Friday, 6 June 2014

A Life of Fear.

Perhaps 'fear' is too strong a word, maybe 'wariness' is better, but poor old rabbits can never relax can they?

At present the sides of our Lane are full of rabbits - rabbits in the cow parsley conjures up a lovely image and indeed these are baby rabbits, small enough to fit in your hand, tiny bobtails, pretty little ears and SO very cuddly.

But absolutely everything is a threat to them for the whole of their lives (and especially while they are so small).   Jackdaws and Magpies can easily get down into the nest if it is too shallow, and pick off those babies one by one (for make no mistake, once they have found one baby they will be back).  Stoats and weasels can  reach the nest however deep underground it is, and stoats and weasels have their own young to feed - easy meat.   The fox will be round at dusk and he knows every rabbit hole, so is on the lookout for a rabbit that is tardy getting back to its burrow.   The farm cats seem to exist on baby rabbits at this time of the year, rarely eating the food that is put down (they leave that for the hedgehogs).   And last but by no means least, there is the threat of man.   It is said that ten adult rabbits can eat as much grass as one cow, so small wonder that the farmer is liable to wander round at dusk with his gun.

And so these adorable babies seem to loiter along the sides of the Lane in the long grass and the cow parsley.   It must seem like a forest to them and perhaps they feel safe there.   But why do they have to run across the road in front of the occasional traffic?   This morning, while driving up the Lane, ten babies hopped across in front of me - I slowed down and missed them all, but a lot of drivers wouldn't bother.   Rabbits are expendable and there are plenty more to take their place.

What must it be like to spend life on the edge.

12 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

You're so right, bunnies must live with great wariness all the time. But sometimes we see them relaxing on the grass, fully stretched out or even jumping around happily, I think they enjoy their lives anyway...

Cro Magnon said...

I saw a huge Hare yesterday. I was working at Haddock's, when he came right up to me before running off. I expect he was after a few of my cabbages!

John Gray said...

There is a small populTion of rabbits ( Mary's family no doubt) on the field....
I kind of like it when they are around.
They hopefully will let me know when foxes are around)

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

I worried about the fate of little critters constantly as a child. And, truth be told, sometimes I feel like my life is one of constant wariness. Was probably a bunny in a former life. ;)

Dartford Warbler said...

They certainly do have to "live on their nerves"! I suppose it`s inevitable if you are a small and vulnerable prey animals. We have a couple of tiny wild rabbits in the garden at present, but I can`t see them surviving for long.

angryparsnip said...

My brother who worked for the Forest Service, but in law enforcment, use to tell me that rabbits are the food chain. So sad but so true.
I see it everyday where I live.
For me it is the quail who run across the road, the mum leads across the road and 8 to 10 little ones follow with dad in the back. We have a 20 speed limit but so many don't care.

cheers, parsnip

Jennifer said...

This makes me sad. I love seeing wild rabbits this time of year and I hate to think how many of the babies die young.

Reader Wil said...

When I read all the dangers the rabbit population is threatened with, I believe that Watership Down is absolutely heaven for rabbits. Nature can be very cruel sometimes . It is a miracle that there are still a lot of rabbits around. Great post, Pat! Have a wonderful weekend!
Wil, ABCW Team.

sackerson said...

Most wildlife seems to be constantly looking over its shoulder. Being wild is a stressful business, unless you're a really big predator. They're the ones that always look serene!

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Just as well that they breed like rabbits then. Pigeons also seem to take more than their fair share of persecution from both birds of prey and mankind.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I shall read Watership Down again - it will help me to get things in proportion I think! Thanks for visiting.

Terry and Linda said...

I love your concern for the small and furry. I share it with you!

Linda
http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com