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Feral Rabbits

These colonies are made up of abandoned domesticated European rabbits - former pets!  They are rabbits that pet owners have abandoned to fend for themselves in the outdoors or on the streets.  The problem exists from time to time in many areas of the United States. When the rabbits become a public nuisance and efforts are made to "eradicate the problem" if rescuers are not called in to help.

Printable PDF Flyers of this web page free to download:

A Dozen Wild Reasons - Color

A Dozen Wild Reasons - Black & White

 

See Recent News:

Feral Rabbits in the News

 

 

A Dozen Wild Reasons to

 

Never Abandon a Rabbit Outdoors

 

 

1 It is Not Natural

A domesticated pet rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus), is not native to the Americas and the environment is foreign to them. Find a rabbit rescue group or a humane society where you can take your rabbit instead of turning it loose outdoors. The rabbit will have a much better chance of finding a good home.

 

 

2. Cars & Trucks

A pet rabbit has never had to dodge cars or navigate streets. They easily become "road kill" for unsuspecting motorists.

 

 

 

 

3. Disease

Bunnies pick-up fleas, mites, fly maggots, and other parasites they are not exposed to as pets. Plus, wild rabbits are carriers of diseases that can kill domesticated rabbits.

 

 

 

4. Wild Rabbits Domesticated rabbits are descendants of European Rabbits.  They are only distant cousins to Sylvilagus floridanus, the Eastern Cottontail in America. While all 45 breeds of domestic rabbits can interbreed, they cannot breed with cottontail rabbits or hares. The embryos will not survive. Cottontail rabbits will also fight pet feral rabbits with sometimes fatal results.

 

 

5. Neighborhood Pets          The local neighborhood cats and dogs can be lethal to a defenseless bunny left loose outside. These rabbits do not know the territory and do not have escape routes in case they are chased.  They won't have time to dig a warren.  Abandoned bunnies will not stray far from where they were left to fend for themselves.

 

 

 

6. Predators                      

All rabbits are prey for predators. Consider that a cottontail rabbit who knows his territory has an average lifespan of six months. 

 

 

 

7. Starvation

Rabbits that have had regular feedings and water given to them do not know what to eat. They do not know which plants are poisonous.

 

 

 

8. Feral Rabbits

Areas already used as dumping grounds for pet rabbits are not a haven. A recent arrival to a feral rabbit colony will have to fight for territory and can be maimed or killed.  An unsprayed female rabbit can produce a litter of babies every 31 days adding to the problem. A city park full of rabbits is not an idyllic place for a former pet. 

 

 

9. Cougars

10. Snakes

11. Eagles

12. Coyotes

    & Bears, Foxes, Weasels, Wolverines, Bobcats, Owls, Mink, Hawks, Lynxes, Wolves . . .

 

It May Be Against the Law in Your State: Most states have animal cruelty laws that make it a

   misdemeanor offense and in some States a felony to abandon a pet including rabbits. 

Do's and Don'ts if you  can't keep your rabbit:

  1. Do take the bunny to a humane society. If your humane society can't take your rabbit, they may know a rabbit rescue group.

  2. Do contact a rabbit rescue group - www.rabbit.org chapters on the web - they also list independent rescue groups

  3. Do find a No Kill Shelter. There are many "no kill" shelters in medium to larger cities.

  4. Do find the rabbit a new home with an animal lover you know

  5. Do put an ad in the newspaper (skip craigslist.org) for your rabbit.

  6. Do Not advertise a free pet so your rabbit does no't end up as snake food.

  7. Do get the rabbit neutered or spayed, a big cage, lots of attention and a second chance.

  8. Do Not Turn the Rabbit Over to a School. Teachers write me saying rabbits are dumped outside their schools. Do not give the rabbit to a school as a classroom pet.  The rabbits at schools end up in shelters because teachers can't care for them.

  9. Do put up a flyer at a vet office if they will let you.

    Feral Rabbits in the News

    If a link does not work, it means the newspaper has moved the story or taken it offline. I will be updating periodically so hopefully all links are in working order.

    Hatred of Feral Rabbits Becomes Gory - Valdez, AK

    Bunnies Bug Anchorage Neighborhood Gardens - Anchorage, AK 

    UVic Makes Like Fudd, Declares War Against Rascally Feral Rabbits, Victoria, BC, Canada

    Helsinki's feral rabbit cull claims success

 

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