Here we can see, “Domesticated Rabbits: Can They Survive in the Wild?”
Occasionally, well-intentioned pet rabbit owners will declare that they have “released a rabbit free to live in the wild.” This person may believe that releasing their pet to live “how it was designed to live” is the correct thing to do. The problem with this thinking is that farmed rabbits were never intended to live in the wild in the first place. Unfortunately, the bunny is unlikely to live for long.
Domesticated Rabbits and Basic Instincts
If your tamed rabbit got out of his hutch, he’d dig a tunnel like his European forefathers, Oryctolagus cuniculus. That’s approximately the limit of a farmed rabbit’s survival abilities. Rabbits in the wild have lost important reflexes and physical traits that protected them. These abilities are not required in domesticated rabbits. Some basic instincts remain; they are still predatory animals and act as chevaliers. On the other hand, the keen, untamed abilities required for a rabbit’s survival have been diluted by generations of domestication.
Failure to Evade Predators
Domesticated rabbits’ “man-made” coat colours are one feature that immediately works against them in the wild. Rabbit breeders have created coats in a variety of hues and patterns. Domesticated rabbits are easy prey because of their artificial colouring, which does not always blend in with wild and natural environments. In the wild, these creatures become easy prey for hawks, foxes, owls, coyotes, raccoons, and even domestic dogs, and will attract any predator in the region.
Some domestic rabbits do sport the agouti (grizzled brown) hue of their forefathers, giving them a modest edge over their unnaturally coloured counterparts. Even with a more adequately camouflaged coat, the domesticated rabbit lacks the wild rabbit’s finely developed abilities to detect and avoid predators. Domestic rabbits are often heavier than wild rabbits, depending on breed, making them slower to flee from a predator. Even if a pet rabbit detects danger, it is often too late. He simply isn’t equipped to survive on his own for very long, even if he jumps away to hide. Domesticated rabbits will have more trouble finding food in the wild since wild rabbits are skilled at food foraging in their native environment.
Cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus spp.) live for approximately a year in the wild—possibly three if they’re very, very bright. It’s pure luck if a domestic rabbit survives a year after being “let free.” Most folks have good intentions, but they aren’t counting on those chances when they release their rabbit. When domestic rabbits are under our care, they remain the safest, happiest, and healthiest.
If you have a pet rabbit that you can no longer care for, it is safer to give it up for adoption rather than release it into the wild. Your veterinarian, neighbours, or friends might be able to assist you in locating a suitable adoption home for your rabbit.
Would a domesticated rabbit survive in the wild?
Pet rabbits, unfortunately, will not be able to survive in the wild. Pet rabbits lack basic survival instincts and are unaware of predator hazards. They’ll be vulnerable to disease and illness. They are at risk of being run over and may be eliminated as pests.
Do pet rabbits come back if they escape?
It’s a bigger problem if your rabbit has left your property. Domesticated rabbits lack the necessary survival skills to survive in the wild. With any chance, she will return on her own time. However, you should also try to locate your pet.
Can a house rabbit go outside?
When bringing rabbits outside, make sure their run is protected from the wind and covered with a tarp to keep the rain off. When rabbits are outside, regardless of the temperature, they must be safe from predators, so make sure the run is strong and durable, including all doors, locks, and catches.
How far do wild rabbits travel?
Although the cottontail’s home range can range from one to sixty acres, it is normally tiny, with males’ home ranges averaging six to eight acres and females’ home ranges averaging two to three acres. Young rabbits may travel two or three miles in search of suitable habitat, and once they do, they live in isolation.
What do bunnies eat in the wild?
Rabbits eat weeds, grasses, clover, wildflowers, and flower and vegetable plants during the warmer seasons. Rabbits will eat twigs, buds, bark, conifer needles, and any remaining green plants as the weather turns chilly. Rabbits are well-known for their proclivity for reproduction.
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