Bunny Tales

My neighborhood has been overtaken by bunnies of late. Wild bunnies, everywhere you look. Not an exaggeration, looking out the window right now, I see five bunnies, grazing on the grass in my front yard. They don’t bother me, I have a large yard and there’s plenty of grass and clover for all to share. I’m fairly sure they have built a Watership Down sized apartment under my shed, where I often see them disappearing under. In my imagination, it goes about seven “floors” deep and there is a sophisticated social structure and hierarchy governing them all.
As I said, they don’t bother me, but I do have concerns for their safety. There are other predators around the ‘hood. A few weeks ago, there were coyote sightings, and we’ve seen foxes. In the grass rotary that serves as the central dog walking spot and meeting (and gossiping) hub of our neighborhood, we saw evidence of a successful hunt. What are you going to do? It’s the circle of life, right?
But I certainly don’t want to personally contribute to it! So imagine my great distress, when I came home a couple of weeks ago to what appeared to be the Great Bunny Massacre of 2017. In my fenced-in backyard! I don’t want to gross you out with the graphic details. Let’s just say I was picking up baby bunny pieces for a few days, gagging and crying as I did so. I did a little research and discovered that rabbits have their babies in very shallow nests in the ground, which they cover with grass. It didn’t take Hercule Poirot to put together the clues of the crime. My lawn service had been there the day before, and had obviously, and quite unknowingly, mowed over a nest of babies and scattered their little baby parts all over the yard. The horror! I wish I could unsee it.
I was still traumatized when a few days after the tragedy, I saw a determined looking rabbit who appeared to be digging a hole in my backyard. I chased it away, but a few minutes later, it was back. For about an hour we played this game, Rabbit taking a stand and Kathi chasing it away. I did NOT want another incident. And really, the fenced off portion of my yard is small, just a frame around the back of the house so Daisy can safely be let outside to do her business. The rest of the property has many other birthing/nesting options. Why go where “man” lurks? But the mother bunny was freaking determined. It started pouring rain and still she sat out there. I ended up throwing sticks from my porch, not at her, but towards her to finally get her to leave.
Crisis averted! I did see little babies scampering and frolicking about a couple of weeks later and assumed Mama B had found a safer haven for her maternal activities. The yard service returned and no more bunny corpses were uncovered. Sure, there were some flashbacks, but in general, life went on.
Until last night. When I happened to glance outside from the upstairs window, and damn me, if that bunny (or perhaps another bunny, it’s not like they’re wearing collars and tags), was sitting in the exact same place as the aforementioned hole. I yelled from the window and then ran like the dickens downstairs and outside, yelling and waving my arms. The rabbit did not move. I got closer, still yelling. The rabbit did not move. I got about two inches away from the rabbit, and glaring at me (really, you should have been there), the rabbit moved aside just a tiny bit…to reveal three tiny baby rabbits underneath her.
I backed off! I cried! I really wanted to throw up, but I didn’t. I ran inside and called my sister, who as always remained calm and steady during my crisis (just as I remain calm and steady during hers, we’re awesome like that!). I googled baby bunny nests and read the advice that you are to leave them alone. I debated building a protective structure and also made a note to self to call the lawn service and tell them to avoid the back yard for a few weeks. I fretted mightily about Daisy going out, but the truth is, she is old and sedentary and really only ambles a couple of feet from the door to do her business and then comes back. When I took her out early this morning I looked for the nest, which is well camouflaged but I’m pretty sure I know where it is, so I just sort of blocked that part of the yard off from her.
Apparently it takes about three weeks for babies to leave the nest, and I’m fairly sure I witnessed their actual birth, so we have a ways to go on this. I’ll do what I can to protect them, within reason, but after that, it’s up to their mother and the Gods. The circle of life, right? But please don’t let that circle end in my backyard!
The end, for now

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