Lost Rabbit

Discussion in 'Health & Wellness' started by Bunny-Lover, Dec 1, 2018.

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  1. Dec 1, 2018 #1

    Bunny-Lover

    Bunny-Lover

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    hello all,
    I have a female silver fox rabbit that just turned 1 yesterday and so i let her out in a little fenced in area as i always do to graze. i come back out to check on her 30 minutes later and she is gone. there is a small hole in that fence that i guess i didn't noticed. she has gotten out before but she dug out BUT she stayed in out yard. we live on 1 acre with only one neighbor the other side a street and behind our house is about an acre of woods. she has been missing for about an hour and ive looked everywhere except the woods because i cant get in there. i posted about her missing on a community page so hopefully people will keep an eye out. she is a very friendly rabbit and usually doesn't run off like this. any ideas on how i can get her? will she come back on her own? also one side of our yard has some woods. we have black rasers but they have never bothered our chickens nor there eggs and they are only about a foot maybe 2 long.

    Thanks,
    Laura
     
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  2. Dec 1, 2018 #2

    Preitler

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    Normally she should come back on her own, make that hole big enough for her to get through easily, open gates etc.
    Put yummy food - more than she could eat at once - in her hutch, (can she return there, or is it somewhere different than the fenced in area?) , and check regularly. Normally they come back the exact way they left, if not scared. I trained them to come when I shake the pellet pail, helps a lot.

    Most days two of my does spend the day outside, and it's quite frequent that I can't find one or both when I come home in the evening, an hour after nightfall they usually had returned and rest after stuffing their bellies. Back when I bothered searching for them I sometimes found them in the wood, on the meadow, in neighbours yards...

    When you go looking for her look under everything where she could get under. If you find her, patiently herd her back, two long sticks help a lot - catching them is hard, and when that scares they will not go home for hours, I only do that when I lose my temper and when I'm sure I can corner them.

    Good luck.
     
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  3. Dec 1, 2018 #3

    Bunny-Lover

    Bunny-Lover

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    thank you, very helpful.
     
  4. Dec 1, 2018 #4

    Bunny-Lover

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    She came out of the woods to eat the veggies I placed and I was able to catch her so she is home and happy. Thank you for your help
     
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  5. Dec 2, 2018 #5

    cwebster

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    Am very glad she is home safe and sound! :)
     
  6. Dec 2, 2018 #6

    Jess broadman

    Jess broadman

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    I think rabbits mating season is around early febuary, is there a chance she could be getting out to try and find wild rabbits to have bunnies with? has she been spayed?

    So glad she came back to you, she must really love you (and veggies) :)
     
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  7. Dec 6, 2018 #7

    Liung

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    Rabbits don’t actually have a mating season in the sense of other animals, where they have a short and specific time they can breed. They don’t go into heat, they don’t go into rut, they don’t even MENSTRUATE. They are reflex ovulators, and so are fertile literally all the time, in a way even humans can’t boast.

    Now, whether a rabbit is more or less receptive to mating during certain times of year I’m not sure. I doubt it, based on the cycle of a rabbit’s gestation and maturity. When you can pop out babies in a month and they can be grown and sexually mature in three months, you can have babies all year long, save perhaps winter.

    I’m sure someone else would know better than I if European rabbits have a “mating season”, but based on what I know about rabbit biology I’m going to say no.

    But whether she’s managed to breed with the wild rabbits is entirely not a concern if you live in North America. Pet rabbits are a domesticated version of the wild European rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus. This is an entirely different animal from the North American Cottontail, Sylvilagus floridanus. A pet rabbit could no more breed with an American wild rabbit than a dog could breed with a fox!

    I actually looked it up once, and was shocked. This whole time I was telling people, “you wouldn’t release your chihuahua into the wild just because there’s wolves and coyotes. Don’t think that pet rabbits would be fine just because there’s cottontails in your backyard!”

    But dogs are considered a subspecies of wolves by most, Canis lupus familiaris, or Canis familiaris for people who think they are a separate species. I am of the former opinion, since the defining feature of a distinct species is that they are incapable of producing viable offspring outside their species. And literally last week I met a golden-retriever/wolf cross. Even coyotes, Canis latrans, are still part of the Canis genus.

    Not only are European and American rabbits not part of the same species, they’re not even part of the same genus. They’re both part of the Leporidae family, along with hares and jackrabbits.

    So the relation between a European and American rabbit isn’t even as close as a dog (Canis lupus familiaris) to a wolf (Canis lupus) or even a coyote (Canis latrans).

    The relationship between a pet rabbit (Leporidae: Oryctolagus cuniculus) and a wild American Cottontail (Leporidae: Sylvilagus floridanus) is roughly the same as the relationship between a dog (Canidae: Canis lupus familiaris) and a red fox (Canidae: Vulpes vulpes). Adamantly incapable of cross breeding.

    And (cries) even after explaining that to a customer at a store, she said, “and thank god for that! But I’m still not letting my intact rabbit run around with my cat. I don’t want no cabbits!”

    CABBITS ARE NOT A THING CAN YOU PLEASE JUST TAKE TWO SECONDS OUT OF YOUR LIFE TO ASK GOOGLE
     
  8. Dec 9, 2018 at 10:09 PM #8

    Jess broadman

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    Very informative read, thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    Here in the UK where I grew up, you might be suprised to know that it was the Romans who introduced our "wild" rabbit.

    They do have the ability to breed with pet/domesticated rabbits though I'm fairly certain. I recall many years ago as a youngster having a rabbit, and she got loose and came back with many new additions to our houshold.

    The babies were all very skitish and they hated human contact. It was almost as if the wild rabbit genes that the babies shared were telling them that humans are a predator. They were terrified and impossible to domesticate.
     
  9. Dec 9, 2018 at 10:42 PM #9

    Preitler

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    Well, a few years back a wild buck squeezed through the fence and knocked up one of my does, buck was about 3,5-4lbs, doe 10-11lbs. That was an interesting litter. A lot of behaviour is determined by genetics, domestic rabbits were bred for calmness, stress resistance and for coping with living in close quarters, although that domestication happened quite recently, maybe 300 years ago, there are quite some differences to wild rabbits.

    Although rabbits can get pregnant all year round they have their seasons and cycles, they aren't always in the mood.
     
  10. Dec 10, 2018 at 6:55 AM #10

    Liung

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    Indeed, the wild rabbits in the UK and Europe are the mostly of the Oryctolagus cuniculus species, and so can interbreed with domestic rabbits. The same is true of rabbits in Australia, where they are an invasive species. Actually O. cuniculus is quite infamous for how rabidly invasive they are, and there’s even certain places in North America where domesticated rabbits were released in enough quantities that a colony was established. Once they’re thriving, they just reproduce so fast that wildlife control simply can’t keep up. Unfortunately these stories tend to end with animal rights taking a nosedive and the rabbits being classified as pests, with extermination efforts put forth.

    To your note on skittishness however: a long time ago I heard a quote from Charles Darwin, and it’s endlessly frustrating that I can’t find it again, but to paraphrase it: “there is nothing so skittish as a wild rabbit, and nothing so tame as a domesticated rabbit.”

    Even though they’re still the same species, pet rabbits have centuries of selective breeding to calm them down and, in my opinion, strip them of all common sense and result in their having the survival instincts of the proverbial lemming. NO DELILAH YOU ARE NOT A CAT GET DOWN FROM THEREEEEEE!!

    To go back to the differences between European and American rabbits, however, it’s quite fascinating to me that going along with the distance in their relatedness is a vast difference in physiology.

    In my Wildlife and Exotics class, we were discussing complaints people have about wildlife as pests, and nonviolent solutions to dealing with them. On the topic of rabbits eating people’s gardens, the solution was “put up a small fence. 2 ft high is fine.”

    “Excuse me?” I said, “my rabbit has personally jumped over a 4 ft wall. That’s not going to do anything.”

    “You have a European rabbit,” my professor told me with a wicked grin. “American rabbits have little to no jumping ability.”

    WHAAAAAAAAAT?!

    (That prof took GREAT PLEASURE in smashing our preconceived notions about animals. It was her goal to blow our minds at least once a lecture. She succeeded more often than not.)

    Not only can American rabbits not jump worth a **** (and in fact later I observed a small baby cottontail trying to follow his mom, stymied by the sidewalk curb that was too big for him. I herded him over to a driveway) but they can’t dig, either. They can dig about as much as any other animal can, to widen the gap under a fence, for instance. But tunnels? Forget about it. American rabbits have their babies in small hollows in the ground, which they cover with a mat of grass. People often find these nests in their lawns.

    They’re also mostly solitary, as opposed to European rabbits that live in vast warrens of up to 100 individuals.

    Essentially, to call both animals “rabbits” is doing them a grave injustice lumping them together like that. They’re really only very superficially alike.

    In any case, as I see OP is from Florida, there’s naught to worry about in this instance.

    Incidentally, if I remember correctly because they’re so different, there’s very few diseases that pet rabbits can catch from American rabbits. So that’s also not an issue.
     
  11. Dec 10, 2018 at 7:15 AM #11

    Liung

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    Ah, also, when you say “impossible to domesticate”, domestication is a process of selective breeding that occurs over many generations, changing the animal’s behavior and even appearance at a genetic level. You can’t “domesticate” a single wild animal, you domesticate a species as a whole over a period of time.

    A wild animal can be “tamed” in the sense of teaching it that humans are not predator/prey, but it cannot be “domesticated”, because you’ll never be able to remove those wild instincts and behaviors. Much of the behavior is genetic and domestication shapes not just survival instincts like aggression and skittishness but also behavior in terms of interactions and motivations.

    One of the more interesting examples: a dog carries its tail entirely different from a wolf, and a dog’s tail when it is relaxed is usually held either vertically up and curled around such as Asian toy breeds or northern working breeds, or hanging down with an upwards curl. A dog came into my store the other day and as is usual, I took a quick look at his body language to be forewarned of any trouble. While this dog looked most similar to a shaggy golden retriever, his bushy tail was hanging straight down with absolutely no curl to it. One of his parents, it turned out, was half-wolf. Something instinctual, as small as a tiny piece of body language, that is genetic. Wolves just don’t wag their tails the way dogs do.

    I would be very interested to know if wild rabbits thump their feet the way our pet rabbits do to show displeasure. It is a behaviour that makes absolutely no sense to me for a consummate prey animal, as it is loud and would draw attention. Many predators such as foxes feel for vibrations to locate prey in tunnels, so it wouldn’t even be safe to do amongst other rabbits while hidden in their tunnels.
     
  12. Dec 10, 2018 at 3:38 PM #12

    Nancy McClelland

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    Rabbits can't jump! I wish someone would have told my Mini Rex.
     
  13. Dec 10, 2018 at 5:09 PM #13

    Preitler

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    Yes, they do. Imho it serves two purposes - warning all others, and showing clearly to the predator that he is discovered. Predators need to sneak up on rabbits since their accelaration is far better than that of most predators, when they are discovered, many just give up. Try to catch a scared rabbit in open terrain the rabbit knows, very hard thing to do. They have no endurance though, so most keep relativly close to their holes.
    Thumping helps rabbits to survive by communication, they aren't vocal like birds, thumping is their way to relay that something is out of order, also to those underground.

    You may have noticed that rabbits do not go back to their hutch when scared, many of their holes are dead ends and they keep their options. Once trapped they can be dug out.


    Your Mini Rex wasn't a cottontail ;), and I wouldn't have thought how well some rabbits can climb, like cats, but, well, their physiology curbs that talent, they are too awkward, my buck got stuck once balancing on the top of an open hutch door, 5 feet off the ground....
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2018 at 5:18 PM
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  14. Dec 10, 2018 at 5:32 PM #14

    Evelyn Gomez

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    My Holland Lop has no issue whatsoever jumping up on to the bed. The bed is on a frame and at least 2.5 feet off the floor. I didn't think he could jump when I first brought him home, but once he settled in, and was sure of his surroundings, he made quick work of jumping onto the bed with me for morning snuggles and mutual grooming.
     
  15. Dec 10, 2018 at 6:21 PM #15

    Liung

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    Yep. It’s only the Sylvilagus genus of American rabbits that can’t jump, not the Oryctolagus genus of European rabbits. All pet rabbits, being European, are phenomenal jumpers that have been recorded to jump up to 6 ft. And as I noted, Delilah has personally jumped 4 ft straight up, back when she lived in an enclosure and the 1 ft high cage was up against the 5 ft wall.

    People keep asking me why I don’t teach my bunnies to do rabbit show jumping. “Delilah gets into plenty of trouble on her own,” I tell them. “ I really don’t want to train her to be BETTER at getting into trouble.”
     

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  16. Dec 10, 2018 at 6:26 PM #16

    Liung

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    Makes sense, I suppose. One thing I’ve always noted about mine, though, is that they only thump when they feel secure. Going to the vet? No thumping the entire time, but the moment we get home there’s a storm of thumping. NOW it’s safe to lecture me about how displeased they are. So to a certain extend they seem to be aware that thumping would draw attention and isn’t appropriate in situations where they’re scared and insecure.
     
  17. Dec 11, 2018 at 6:47 AM #17

    SharonLee

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    I'm really glad you got her back, but my advise to you is to always stay out there with her. You never know when a bird of prey will come down out of the sky. Also, a friend of mine lived in the country and two people came into her backyard and stole her dog. Took the dog and did experiments on it. Her mom saw the notes they kept when they were caught. It was...tragic. So, please be careful.
     
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  18. Dec 11, 2018 at 4:49 PM #18

    Blue eyes

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    I find this curious. I am seeing that the world record high jump (not distance/length, but height) for rabbits is 39.37 inches. Earlier records had it at 39.2 inches.
     
  19. Dec 12, 2018 at 3:02 PM #19

    Liung

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    I know, I saw something similar but there’s no other way she could have gotten out of that enclosure. I was coming down in the morning and finding the room completely trashed, poop everywhere, once I moved the cage away from the wall it stopped.

    However I might have overestimated the height of that wall, since I’m looking at the picture now and the condo is made of 1ft squares, and so it looks more like 4’ tall, meaning she was jumping 3’. I’m 5’7” and the wall came up to my shoulders, so I assumed it was closer to 5’ than 4’, but perhaps not.
     
  20. Dec 12, 2018 at 7:32 PM #20

    Blue eyes

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    I've heard that some rabbits are actually climbers. Perhaps she climbed the pen wall?
     

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