Beware the Ides of March, spring snowstorms, and the dreaded black rabbit.
Our neighborhood has an e-mail chain for Neighborhood Watch correspondence. Breakins, lost dogs, crime statistics, and crime prevention trips come through regularly. Last month there were something new: a man had found a lost rabbit and wanted to locate the owner.
How would one determine that a rabbit was lost? There was no BOLO out for a large black rabbit. Did the rabbit hop up to him? If you saw a rabbit would you pick it up and go door to door, rabbit in arms, in search of an owner? I’d think I was under rabbit attack. The man, who doesn’t even live in the neighborhood, rang a few doorbells and when he couldn’t find any takers, he took the rabbit home with him and sent an e-mail asking that we help find the owner. There again, I’d like to know more of that part of the story. What did he DO with the rabbit when he took it home with him? What did his wife say after he went to church and came home with a rabbit? I can’t picture Dearly Beloved bringing home a stray rabbit. He sure doesn’t have to worry about me doing so.
I sent out the Found: Black Rabbite-mail and the first response was rather snarky, suggesting that the man should volunteer at the Humane Society instead of picking up strange hares. I didn’t forward that response. The Neighborhood Watch chairman wrote, suggesting that when the rabbit’s owner was located, the rabbit be vaccinated for rabies and kept on a leash. I did send that one to everyone; sounded like good advice to me.
Other e-mails trickled in. Several said they’d seen the rabbit in their own yards and they believed it belonged to someone on the street behind me. Some of the people writing lived several blocks away, so this rabbit gets around! Another wrote that that the black rabbit pals around with a wild grey rabbit.
That hit a nerve here. Having had a garden full of nibbled-to-a-nub plants last summer, I have reason to believe those rabbits weren’t just running innocently through folks’ yards but are engaging in a sexual relationship. At different intervals during the summer I saw little grey bunnies hopping through the holes in the fence in my yard. They’re cute in the clover, but once they began work on my flower beds, I suggested they find other pastures. I made my suggestion while shrieking and waving a broom at them. They were intimidated not the least bit. They mocked me, watching placidly as I played the lunatic. A waterhose proved to be the only effective method of encouraging them to leave the premises and even then, they waited just beyond squirt range so they could return as soon as I turned my back..
Our dog certainly didn’t help. The first few times she would at least trot in the rabbit’s direction if we let her out with an edict of, Bonnie, go get ‘im! Then, since this is a bingeing dog who would eat her own poop if we didn’t bury it right away, she started ignoring the rabbit and concentrating on the droppings it left behind. The rabbits flourished; Bonnie kept coming back inside licking her lips, and my perennial bed turned into Naked Stalk City.
Just when I was about to send a recipe for Hausepfeffer, a woman e-mailed, claiming ownership. She does indeed live on the street behind us (do my neighbors know their rabbits or what?!) She said that the rabbit was hers and that although he does roam freely, he often comes home for the special treats she provides. She wanted to reassure any neighbors that there is no danger of rabies. She added that he has been known to terrorize dogs but that because he is toothless he is therefore harmless. (I’m thinking that is code for no rabies shot.)
No teeth? I wonder how that happened. How is he supposed to eat carrots? That sent me on an internet search for the scoop on rabbit teeth and I now know much too much about overbites, overgrown teeth, and hare-y jaw problems. Rabbits’ teeth keep growing during their life span. I can see why a rabbit with two-inch protruding teeth might give one pause, but I got the impression they’re supposed to be clipped, like nails. . . professionally, by a vet, if gnawing and chewing doesn’t keep them down to a reasonable size. Sometimes they even chew on wood in an instinctive way to file them down. There are some pretty weird photos online. By comparison, Bugs Bunny had baby teeth. Imagine a bunny with lower teeth protruding from his mouth like a white trellis. I’m serious. Just imagine it. You don’t want to actually look at those pictures.
I don’t know how this rabbit’s teeth came to be missing. I don’t know why he was hanging around the church parking lot. I suspect it was not birth control guidance and he’s already back in business, sans vaccination and leash. He doesn’t need teeth to nibble on that other rabbit’s ears, you know.
This isn’t good. What happens this summer? Will my newfound knowledge and environmental guilt cause me to start checking baby bunny teeth as they invade my garden?
Maybe I’ll just keep a broom out in the yard and let them chew on the handle–just before I thwack ’em with it.
|The bunnies couldn’t reach these, but the snow had no problem.|