An orphaned hare which was hand-reared and then released into the wild keeps hopping home each day to visit the family who rescued her.
Natasha Terry, 43, said she feels ‘a bit like Snow White’ after she made an unusual addition to her family – an adorable hare named Clover.
The family first spotted the wild animal whimpering in their garden in early April and felt compelled to nurse her back to health.
They hand reared the two-foot-long hare for eight weeks before she was healthy enough to be released back into the wild.
But the loyal leveret still pays daily visits to the family and has even occasionally helped herself into their bedrooms to ‘hang out’ over two months on.
Natasha, from Gosberton, Lincs., said: “We never expected anything like this – it’s like something out of a Disney cartoon.
“I feel a bit like Snow White, which is funny because I always wanted to be like her when I was a little girl.
“We’re so happy she comes back and feels comfortable at our home.
“Clover is very much a part of our family now, she’s like my new child.
“It’s been such a crazy year with all that’s been happening, but it’s been so wonderful to have this experience.”
She added: “She’s even come into our house just to hang out and came for my youngest’s birthday – it’s like she came to celebrate with us.”
Her husband Mark, 47, was mowing the lawn when he spotted the terrified hare after hearing her crying in their garden on April 6.
Just the day before they’d found an adult hare who had sadly died, and realised little Clover was an orphan.
Due to the Covid pandemic, they were unable to get her to a vet so they hastily looked up how to handrear a hare and bought supplies.
They’d gone as far as creating their own special formula before realising they could purchase rabbit formula online.
The mum-of-two said: “In early April my husband noticed the little hare in our garden, and she was clearly whimpering which we thought was unusual.
“The previous evening we saw an adult hare which had sadly died so we connected one and one and realised this may be an orphaned little hare.
“It was so unusual but we love animals and couldn’t just leave her there to die.
“We brought her in, she was scared initially but she took to us pretty quickly.”
Little Clover weighed only 50g when they first found her, but after being fed four bottles a day she ballooned to ten times the weight in the space of eight weeks.
The former teacher said: “My youngest daughter wants to be a vet so she has many vet play sets and so we actually used her toy care set for Clover.
“We put her on a scale to see if she was making good progress and getting healthier and heavier.
“Eventually we started giving her grass, hay, and hard vegetables to eat.
“But hares need space to roam, so while my kids absolutely adored her, we knew we’d have to let her back into the wild.
“It wouldn’t have been right to keep her as a pet because that’s not what she is.”
On an emotional afternoon in June, the family said their goodbyes to Clover as they didn’t expect to see her again.
But they were shocked when the wild hare continued to wander back to her home away from home.
Natasha said: “We were all standing outside with my kids, and it was quite emotional to say goodbye but it was the right thing to do.
“I told my kids we’d probably see her again every now and then when she wanders back.
“But she came back every single day for two months now.”
Natasha added: “We love her so much and we hope she keeps coming because she’s family now.”
The animal loving family said Clover is the most ‘unexpected addition’ to their home, where they already house eight chickens, a dog, and a goat fondly named Popcorn.