Rabbits are small, fluffy mammals with long ears and strong hind legs which helps them take higher and longer strides. They are indeed a pleasure to watch and you’ll almost jump with ecstasy when you see them hopping around!
While most rabbits live in the wild, they are also one of the cutest domestic pets. However, both wild and domestic rabbits are of equal importance to the economy. Its fur is used to produce clothing and accessory which is less durable than mink. On the other hand, wild rabbits are hunted for food. The meat is of delicate flavor and is a great source of protein for many.
But these little furballs are considered prey animals since almost every large carnivore is a threat. The young ones of rabbits, known as kits, are usually more vulnerable due to their small size. Rabbits venture out for food mainly at dusk and dawn which helps them hide from their predators. Their long legs and ability to run faster is an adaption to run away from the animals that want to feed on them. However, this adaptation can sometimes be of no use since predators can be very cunning and get to them easily.
Covered in scales, snakes are long, legless reptiles. Being carnivores, their source of food mainly depends on the meat of other small animals, like rabbits and reptiles like lizards.
Snakes often hunt rabbits in the early evening when the weather is still warm. Small rabbit species, like Netherland Dwarf rabbit and Angora rabbit, are immediately swallowed by adult snakes, like pythons. They don’t even have to poison the rabbit in order to kill it. Whereas, bigger rabbits species, like the Flemish Giant, are first immobilized with fast movements and then swallowed.
Since kits are small, weak and, unable to see as their eyes remain closed for about a week, they get attacked by snakes more often. Although rabbits have quick reflexes and sense their predators from a distance, they cannot fight snakes, therefore, they are easy prey.
Eagles are large powerful birds due to which they are ranked at the top of the food chain. They are indeed one of the most prevalent predators of rabbits. They have sharp beaks that are often used to grab small animals and are also capable of tearing the flesh in seconds.
Their exceptional eyesight helps them locate their food which includes rabbits, even from miles away. Once identified, eagles fly towards the rabbit and grabs them with their sharp claws known as talons. Eagles can easily carry the animal till they reach the nest where they enjoy the feast. Only on rare occasions, rabbits are able to give the mighty eagles a miss, once it sets sight on them.
Owls are nocturnal birds of prey and have a large head. They are adapted with features that ensure silent flight. Owls are found in almost all regions of the earth. Depending on their size they feed on animals as big as rabbits or insects as small as crickets.
An owl’s diet majorly depends on its species and is considered as an efficient predator. With the help of amazing sight and hearing, they are able to locate their prey, even a small rabbit, from a distance at night, dusk, and dawn.
After locating it, owls swoop down on them and grab them with their sharp claws, crushing the skull. Their beak is similar to a hawk that can easily tear the soft flesh.
Also known as a common raccoon, it is a small to medium-sized mammal found in North America. Due to their movement around urban areas, they are considered disturbing pests. They break into houses and may feed on the waste in the garbage can or even feed on your pets like rabbits or cats.
Even in the wild, raccoons are predators of rabbits that are within their reach since they cannot compete with the speed. They are considered one of the most intelligent predators since they tend to examine their prey before hunting it. Baby rabbits can easily be the target while the mother is not around.
Its paws are of a hand-like shape that helps it to catch the prey and then it feasts on the flesh with the help of its sharp teeth.
Hawks are a group of medium-sized birds of prey. Hawks have four types of color receptors in their eyes and exceptionally sharp eyesight which makes them a great hunter. They prey on small birds and animals including rabbits.
If a hawk is seen hunting a rabbit it tends to swoop in and catch it with its strong talons. If the rabbit is small enough it might suffocate and die while it is still in the hawk’s claw. On the other hand, if it is bigger, hawks stay on top of it, until the rabbit stops fighting and then slowing begin to pluck the fur. Once the skin starts to show, hawk start tearing its flesh. It can be considered that while the hawk starts feeding the rabbit might be very much alive.
Although rabbits are considered pet animals they can easily fall prey to other animals such as cats or even raccoons. The rabbits are also not safe from aerial savages like hawks and eagles. Therefore, if you have a pet rabbit you must consider its safety from the predators as the first priority.
I hope that this article on rabbit predators was helpful. If you are interested, visit the Animal Facts Page!