered last month at the Fort York National Historic Site in Toronto. (Melissa Beynon)

A litter of baby rabbits was discovered in the Fort York National Historic Site's garden last month — fittingly, on the 150th birthday of Beatrix Potter, the author who brought Peter Rabbit to life. 

(Melissa Beynon)
​"I made the connection of our discovery to the Beatrix Potter anniversary immediately," said Melissa Beynon, program officer at the historic site. "And the gardeners were absolutely delighted to hear the connection."

"Many of us enjoyed Potter's stories as children, especially the story of Peter Rabbit stealing veggies out of Mr. McGregor's garden." 

At first, staff at Fort York did not know what the tiny creatures were.

(Melissa Beynon)

"Their rabbit ears were quite small, so we thought it was a large rodent."

(Melissa Beynon)
But after doing some research, the staff at Fort York discovered that the little hairs and ears meant they were a bunch of baby bunnies.
(Melissa Beynon)
"They were quite sweet," said Beynon. "We took photos everyday and monitored them to make sure they were growing and healthy." 

Although the staff said they never saw the mother, they know the mother visits once a day to feed her young. "Then she leaves to prevent predators from noticing the babies."

(Melissa Beynon/Fort York National Historic Site)
Beynon said they waited until this week to post photos and videos of the bunnies because they didn't want the nest to be disturbed by visitors.

But people on social media and those who got to see the bunnies in person were "enamoured," she said. "People are reacting to it with excitement and are very curious." 

(Melissa Beynon/Fort York National Historic Site)
Beynon said this isn't the first time staff have discovered baby animals at Fort York. The historic site attracts a variety of animals, including skunks, possums, hawks and coyotes as it's near Garrison Creek.
(Melissa Beynon)
The baby rabbits have now outgrown the nest and are out and about, said Beynon. "You can see them in the very early mornings, usually at dusk."
But for those who miss seeing the rapidly growing bunnies, Beynon said they can enjoy the historic site's feature residents: groundhogs. 

"Goodness, there are dozens. Enough that you will be able to see one."

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