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If your rabbit is acting abnormally and you have concerns please take them to a vet immediately.
Rabbits, though they may not look intimidating, have many predators because they actually don’t have a lot of defence mechanisms. Some rabbits are able to dig holes and hide underground, but there are many others who just sit up on their hind legs declaring their innocence and cuteness.
Mother Nature has compensated rabbits by making them breed quickly so they can make up for the fact that they don’t have any other natural defences.
A Rabbit’s main predators include Domesticated dogs, Foxes, Raccoons, Snakes, Hawks, Owls, The Red Fox and Badgers but in this post, I am going to specify more predators and what you can do to keep your garden rabbit safe.
|Domestic Dogs||Domestic Cats|
Unfortunately, if you have a garden rabbit regardless of if it’s the day or night, they’re dinner to a LOT of predators. Whether it be your neighbour’s cat or a wild hawk/snake, having your rabbit housed outside requires a lot of attention and protection.
You need to prepare by having a very secure outdoor rabbit run and cage, if possible, one with a closed top. Unfortunately, this doesn’t keep your rabbit safe from predators like snakes, rats, weasels and anything that is small enough to fit through your rabbit’s cage.
Unfortunately, it could be any of a rabbit’s predators. More commonly this will be any animal that likes to play with its food which leans towards domesticated pets and big animals like bears, foxes, coyotes and even badgers.
With nature being so cruel, it can be unsettling to know that your rabbit may be hunted without the intention of even being eaten and just for fun, so you should invest in a very secure outdoor run and cage.
It’s sad to see, but we are one of the biggest predators of rabbits. Whilst we don’t push for vegetarianism/veganism, it’s something we have to mention given the number of farms out there that keep rabbits in poor conditions and uneducated owners who get rabbits as a present only to give them to a shelter shortly after.
Part of the reason I write on this blog is to keep owners educated and hopefully not overwhelmed as rabbits can be extremely loving.
Hawks commonly fly near the ground when they scan for their food, this means rabbits are the perfect prey for any breed of the hawk as they are an easy target.
Whilst a hawk can eat a variety of species, rabbit is a common target due to how many of them are in the wild and the fact that every gender and sub-species of the hawk can eat them.
Whilst hawks primarily feed on other smaller birds and mammals (Squirrels, mice, rats etc), rabbits are considerably bigger and easier to catch making them the perfect rabbit predator, especially the Cottontail rabbit which doesn’t hide in burrows or dig.
It happens all the time, at least it does if you are in Facebook groups, someone’s dog or cat gets out and happens to kill someone’s rabbit in the garden.
Whether it’s a domestic dog or a wild dog, for example, Dingoes in Australia, both cats and dogs can kill rabbits for food and just to play with.
Dingoes are famously known to hunt in packs for larger animals, so a rabbit makes a quick snack for them.
Whether it’s a domestic animal or wild, keeping your rabbit safe should be a top priority.
Owls are an extremely common predator for plenty of smaller mammals, including domesticated rabbits and wild hares. Owls can vary in size which means their target changes based on their needs.
As Owls are nocturnal, they are incredibly good at seeing in the night as well which gives them a huge advantage when hunting. Whilst rabbits are more active at night due to being crepuscular, this does open specific breeds like cottontails to attack.
Owls are incredibly fast and will sit and wait for their dinner, this means the rabbit will be completely oblivious to their impending doom and more often than not will be caught before they realise what’s happening.
Rabbits are unfortunately the main food source for many rabbit species, from barn owl, barred owl, and great horned owl.
Rats aren’t commonly seen as rabbit predators, but this is due specifically to the fact they don’t hunt the adults.
Rats are opportunists and as such will often try and break into a rabbit cage to eat offspring.
Unfortunately, rabbits do attract rats. This is usually due to a lack of a daily cleaning routine, whether it’s just missing a day of litter being cleaned or a week.
A rabbit’s hutch is warm, has food and water and is very inviting despite having a homeowner already.
Weasels are quite a large carnivorous family which consists of badgers, otters, ferrets, martens, minks and even wolverines. If you live in the United States, Europe or Asia these pesky predators may be more common than you think.
The wolverine is the most likely of the weasel family (Mustelidae) to be a rabbit predator and is often found in various habitats whether it’s a forest, green lands or tundra.
During the winter seasons, Wolverines & Weasels will often scavenge for food and have been known to dig into burrows of hibernating mammals.
Luckily, as rabbits don’t hibernate this does allow them a little more chance to hide should they need to.
Snakes appear everywhere around the world, they’re known for eating pretty much everything in the wild as long as it moves. Whether they’re venomous or not doesn’t matter, unfortunately, every breed of snake will happily eat a rabbit for dinner.
Snakes are famously known for being able to eat anything regardless of the size of their target. This means a rabbit is absolutely nothing in comparison to some meals.
Some varying breeds of snake, such as the Cobra, Viper, Mamba, Rattlesnake, Cornsnake etc may struggle to eat a rabbit in one go. But they’re bigger cousins the Python or Anaconda will have no issues and are often seen in live feeding in America