Rabbits are naturally prey animals. In the wild, they are often food sources for a wide variety of predatory animals.
Rabbits are mainly built for speed and running. These traits are the ones that help them to be capable of quickly escaping their predators. Whether a rabbit is wild or domesticated, just like the ones you may be keeping in your backyard, they are equally susceptible to injury or death caused by looming predators in the surroundings.
Wild rabbits are constantly in danger because they are exposed to all sorts of predatory animals like coyotes, bobcats, cougars, hawks, eagles, snakes, wolves, foxes, raccoons and a lot of other kinds of animals. On the other hand, if you are taking care of a domesticated rabbit in your home and keep them in a hutch in your backyard, you should still take the necessary precautions to protect them from the predators, as they are still susceptible to danger.
In the city, raccoons can easily come up through small holes and spaces and attack your bunnies. Make sure that your outdoor rabbit hutch or cage is a sturdy and secure one. Rabbits need a place to hide, where they can’t be seen from the outside. You have to remember that rabbits can die just from fear or being extremely frightened, even when they do not have a single mark or injury on them. Raccoons or other animals sneaking up on them, climbing up, around or roaming near their hutch, can frighten them. When they feel trapped near a predator and they have no place to hide, flee or run to, it can be a very stressful situation for them that may cost them their lives. Does will sometimes also trample their young in situations when they have been frightened and fear for the lives of their young. So when you position your rabbit’s housing in a backyard, place it somewhere that is least accessible to predators or other animals.
Even though you let your rabbits live outdoors, you may want to keep them inside during the night, when they are more at risk because of the darkness. The same applies if you keep your rabbits in a colony. Rabbits that are kept purely outdoors tend to live shorter lives as they suffer more from potential hazards like changing weather conditions.
If you keep your rabbits indoors, you should still watch out for them especially when you have other pets inside as well, like dogs or cats. Although there are some instances when dogs, cats and other pets can be friendly to your rabbits, your rabbits can just as easily become their target. Plus they can all pass diseases around.
Here is a list of common rabbit predators, may it be in the wild, in the city, suburb or inside the house, aside from those that already have been mentioned:
- Cats – pet cats, lions, lynx, bobcats, mountain lions, and tigers
- Dogs – pet dogs, wolves, foxes and coyotes
- Large birds and birds of prey – hawks, owls, eagles, falcons, kestrels
- Weasels – stoats, mink, ferrets, wolverines, badgers
- Rats (have been known to gnaw off toes or anything protruding through the cage bottom or sides)
- And possibly any other kind of hungry carnivore that can easily fit a rabbit in it’s mouth
With rabbits, a quality, safe and well-protected living environment is a priority. Whether in hutches or indoor cages, you have to make it secure for them. you wouldn’t want to wake up to an injured or dead rabbit now would you?