A family which hand-reared an orphan baby hare is continuing to receive visits from the animal weeks after she was released back into the wild.
Natasha Terry and her family took the leveret in after finding her in the garden and cared for her for eight weeks before releasing her into fields near their property in Lincolnshire.
But two months on, the hare – named Clover by the family – still regularly comes into the Terrys’ garden, and has even ventured back into the house.
“We feel a bit like Snow White really,” Mrs Terry, 43, told the PA news agency.
“She came through the back door into the house, which we were surprised about, and she went upstairs and looked into the mirror on our wardrobe – it was like she’d turned up to check how much she’d grown.
“She’s been in a couple of times now – the back door’s open and I think she just thought she’d come and see where she used to live.”
Mrs Terry’s husband Mark came across the leveret while mowing the lawn, just a day after the family had come across a dead hare in the garden, so they quickly realised she was probably an orphan.
Mrs Terry said: “We brought her in and tried a couple of rescues, but it was right at the beginning of lockdown so no-one could travel to us, we couldn’t travel to them, and there was nowhere local that would be able to take her.”
Instead they sought out information on the internet, hastily bought supplies, and set about rearing the youngster themselves, feeding her powdered rabbit milk from kitten bottles, before progressing her on to grass, hay and some hard vegetables.
Mrs Terry has three children – Daisy, 14, Blake, 12, and Eliza, nine – and they took an active role in helping to care for Clover.
“My youngest, Eliza, she’d really like to be a vet so she’s very into animals and care of animals and wildlife,” Mrs Terry said.
“She was particularly interested in keeping charts of her weight and how much she was drinking and that sort of thing.
“Then our middle son Blake, who has autism, also really likes animals, so he was really interested in seeing how she was getting on and being involved in her care.
“They even helped cleaning out and the not so fun jobs.”
Eliza decided to name her Clover because a few days after they brought her in, she found a four-leaf clover in the garden.
And while the Terrys are no strangers to having animals in the house – having had pets including guinea pigs, a snail and a dog, as well as chickens and a goat – caring for a wild hare was something new.
“It’s a bit like what I can imagine having a small kangaroo living in the house would be like, when she got bigger,” Mrs Terry said.
“It’s not really like having a little bunny rabbit that quite happily hops around your lounge, she’s definitely far more a wild animal.
“And things are very much on her terms – if she didn’t want you to touch her, that was it, but if she fancied having a little cuddle she’d come and jump up and sit on your lap.”
The family eventually released Clover towards the end of June, into fields at the back of their garden.
“She hopped off and we thought we might see her once or twice but to our surprise she comes back on a daily basis pretty much to come and say hi,” Mrs Terry said.