The Rabbit Who Came For Lunch

“Prince with a thousand enemies” is the way they are described by Richard Adams in “Watership Down”, which is one of the best works of fiction ever put to print. Rabbits received their share of predators, and that is a fact, not fiction. This one is playing the odds straight up, and it’s a good bet she will survive feeding in her current location.


Most animals realize that the backyard is Mutt Territory, and as such, has to be avoided if life is to be extended. It’s a deadly game of chance, being in the backyard. The dogs sleep inside so there’s a few hours that the backyard is perfectly safe. That’s predicated on both of them sleeping through, and me not getting up and letting them out because I cannot sleep. Moreover, I suspect that some of the smaller prey animals risk confrontation with the dogs simply because there are much more dangerous animals outside of the fence.  Animals beneath the notice of the dogs get a free pass. That’s risky business, however, hoping something doesn’t kill you when it can very easily do just that.


The rabbit knows she’s safe where she is. The wooden post has a keypad on top of it, where my neighbor put up an electronic gate to keep unwanted visitors out. It lasted up until the point he realized how slow the gate was, and now it’s left open mostly. The fence is still there, and that’s the rabbit’s ace in the hole. The fence line extends to the end of my property heading South, and it extends quite a distance west, too. The rabbit knows that if the mutts get after her, all she has to do is run along the fence line, duck into heavy brush on the other side, and the dogs have to cross over just to get into the chase again. Not that they can’t jump the fence, but it’s one hell of a jump for a dog, and one small squeeze for the rabbit. Thrown in the heavy brush and it’s rabbit land. The dogs do not have much of a chance of catching the rabbit and she knows it. She also knows that putting herself out in the open in the front yard puts her further away from safety. She watches me, and doesn’t stray from the fence line.


Both Bert and Sam have an unusual reaction to rabbits. Maybe it’s because neither have ever caught one, and that’s the whole thing. They’ve never caught a deer, either, but they’ve pretty much become one with the idea they will never catch a deer. A dog can outrun a deer, and if given the right terrain, a deer is pretty much toast against canines in a pack. If I turned my two loose in the woods I think it might take them a while to figure it out, but the fear level in a lot of species would begin to rise. In places where the wolf has been reintroduced, there are many species of tree, particularly the Ash, which has prospered. In those places where the wolves could ambush prey, the leaf eating Elk dare not tread. As a result, the Ash tree is also making a comeback, alongside the wolf.  Rabbits are not the only critters who fear canines, and everyone who might discover their name on a lupine menu is likewise fearful.

As I try to get a better angle to photo the rabbit, she bolts. In the flash of a white tail the rabbit dissolves into thick bushes and it’s as if she was never here at all. She will return, however, near dark, and I’ll get another chance to get a better photo. Maybe she will realize that as long as I’m out there with a Kodak, nothing else will hunt her. Maybe she won’t make it that long, and be taken by a hawk, or a large rattler. I pause long enough to realize I have no guarantee, either, and even though I have no thousand enemies, we all face one last one, in the end.


Take Care,


Mike Firesmith   Mike Firesmith wrote
on 4/26/2008 11:17:57 AM
YUM! Moles! They taste like chicken!

danicpa68   danicpa68 wrote
on 4/26/2008 11:08:03 AM
My yard is a cornucopia of wildlife also. It is amazing to see the dog run after the birds with the hope that they won't fly away. It's a never ending chase. She is getting old in her climbing years and a bit slower. She has not come home with any critters yet, but my cat loves to eat moles. Ummmm I think it's time for lunch.

Mike Firesmith   Mike Firesmith wrote
on 4/26/2008 10:53:25 AM
You should see the photos I have of the Cardinal faking injury to lead me and the snake away from her nest!!!!! Work faster!!!!!

lindsay   lindsay wrote
on 4/26/2008 9:37:07 AM
I can relate to this one. My dogs go nuts when they see rabbits. Unfortunately, my dogs have caught one--one of the grossest things ever! We are working on functionality to insert images in the text boxes--bear with us, I promise we are working as fast as possible.

Mike Firesmith
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This goes with the Rabbit Photo