Work That Needs To Be Done
I spend more time gardening now than working with wildlife. But if I was younger and more energetic, I would begin measuring the pH of these bunny’s urine as they mature, carefully record it, and share that knowledge. I would use a light microscope to examine the organisms found in mature cottontail ceca, gram stain them, and document their appearance in baby rabbits and their influence on the baby’s general health. I am guessing that there will be a drop in pH and an increase in gram negative bacteria in their stools shortly before the cottontails get into trouble, similar to what Lajos Lelkes found.
I would develop and share better growth tables. I would link up with a veterinary school microbiologist to identify these organisms and with a university rumenologist to interpret their significance and the roles they play. I would explore the benefits of added sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) in preventing gastrointestinal problems in weaning rabbits.