Bunny Blog

Category Archives: Bunny News

Pet Rabbits Save Family from Fire

Rabbit

Pet rabbits save Tucson family.

Two pet rabbits alerted their owners to a kitchen fire one night in Tucson. Nicole Ochotorena, her husband, and their three children were all asleep when the fire broke out. The rabbits stomped their feet in their cage, waking the owners up. The smoke alarms did not go off.

“My bunnies are my lifesavers,” Ochotorena said. “They saved my life and they saved my kids.”

Learn more at myfoxchicago.com.

Global Warming and the Snowshoe Hare

This snowshoe hare is a like a sitting duck for predators. Credit: L.S. Mills Research Photo

This snowshoe hare mismatched to its environment is a like a sitting duck for predators. Credit: L.S. Mills Research Photo

Unfortunately for the snowshoe hare, global warming is making it an easy target for predators.

In recent years, snowshoe hares have spent an increasing amount of time mismatched to their surroundings — either donning a white coat amidst a brown/green environment or a brown coat amidst a snowy white environment.

The saddest part about it is that the hares don’t realize they’re mismatched. They stay still, out in the open, assuming that their camouflage will keep them safe.

The hares moult their brown or white coats in the fall or spring in response to light. According to Alex Kumar, a graduate student at the University of Montana who is studying this phenomenon in Missoula, Montana: “If the hares are consistently molting at the same time, year after year, and the snowfall comes later and melts earlier, there’s going to be more and more times when hares are mismatched.”

The big question for the snowshoe hare is whether it can adapt to climate change before going extinct.

For more info see: NPR.

Why Do Rabbits Have White Tails?

Brown rabbit

Unfortunately for Cosette, her natural brown coloring does nothing to camouflage her here.

Wild rabbits are well concealed in the brush by their brown coloring. But one thing gives them away – that flash of white from their tails as they’re bounding away. So why did rabbits evolve to have a white tail, and not a brown one? (Or a green one?)

Evolutionary biologist Dirk Semmann of the University of Göttingen in Germany thinks he knows the answer. Semmann believes the obvious, white coloring actually distracts and confuses predators as the rabbit darts back and forth. A predator focuses on the white tail during the chase, and then when the rabbit turns, the white disappears. It takes a second for the predator to regain focus on the rabbit after every sharp turn… and these seconds can add up to enough time for the rabbit to escape.

According to Semmann, “The idea first appeared when I was running,” says Semmann. “I met this rabbit; it was always running and turning at some point. That got me thinking about the problem.”

To test his theory, Semmann used a video game on a group of people which involved either a flashing, bright circle (the white tail) or a non-flashing circle that blended with the background. The presence of the flashing circle reduced the participants’ ability to “catch” it.

Learn more on Nature.com.

Heidi the Hydrotherapy Rabbit

Heidi doing hydrotherapy

When a vet suggested Heidi, a continental giant rabbit with arthritis, should try hydrotherapy, people were skeptical. While other arthritic animals, like dogs, have taken to the water therapy with success, Heidi’s owner, Amanda Williams, was sure her rabbit would hate the pool. But when Heidi was dressed in a life jacket and placed in the heated pool, the rabbit took to it like a “duck to water” according to Williams. After her sessions, Heidi is carefully dried to avoid hypothermia.

Williams is pleased with the results. “She is certainly a lot more lively and is obviously benefiting from this treatment,” she said.

Watch a video of Heidi swimming in her buoyancy jacket at the BBC.

It was the Bunny! Rabbits to Blame for Demise of Neanderthals

Neanderthal

Mural by artist Charles R. Knight depicting a Neanderthal family.

A new study published in Journal of Human Evolution points the finger at rabbits for the demise of Neanderthals. John Fa of the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust says the fall of the Neanderthal occurred when they failed to adapt to the changing availability of prey animals. These early hominids were adept at catching large animals, like dolphins, seals, and deer. There is even evidence from scales and feathers on their tools that they could also catch fish and birds. However, when smaller prey mammals like rabbits became a prevalent food source 30,000 years ago, it coincides with the decline of the Neanderthal population.

One theory is that Neanderthals failed to use cooperative hunting techniques like early humans did, such as surrounding a warren and forcing the rabbits out with smoke or dogs. This inability to adapt their hunting techniques to a changing environment may have ultimately led to their demise.

So the next time you’re trying to catch your house rabbit to trim his nails or take him to the vet, and he’s bounding away, escaping your grasp, just remind yourself that unless you’re part Neanderthal, you’re supposed to be able to catch him.

Learn more at New Scientist.

Rabbit Rescue Spotlight: SaveABunny

Marcy Schaaf is the woman behind the California rabbit rescue, SaveABunny. Fifteen years ago, burnt out from working as a high-level advertising and marketing executive, Schaaf decided to step out of the rat race. She used this new found free time to foster bunnies, and quickly fell in love with the species. Since then, she’s put her work ethic and business skills to work running SaveABunny. The all-volunteer organization has saved over 5,000 rabbits from being euthanized.

Recently, the group was awarded a $25,000 grant from the ASPCA to expand their operation.

To learn more, visit the SaveABunny website.

Denver Airport Bunnies

Rabbits are taking shelter under the parked cars at Denver International Airport. They are wreaking havoc by chewing the cars’ spark plugs and other wiring. Most people who own house rabbits are quite familiar with this talent rabbits have for destroying wires. People who have parked at the Denver International Airport now face repair bills in the hundreds to even thousands of dollars.

Watch a video about the airport bunnies below:

New Rabbit Books

There have been quite a few books featuring rabbits recently published, from fictional works to how-to guides.  Check them out:

timetravelTime Travel Rabbit

Momi Douglas takes readers on a fantastic adventure following an elderly professor and his pet rabbit as they travel around the world and between dimensions. The book is endorsed by the founder of PETA and was inspired by the author’s own Dutch rabbit named Pebbles.

Order the book at Amazon.

sweetiesSweetie’s Song: A Love Story

In this tale for readers of all ages, we follow Fred and Sarah Davis, a grieving couple living in Texas. Their lives get turned upside down when they realize the three toy rabbits they recently acquired are more than just inanimate objects. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund – a 4-Star charity that serves United States military personnel wounded or injured in service to our nation, and their families.

Order the book at Amazon.

highfiveHigh Five with Your Rabbit

Dutch animal trainer Bernice Muntz shows you how to train and play with your rabbit. Watch the video below demonstrating the potential rabbits have as trainable animals.

Order the e-book here.
 

Bunnies Rescued from Fire

Firefighters with rabbit

Firefighters came to the rescue of a Florida woman and her four rabbits when her house caught on fire.  As smoke was coming from the door and front window, the rescue team placed a ladder to the second floor bedroom window.

Everyone was fine, but one of the rabbits was given oxygen through a pet oxygen mask.

For more info: Palm Beach Post

E.A.R.S Finds Sanctuary for Some Canmore Bunnies

Canmore bunny

A feral rabbit relaxes by the curb in the town of Canmore. Photo by Jon A Ross.

Earth Animal Rescue Society (E.A.R.S.), the group that organized the transportation of over 200 feral rabbits from the Canadian town of Canmore to permanent sanctuary homes last year, is at work again. The town is still trying to manage a booming feral rabbit population which they say attracts coyotes and cougars to the area.  Recently, they have begun trapping and gassing the rabbits.

Susan Vickery of E.A.R.S has found a couple with a farmhouse northwest of Calgary who can provide permanent sanctuary to 50 rabbits.

“They’ve had a lot of dealings with rabbits themselves over the years,” Vickery said Tuesday. “They enjoy them. They know their nature. And they respect their right to live.”

Learn more:

Flat Bonnie’s New Friends

Flat Bonnie, for those of you who don’t know, is an adorable plush rabbit made for bunny lovers. When you adopt a Flat Bonnie, a portion of the proceeds benefits the House Rabbit Society and other rabbit rescues.

Flat Bonnie

Flat Bonnie’s been around for a while now, but I just learned about her new little friends.  All bunny owners will recognize these little guys.  I present: Oopsie and Poopsie!

Oopsie and Poopsie plush toys

This duo is available for purchase for $12 at FlatBonnie.com.