Rabbits Underfoot

A few months ago, on one of my morning walks, a rabbit hopped across the sidewalk as I was approaching and disappeared into the shrubbery surrounding a flower garden. “Good morning, Mr. Bun,” I said, drawing upon Calvin and Hobbes terminology. I saw another rabbit, or perhaps the same one, on a walk about a month later, and occasionally spotted Mr. Bun on later walks, too.

But on a recent walk when I saw what appeared to be Mr. Bun, I noticed another Mr. Bun, and another, and another, and another. There were a total of five rabbits in close proximity, and I realized that one of them probably had to be Ms. Bun. A single rabbit might be cute, but when you see five rabbits hopping along together you realize that the rabbits are probably starting to breed . . . well, like rabbits. And when rabbits put their minds to it, they can be pretty prolific.

It’s the kind of concern that caused Australia to build its famous “rabbit-proof fence” to try to keep rabbits that had spread across the eastern part of the country from devastating the farms of western Australia. We’ve got a rabbit-proof fence of sorts, in the form of a sturdy, solid wooden barrier, around our backyard, and I don’t grow any vegetables, anyway. But I’m going to keep my eye on the rabbit population, and tell-tale signs of rabbit munching on the gardens and plants in the neighborhood. With no natural predators in the vicinity, except passing cars, it’s not hard to see the rabbit population growing exponentially, until German Village is hip deep in cute furry creatures.

Rabbit Fever

For Kasey, this furry suburban creature that looks like it could be posing for a chocolate Easter bunny mold is a mortal enemy.

IMG_3876Our little corner of New Albany has lots of bunnies hopping about.  To my knowledge, they have done nothing to offend Kasey.  They haven’t eaten her food or guzzled her water.  They haven’t danced a mocking jig outside the window.  Nevertheless, Kasey hates them all.  She hates their fluffy white cottontails.  She hates their ravenous rabbit appetites.  She hates that the hares sit there, noses twitching, staring at her as we walk past.

But most of all, Kasey hates that she is on a leash and can’t go tearing after these furballs that hunch in the grass, taunting her with their closeness and their rank rabbit odor.  So all Kasey can do is pose.  She strains until the leash is stretched taut and puffs out her chest likes she is posing for the statue found at the prow of a ship.  She glares her most withering glare.  She displays every alpha animal signal ever seen on Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom.  And deep down, Kasey is thinking:  “I could take that.”  She believes that if she were just let loose she would be able to chase down that wild hare, no matter how quick and nimble it might be, and do unspeakable things that eons of species development have left her desperately wanting to do.

But the rabbits are unconcerned.  They pay no mind to Kasey’s macho posturing.  They just sit there, munching and watching, perhaps taking a desultory hop to one side or the other.  And then, when they have made a maximum show of languid boredom, they hop casually away.

It drives Kasey nuts.

Bunny Under The Bush

IMG_3641When Kish and I got home this afternoon, I discovered a large, very plump rabbit sitting underneath one of the bushes around our patio.  It sat there, basking in the bright sunshine and munching on something, apparently unconcerned that it was out in the open and exposed.  It sat there for at least a half hour, shifting position from time to time, before it finally hopped away. 

The fact that Kasey and Penny weren’t home might help explain the rabbit’s curious behavior.

The Fearsome Bunny Hunters Of New Albany

This spring the budding flowers and vegetable garden greenery of New Albany look much less chewed than in the past.  Knowledgeable observers attribute the change to the fearsome bunny-hunting team of Kasey and Penny.

Rabbits throughout the neighborhood cower in fear when this formidable pair steps outside on their latest expedition.  They know that the crafty Penny has devised a diabolical plan to snare any unwary hare.  They know that it is only a matter of time before the finely honed tracking instincts of the hunters locate any nearby rabbit and then fix the bunny with a penetrating stare that seemingly can last for hours.  After the creature is hopelessly mesmerized, the pair employ their patented lunge technique, hurling themselves at the cowering cottontail with murderous intent until they strain at the end of their leashes.  Although the lunge breaks the spell and allows the reprieved rabbit to scamper away, the sight of the advancing dogs sends provokes an unmistakable bolt of fear that leaves the lucky lapin vowing to never again enter the hunters’ domain.

Even when the hunters are inside, their terrifying indoor woofing causes any hare that might stray into view to bolt, without risking even a nibble at the tender shoots of a tasty zinnia.

Yes, there’s a reason why the bunnies of New Albany are even more timid than your normal rabbit.

Living With The Rabbit Intruder

Lately we’ve been running into this little fellow a lot.

We see him sitting in our yard, patiently nibbling something, and hopping around in the yards of our neighbors.  Often he will be sitting in the shadows when Penny and I take our morning walks, ready to dart away when Penny detects his presence and makes the first great lunge in his direction.  And telltale signs of his presence are everywhere, from the hosta leaves in our side yard that have been gobbled down to the nub to the missing, but apparently tender and tasty, buds that have gnawed off our flowers.

This guy is a pretty mangy creature, and clearly he is an awesomely destructive force in the flower and ground covering area.  Still, I’m inclined to just live and let live so long as the destruction doesn’t escalate.  It’s nice to see furry woodland creatures in our standard suburban neighborhood, even at the price of a few hosta leaves.