Every eight or ten years, the forests and backyards of our region erupt in rabbits. Rabbits on the lawn, rabbits in the garden, rabbits crossing the road, dead rabbits laid at their feet by the family cat, and well, just rabbits everywhere.
This is a natural cycle with the kingdom of nature and peaks within a fairly regular period.
This high population generally means that the population of predators is low and, of course, coyotes and foxes have been victims of scabies in the last two years.
Not all coyotes and foxes, but many of them, leaving the survivors and large owls to contain the rabbit population. Without constant control, the bouncing rabbits reproduce, well, like rabbits, and there you have it.
Within a year, these specimens will be back to "normal" levels, as their current abundance is ensuring the healthy survival of this year's kits, puppies and owls.
These bunnies are very adept at finding a home in urban areas. While their large cousins, hares with snowshoes and European hares (also called 'rabbits') like to be in the wilderness, rabbits prefer to dig in garden sheds or spend the winter under that tarp you played on the garden tools last fall. .
Since I am playing these terms on you, it may take a moment to find out what makes a hare a hare and a rabbit a rabbit. Biologically, both are part of a group of mammals known as lagomorphs. Pikas are also part of this group, but we do not have them here, so I will not discuss them.
Lagomorphs are like rodents, but not really. One of the easiest ways to differentiate them is to look at the teeth: rodents have two upper teeth used to tear off the branches, and these teeth have orange enamel on the front; lagomorphs have four upper teeth (two very small ones are hidden directly behind the larger ones) and have enamel on both sides of the tooth.
So the next time you're doing a rabbit fight, look right into their mouths … pretty amazing, actually.
To separate rabbits from hares, you need to study the life of their homes: hares give birth to nude young men on the ground while small ones produce naked nudes in an underground burrow (which, if you come from England, is called a "labyrinth" "). which, if you are about these parts here, is called a rabbit hole. Alas, the disappearance of the English language).
Because rabbit rabbits are brown all year round, they may be a little easier to see if you are a hawk, an owl or a coyote; which may be a factor in their floating populations.
And the rabbits tend to be a little more nervous than their white plush hares, and the movement is a dead one that surrenders to its location … the emphasis is on the word "dead." Perhaps that is why the snowshoe hare tends to have a rather smug look on his face, feeling that they are more evolved in the deceiver of the predator.
To move through the territory of your home, rabbits and hares will traverse the area in detail, locating every small hideout and place to find food. If a good feeding area is found near a good hiding place, a path between them is soon placed on the grass.
When native peoples, settlers, and hunters became hungry, a trap mounted on a rabbit catwalk always offered a nutritious meal.
Although the snowshoe hare changes color, from winter white to summer brown, both European hares and rabbit rabbits remain brown throughout the year. If the bug you are observing is brown and the size of a small fawn, this would be your & # 39; rabbit-of-cock & # 39 ;; if it's small and "cute", that would be your rabbit.
In addition, the cottontails have a rusty piece of fur on the back of the neck (I do not know why, but there it is).
On a recent walk in the nearby fields, I found where a rabbit was eating pods of closed syringes. New to me. The chewed open hole was just where the seeds were still together and that particular rabbit knew how to get more energy without dealing with those annoying white parachute fibers.
In the same walk there were many tracks of foxes also observed … that the music of suspense. And sure enough, a few days later, a neighbor e-mailed some photos of a dead rabbit in his yard. This is the balance of nature at work.
The high number of rabbits this year should give you a great opportunity to observe one of our natural neighbors, but often difficult to see. Next year, it may not be so easy, as these population swings happen quickly.