What eats rabbits?
What are the types of predators you need to watch out for around your bunny?
Rabbits are prey animals and they are herbivores – you are not going to catch them hunting down much more than a tasty piece of banana!
Therefore, you need to be careful to protect your rabbit from the following animals that eat rabbits.
What Animals Eat Rabbit?
Each part of the world is going to be slightly different when it comes to what eats a rabbit.
For example, while there are no foxes in New Zealand, in the UK they are one of the primary predators of rabbits.
Make sure you’re clued up on the predators specific to your corner of the world, and if your rabbit is outdoors, make sure it’s in a strong metal rabbit run.
Most outdoor rabbit hutches that you can buy are pretty flimsy, and would not stand up to a big gust of wind, let alone a large dog or big cat.
If you’re struggling to find something to keep out rabbit predators, it might be better to look into a strong chicken coop, as pictured above, instead.
This is totally fine for rabbits as well – they don’t mind snuggling up in a nesting box!
With that in mind, here is what eats rabbits!
Wherever you are in the world, domesticated dogs are likely the main culprit when it comes to what eats rabbits.
There are breeds of dogs that have been specially bred in order to chase and kill rabbits.
If you have one of these breeds of dog, it may be unwise to get a rabbit:
- Jack Russel Terriers
- Basset Hounds
- Redbone Coonhounds
- Fox Terriers
Having these dog breeds around rabbits, even if they are always separated, will cause a lot of stress on your rabbit.
See this hunting dog breed list for further dogs that should be kept away from rabbits.
Alternatively, breeds of dog that are reasonably compatible with rabbits include:
- Golden Retrievers
Though you should never leave a rabbit and a dog alone unsupervised. Dogs can be pretty cheeky at times and might just take that opportunity to get the rabbit.
We have a lab and a rabbit, and while we don’t put them together, they get on well with each other through the wire.
It can really depend on the nature and upbringing of each individual dog, so don’t take any risks. It would always be best for a dog to be introduced to rabbits when they are a young puppy, rather than later on.
You also need to make sure your rabbit is secured in your section from any neighborhood dogs that might break in and try to get a quick meal. If you’re ever in doubt, don’t leave your rabbit free-ranging in the backyard, and make sure your rabbit’s hutch is predator-proof.
Give your dogs bananas, not pet rabbits!
Cats are another animal that may harm or kill a rabbit.
While rabbits are able to defend themselves to some extent (they have strong back legs that they will kick with), they will often come off second best in a catfight.
Young rabbits need to be specially cared for around large cats. They are very mouse-like during their first year of life, which can be very tempting for a cat.
We have Mini-Rex rabbits that are free-range in our secure backyard.
I’ll never forget the night I heard something outside and went to check on the rabbits. I found a white kitten up the top of our rabbit’s hutch with my rabbit. My poor bunny didn’t know what to do!
We’ve recently moved to a new area, and all the neighborhood cats seem to be stopping by and watching our rabbits. Thankfully, our rabbits are reasonably sized, and the cats seem content to sit on the fence and watch from a short distance.
Foxes love nothing more than a tasty rabbit for a meal.
In a sense, nature has provided rabbits as the perfect meal for such animals. If you live in an area inhabited by foxes, you will need to ensure you have a fox-proof rabbit hutch.
A fox-proof hutch with have a heavy wire mesh and is made with strong, durable wood.
Many hutches sold online (like the Advantek rabbit hutch) are made with basic mesh and various softwoods, so if you are buying a hutch, double-check it will provide protection for your rabbit from foxes.
Building your own hutch might be a good idea in this situation.
4. Birds Of Prey
Birds of prey aren’t much of a problem in cities and large towns, but if you are in a more rural location you will need to think about them.
Animals such as hawks and eagles are always on the lookout for rabbits to snatch, and they can be quite effective at it too!
If your rabbit is free-range, ensure there is plenty of cover in your yard, and that it has a lot of different hiding places. If a bird attack is a serious enough risk, you may need to keep your rabbit in a covered run permanently.
5. Big Cats
Big cats are another enemy of the humble pet rabbit.
This includes bobcats, leopards, or cougars. If you are in an area with these animals you will need to put the proper protections in place for your bunny.
Cougars can be found right across the Americas – you can see the distribution in the image on the right – but they are certainly more active in some areas than others.
I know Californians are acquainted with cougars targeting their chickens and other small animals.
6. Ferrets & Stoats
Ferrets and stoats also pose a threat to pet rabbits.
As with all the other animals that eat rabbits, you will need a strong rabbit hutch if you know you have these animals in your area.
In the video above, you can see how they can even take down a much larger animal out in the wild – a pet bunny wouldn’t stand a chance!
If you have both ferrets and rabbits, it is not a good idea to bring them together. Ferrets and stoats do target rabbits, especially baby rabbits, in the wild.
Snakes are another rabbit predator we all need to be wary of, as rabbits are the ideal meal for larger species.
All snakes are carnivores and eat animals to survive. Some snakes eat warm-blooded creatures like mice, rats, hamsters, or bunnies. While others eat insects, frogs, eggs, fish, and so on.
Larger snakes, such as boas, pythons, and rattlesnakes, are the varieties you especially need to be careful of around rabbits.
Children can also be a danger to rabbits.
While they are unlikely to eat a rabbit (I have yet to catch my kiddies trying to take a bite out of one of the bunnies), they are a big danger in another sense.
They do not understand how much they can hurt a rabbit by trying to pick it up and can end up dropping it. Sometimes younger kids just want to hit or throw something at a rabbit for fun.
Keep an eye on your children around your rabbits until they have learned to be gentle and loving to them.
Hunters may be the ultimate rabbit predator.
Especially in some countries, hunters kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of wild rabbits per year.
Rabbits are considered pests in certain places and can damage farmland and natural ecology alike. This is when the rabbit hunters come out.
While most hunters cull rabbits using shotguns, some sport hunters will use air rifles, traps, bows and arrows, or even hunting axes.
In my opinion, hunting rabbits is far better than using poisons or releasing viruses. It’s ultimately better for the environment and is more humane.
What eats rabbits?
If you take the right precautions, nothing is going to eat your bunny.
As long as you have a safe and secure hutch and rabbit run, and as long as you keep an eye on your bunny, it should be safe.
Rabbits don’t have the best night vision, and can’t see that well in the dark, so get them tucked away safely at night.
In the wild, rabbits are not nocturnal but are most active at dawn and dusk.
Don’t be overly paranoid if you don’t need to be, just take care of the basics and your rabbit will live a long full life.
Please feel free to leave a comment below sharing your experiences with rabbit predators.