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Predators

PREDATORS

 

Rabbits are prey animals, which means they are hunted or captured for food by other animals known as predators. They are targeted by many predators, such as cats, dogs, weasels, birds and most commonly, foxes.

 

Originally, foxes were established in cities such as Bristol and London during the 1940s, and despite a disease called sarcoptic mange dramatically reducing the numbers of both rural and urban foxes [50], there is still an impressive amount of foxes in the population. There are 258,000 adult foxes in Britain, of which 33,000 live in urban areas and approximately 425,000 cubs are born each spring. [51] It equates to 1.2 foxes per square kilometre in the United Kingdom.

 

Foxes Don't Just Hunt At Night

The most common misconception about foxes, that we’re aware of, is that they don’t hunt during the day and only come out at night. Whilst it’s true that foxes are nocturnal animals, and they historically have been seen at night-times or during the twilight hours, they are being seen more during the daylight in built up areas as they become more confident in urban surroundings. These sightings only increase during warmer months, such as spring and summer, when foxes enter their mating season, so their habits change due to them caring for, feeding and protecting their young. Foxes will venture out during the day rather than at night as they need to be able to catch enough food to feed both them and their young – one trip just isn’t enough. [52]

 

Extremely territorial, foxes can claim a huge 13 square kilometres (up to 5 square miles), or another way of thinking of it - that’s 400 gardens. Within these five miles, they will constantly patrol on the lookout for food, returning to the same space repeatedly if they note it as a food source, and marking their scent on anything they find interesting so they can easily find their way back. [53] An informational book released by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health entitled ‘Living with Urban Foxes’ states that:

 

"8% of the pets living in cages in the garden (rabbits, guinea pigs, ducks, hens, etc) were killed by foxes each year. Most of the people interviewed, however, commented that for a long while the foxes had left their pets untouched, even though it would have been easy for foxes to have taken them at any time.”  [54]

 

The report goes on to say, that for garden pets, most frequent killings occur in the warmer months, as a bunny rabbit makes a nice sized meal for them to carry back to the cubs. [54] Foxes have endless patience, as long as you have rabbits in your garden, then a fox will return nightly looking for weaknesses in their enclosure and to catch their dinner. If your rabbits do live outside, you need to ensure that their accommodation is strong enough to keep them safe from this type of attack.

 

Bird of PreyRabbits should not really be left outside to freely roam the garden, as they will be in danger, especially if left unsupervised. They need an enclosure that will give them space to run around and keep them protected. It's essential for this enclosure to have a roof to stop birds of prey swooping down and grabbing a rabbit, and to keep out predators that can climb up and/or jump inside. Foxes can easily jump over a wall of 6' high. [23

 

Many of the hutches and runs on the market nowadays, many of which are archaic and need to be banished from the market, simply do not offer sufficient protection to your rabbits, leaving them at risk of becoming a nice lunch to a passing predator due to lacking materials. Dunster House Rabbit Housing has been made with your rabbit’s safety and happiness in mind.

 

Take a look at the Housing Standards page to learn about the specification that is required to ensure your rabbit’s home is safe, and that they can live a healthy and enriched life.