Hopping down the bunny trail. . . wait, that’s my street!
My husband and I participated in a tawdrily-named event from Memorial Day to 4th of July. Before you envision that this blog has become a tell-all confessional, our activity was the Runner’s World magazine one-mile streak. No, thank you! We did not run or walk in our birthday suits akin to a Ray Stevens song. Close your eyes, Ethel! In reality, it was much less adventuresome. Every day for that period of time, we completed a mile run/walk.
We had some entertaining moments along the way, but we started to have this eerie feeling that we were being watched. We soon discovered this much needed and coveted time spent together, just the two of us, was nothing of the sort. Little black beady eyes were everywhere. Black eyes attached to long ears and white tails followed our every move.
As birders, we are familiar with the Christmas Bird Count; so if streaking wasn’t scandalous enough, we took to calling our evening outing the “Town Rabbit Count”. On most nights, in our one mile, we would average around 20 furry little “friends”, and I use that term loosely.
Our town has become inundated with members of the Leporidae family. I was worried that streaking was causing my sweetie to have oxygen issues because he was pretty sure that those cottontails were taunting us with threats ranging from devouring all of our Monarda to nibbling our star gazer lilies to nothing. These were not idle threats either as they accomplished those goals with gleeful success.
A friend has a childhood story where he, his brothers, and a classmate found a baby bunny walking home from school. They came to their grandmother’s house before reaching their own. When they showed their little treasure to the grandma, she asked to see it. What happened next scarred them for quite a while. Let’s just say, baby bunny earned his heavenly reward that day.
I always felt bad for the baby bunny in that story. I have even been known to rescue a few batches in my day, but after hundreds of dollars of plants were devoured overnight – literally, there was a shift in the tide of my thinking. As I sit penning this blog, there are four of the little scamps merrily tra-la-la-ing away in Reed’s memorial garden. Do not mess with a mother’s heart.
If our city fathers (and mothers) will not recognize this pervasive problem, I am here to tell ya we’ve got trouble right here in River City. Have they not seen “Night of the Lepus”? Because I have . . . well, a few parts of it. My dad will swear to you that I never walked in one late, turbulent night and saw gigantic bunnies eating buildings. I reminded him about that recently, and he swore no such event ever happened. I think he may be going senile or at the very least trying to cover his tracks. He is a gardener too, and I think he was trying to plant the seeds of what could happen if we were not ever vigilant.
So while streaking and tabulating counts of taunting members of Bug’s clan, we decided to come up with some options on how to help our fair city rid ourselves of the pests among us. These are listed in no particular order.
- In story books, Mr. MacGregor’s place was pretty enticing, perhaps we could come up with a great relocation package, including lifetime ice cream and sporting and fine art tickets. Perhaps that would allow the dear old farmer to move to outskirts of our city. As for replenishing his produce, those of us with gardens would be more than willing to share our bounty. What happens there need never be questioned because you know the old saying, “What happens at MacGregor’s, stays at MacGregor’s”. At least, that’s how I think it goes.
- On more than one occasion I have been called the Pied Piper of Children. Perhaps the bunny equivalent exists out there who could woo away the entire fluffle to a land flowing in vegetables. (Add that one to your vocabulary. Fluffle – an obscure term for a group of rabbits.)They would merrily march hop down the street faster than Pooh’s friend, Rabbit, would protect his rutabagas. There must be some community (far, far away) that would love them.
- Issue live traps along with curbside recycling and garbage receptacles. Provide instructions on how to properly care for the rabbit until pick up. Then rabbits can be relocated to cities that are considering new rabbit project groups for their county 4H. Personally, I think this is a win-win!
- Since our fine city has pretty severe leash laws, allow an evening once a month where dogs and cats are allowed to roam free. Now before you think we would be creating a greater problem, this freedom would only be allowed if your pet was spayed or neutered AND registered (think: tax dollar revenue, people). I am not suggesting the pets eat the rabbits, but it might give a few rabbits comeuppance about their nonchalant attitude to spend a night being chased.
- Finally our favorite as we are true environmentalists at heart. We recently read an article about how the lynx was once plentiful in our area, but encroaching habitat destruction pushed their territories farther away. Reintroduce the lynx to our county. This could be similar to the reintroduction of the wolf to Yellowstone National Park. We understand that program had some success. We can make no guarantees, but even a lynx has to eat.
We are nothing if not people of action. We feel that we didn’t just complain to city hall about our concern. We asked not what they could do for us. Rather, we have spent our time wisely while streaking (not solely for our physical health either), but I daresay, performing our civic duty brainstorming ways to improve our little town.
Hoping that someday soon, the invasion is much less noticeable. Even though we see them as pests, rabbits do serve a purpose in this world. Until that balance is reached, we may need to buy some more fencing before one stands on his back leg and greets us with, “Eh, what’s up, Doc?” At that point, we may be taking a left turn to Albuquerque.
Note to my dad: I used creative license in this post. I do not believe you are going senile; so, please do not have Mom call me and question my sense of humor.