Wild Rabbits

Domesticated Rabbits Are Not Meant For The Wild!



If you ever find yourself wondering if your rabbit would be "happier" if you turned it loose in the wild, please bear in mind that a wild rabbit comes camouflaged to blend in with his habitat. What color is your rabbit? I actually know someone who used to release her "extra" rabbits into the wild, without giving any thought to the fact that a black and white domestic rabbit was going to be very easily spotted by predators.

What's more, the rabbit's babies will be a virtual smorgasbord for stray cats, hawks, etc. They will be more visible than wild rabbits and too small to defend themselves at all and even too small to be able to cover as much ground as an adult when running for cover. This same person told me she cried whenever the neighbors cat killed one of her bunnies. Clearly, this is a case of someone having good intentions but poor insights.

Need another reason for not releasing into the wild? Think about the environment you are releasing the rabbit into. For example, the person mentioned above was releasing domestic rabbits into an environment inhabited by jack rabbits. If you've ever watched a jack rabbit, then you know they are much larger, much better at detecting approaching intruders, and very, very fast. Domestic rabbits more closely resemble "bush bunnies" which depend on thickets and dense brush to hide from predators. Clearly the domestic rabbits were ill suited for the habitat into which she was releasing them.


Domestic Rabbits


Next, consider how you would cope, released suddenly "into the wild" -- or your dog or cat. An animal accustomed to being cared for by humans does not instantly adjust to the dangers and challenges that it's wild cousins have grown up coping with from birth.  (For one thing they had the advantage of watching their mother and older siblings example.)

Lastly, there is the environmental impact of releasing domesticated animals into a wild habitat. Habitat destruction, competition with native species-- all may result from introducing a non-native domesticated animal.  Just by turning your domestic rabbit loose in the wild, you could be contributing to the extinction of native species.  Other species throughout the food web, both plant and animal, predator and prey, will bear the impact as well.

In short, be a responsible pet owner. Spay and neuter your pets and/or find responsible loving homes for their offspring.  And if you truly must "get rid" of them, visit your local animal shelter or humane society.  They will treat your rabbit with tender loving care and put it up for adoption. 

And remember, although with some shelters their is a risk of your animal being "put down" or "put to sleep" if never adopted, your rabbit will still have much better odds of survival than if you release it into the wild.  And what's more, being put to sleep is still a gentler fate than being attacked by wild animals or free roaming local dogs. 



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