Rabbits are Prey, But What Are Rabbits’ Predators?


Having been around rabbits for years, sadly I know that rabbits are prey, but I didn’t know all of the predators to rabbits so I did the research.

What are Rabbits’ Predators? Rabbits predators include:

  • Owls
  • Hawks
  • Eagles
  • Crows
  • Foxes
  • Badgers
  • Snakes
  • Raccoons
  • Coyotes
  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Humans

Wild Animals That are Rabbits’ Predators

The most common wild predators for your bunny rabbit are the fox, badger, coyote, and the snake. None of these will likely serve as a threat to an indoor rabbit, but represent a substantial one for any outdoor or wild rabbit.

Of these three, foxes are the most common in the US as there are at least one species of fox anywhere in the continental US.

Your bunny is not safe in Urban areas either. Foxes are often found at heightened rates in cities due to the abundance of dark small hiding places were they can camp out until prey appears

Unfortunately, if a fox manages to reach your bunny it has little chance of survival due to a fox’s size. With a strong properly constructed cage though, a fox has little chance of getting to your rabbit.

The best way to fox proof your rabbit cage is good wiring and strong wood.

The stereotypical fox is sly and rather smart, this is largely true. A fox is capable of chewing through chicken wire and getting into silly small spaces. This means that you will want strong wiring, possibly two layers with different hole sizes, to stop a fox.

Coyotes are just as common, and I’ve also seen them living in residential neighborhoods in small cities! Fortunately, the same steps you can take to protect your bunny from a fox will work for a coyote.

Another common predator for your rabbit is the snake. Snakes are found all across the US in abundance. Rabbit cages are perfect for a snake to sneak in without the rabbit being able to escape.

While most adult rabbits cannot be eaten by a snake, if you have baby bunnies or particularly small rabbits you will want to make sure you have a sound cage.

Protection against snakes does not involve incredibly strong caging, you will just want to make sure that there are no holes in the cage and that any wire is small in diameter.

Badgers are also a possible predator for your bunny. Not as common as snakes and foxes, badgers are still found everywhere in the US with the exception of the east coast and deep south.

These creatures represent a formidable foe to your furry buddy, as when hungry they have been known to tear the paneling of cages and break any number of components of a rabbit cage for a meal.

To protect against a badger the only real defense is very strong wiring and secure building. Without this, your bunnies home stands little chance against a ferocious predator like the badger.

Birds That Prey on Rabbits

There are four main types of birds that will prey on your rabbit, the Hawk, the Owl, the Eagle, and (surprisingly) the Crow.

The eagle is the largest bird on our list and if it manages to get to your rabbit it can do some serious damage. Eagles range across most of the US, though they are more common in some places than others, and thus should be a concern to most outdoor rabbit owners.

Weighing up to 18 pounds, if you want your bunny to be protected against this predator you will need a strong cage.

The best protection is strong wiring to prevent the bird from getting into your rabbit’s cage. Overall though this bird will not do nearly as much damage to your bunnies cage as a badger could do.

Another similar bird on our list is the falcon. Maxing out at eight pounds there is little chance of this bird breaking into a cage. As a result, there are no special cages to prevent it from hurting your bunny.

It should be noted though that this does to mean that you should leave your bunny in the open unsupervised as he/she would risk an attack from a falcon, whose talons can wreak havoc on an unsuspecting bunny.

The most common bird that you will find trying to get your bunny is the owl. While these birds do not pose the greatest threat they are incredibly numerous and can be found all across the United States.

The greatest fear with an owl is that your bunny will have a panic attack if the bird attempts to break into the cage.

It may be surprising, but the crow can actually be a common predator of the rabbit. Its small size is deceiving and this resourceful animal will attempt to pray on small bunny rabbits when it has the chance.

To protect against a crow make sure that your bunnies cage is secure and you do not leave them alone without the protection of a cage.

Domestic Animals That Are Rabbits’ Predators

Domestic animals are one of the only predators for indoor rabbits and can also be a considerable threat to outdoor pet bunnies and wild rabbits.

The most common domestic predator of rabbits is the dog. Man’s best friend loves rabbit and if you do not take the proper time to train your dog your rabbit could be his next meal.

You should also take extra precautions to discourage other dogs from attacking your outdoor rabbit. Dogs can do considerable damage to a cage that is not well built and seriously scare your bunny.

While you cannot prevent a dog from running around your rabbit’s cage you can make sure to add extra strong wire and good wood so that your bunny’s cage can weather a dog attack.

Most of the time if a dog kills a wild rabbit it is a litter of baby rabbits that were unfortunate enough to be born in a dog’s pen. Dogs love the taste of the baby rabbit and will go to great lengths to get them. Unfortunately, there is little you can do to prevent this tragedy.

Humans Are Rabbit Predators

Hunting, sitting on, stepping on, doors, kids…

Humans have a bad track record of keeping peace with rabbits. Many people enjoy hunting, and rabbits are often the prey of choice is rabbits.

Wild rabbits can be great for humans to hunt, and in most cases, this helps keep the rabbit population under control. This can be great for the local ecosystem because rabbits breed like well… rabbits!

While indoor rabbits have a relatively low chance of becoming prey, one of the most common ways they die is well-meaning children and everyday activities. If you leave your rabbit out of his/her cage unattended there is a chance that they will be stepped on or smashed in a door.

You should also make sure when you get a new bunny that you show young children the proper way to hold a bunny to avoid any harm being done to them. It can be very traumatizing for a child to have a bunny die.

How Being Prey Affects Your Rabbits’ Behavior

Now that we have talked about some possibly bodily harms to your bunny we need to cover what psychological effects an attack can have on your bunny.

Even if your bunny is not physically harmed when a predator attacks they can often have panic attacks that will kill them. We have had an unfortunate rabbit or two that have died after a dog ran it in circles in its cage.

This means that it is very possible for your bunny to die without the predator even entering the cage. For some predators, this is the greatest threat to your bunny.

The best way to prevent your bunny from having a panic attack is to give them a safe part of their cage where they feel that there no predator that could get to them.

Conclusion

If your give your bunny a strong cage with solid wiring with small holes and sturdy construction your rabbit will be safe from most predators.

To prevent your rabbit from having a panic attack make sure that he/she has a safe space in their cage where they feel secure.

Make sure that you never leave your rabbit out of their cage unattended or they could be snatched by a bird or smashed by a child. And teach your children the proper way to handle bunnies so no unfortunate deaths occur.

~Evander

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