Do raccoons kill rabbits? Yes, but luckily it is rare. Raccoons are not natural predators of rabbits, but they will attack and kill them if they have no other choice. A raccoon will not try to eat a rabbit unless it is hungry and has a scarcity of food.
Raccoons don’t kill and eat rabbits often for a couple of reasons. They are known as opportunistic feeders that can feed upon anything easily available. Secondly, it is a very challenging task for raccoons to catch rabbits because rabbits are faster than raccoons. The fastest raccoon can run at about 15 mph while the other hand, a slow rabbit can easily run at a speed of 27 mph.
How And Why Raccoons Are Dangerous To Rabbits?
When animals interact with each other for their survival, some animals become the worst enemies who kill and eat each other, while others choose to be friends and live together.
If we talk about Raccoons and rabbits, they are mortal enemies. Despite how cute bunnies and raccoons are; they can have a serious fight together!
The reason for this is that their bodies are very different. When they fight, the bunny has a much smaller chance of winning than the raccoon.
Raccoons are predators, naturally blessed with sharp nails and teeth that can cause serious damage to the soft body of a rabbit. Raccoon’s sharp claws and teeth can easily tear through a rabbit’s skin and fur.
In case, the raccoon loses a fight, still, a rabbit may be left with serious injuries that may lead to serious illness or death of an injured rabbit.
Raccoons are considered dangerous to rabbits not only because they kill them but also because they can transmit serious diseases to their prey.
Raccoons are the natural carrier of diseases like raccoon roundworm, leptospirosis, and rabies. Their scratch or bite may easily transfer these diseases to their prey minimizing its chances of survival despite its luckiness to escape during the fight.
Do Raccoons Eat Rabbits?
When it comes to food, Rabbits are not the only choice raccoons have. Being an omnivore, Raccoon has a large variety of food to consume. It can eat both plants and animals; from nuts, fruits, and eggs to insects and small mammals, they may eat whatever is available.
So rabbit meat is not something that comes under the category of their favorite food.
But under unfavorable conditions, when food is scarce, Raccoons don’t mind hunting and eating a rabbit to satisfy their hunger. Omnivores consume meat as well so rabbit meat is not a bad choice for raccoons when there is a need.
What Do Raccoons Do To Baby Rabbits?
In comparison to adult rabbits, raccoons opt to hunt and eat baby rabbits that are alone and their mothers are not near to defend them.
Raccoons love to eat baby bunnies because they can’t run or defend themselves like adults and are easy to grab.
At What Time Do Raccoons Attack Rabbits?
Raccoons are nocturnal predators that are more active at night while rabbits are diurnal that sleep at night.
This contrast between these two animals helps raccoons to hunt and eat rabbits while they are sleeping so they can’t fight back or run easily. Otherwise, during the daytime, when rabbits are active, hunting them is not an easy task.
One of the most difficult aspects of catching a rabbit is that the rabbit will never stop running from a predator. Even if it gets tired, it won’t give up and simply hop away
Raccoons don’t go out of their way to chase bunnies. Raccoons know very well that rabbits are difficult to catch, therefore they don’t waste time running after them.
Instead, they carefully observe and follow the footsteps, moving as quietly as possible to come closer to their target in a precise position for an attack.
They mostly attack rabbits when they are least attentive, especially when they are sleeping, feeding, eating, or playing.
Raccoons mostly try to attack rabbits at such times, and in most cases, they get successful in hunting down and killing their prey.
Can Rabbits Protect Themselves?
Rabbits are cute, intelligent, and friendly prey animals that do not like to initiate a fight. Nature has blessed them with several defensive characteristics to help them avoid being preyed on easily.
Rabbits are known as fast runners. They use their capability to run fast and hide quickly as their main defense system. These fast runners are not an easy catch for their predators as they love giving their predators a tough time by playing “Catch me if you can”.
Good sense of smell, sight, and hearing
Rabbits also possess a strong sense of smell, sight, and hearing that helps a rabbit to sense any nearby danger and to plan a defense strategy accordingly.
Rabbits are blessed with almost 360-degree vision so they can easily detect the presence of their predator regardless of its direction.
Strong Hind limbs
Not only do strong hind legs help Rabbits to maintain a good speed while running, but Rabbits also use them in their defense.
During an encounter with a predator, rabbits use their legs to kick their enemy so they may get threatened and run away. Small-sized animals can easily get injured because of these strong kicks.
Sharp teeth and claws
Unluckily, if a rabbit doesn’t get a chance to escape and have an encounter with its predator like a raccoon, it won’t give up easily. Rabbits can put up a good fight and can injure its predator by using their sharp teeth and claws.
A rabbit can’t kill its predator but can give him enough wounds that it won’t be able to chase a rabbit easily. This strategy may give the rabbit enough time to escape.
How to Protect Rabbits from Raccoons?
If you own a rabbit, the last thing on your mind is the thought of a raccoon eating it. Unfortunately, you can’t stop raccoons from eating away rabbits because it is a natural process of survival. But you can protect your rabbits by taking some necessary precautions.
For your ease, we have discussed below some ideas so you may get rid of raccoons without harming them.
Keep your pet indoors
For ages, it’s been a debate whether pets like rabbits stay happy and healthy while living indoors?
Research has shown that rabbits may live happily indoors if they are provided with safe and comfortable accommodation.
They are prey animals so it is beneficial for them to stay inside that would minimize the chances for them to get preyed upon easily.
Remove all food sources including trash cans
Raccoons are scavengers that always search for ready-made food. If they won’t get access to any edible on your premises, they might get discouraged and most probably would stop visiting your place.
At night, making a habit of cleaning all the garbage, your pet’s leftover food, and especially covering your trash cans properly with locking lids may remind the visitor raccoons that they are at the wrong place and they should move on.
Build a secure predator-proof rabbit hutch
If you can’t keep your pet indoors or want your pet to stay outdoor and enjoy its natural habitat, then better to build a predator-proof rabbit hutch so your pet may stay safe outside.
Choose a hutch made of material that may not easily get torn by predators. Strong wiring should be there all over your hutch to give it additional support.
An ideal hutch may have properly placed complicated locks, latches, and bolts on it so that intelligent predators like raccoons won’t be able to open and get into the hutch easily. Raccoons are smart enough to open simple latches and locks.
Placement of a hutch at an ideal place and height is also a key aspect of securing your pet from predators.
Use of repellents
Raccoons have a strong sense of smell so they can easily sense and differentiate between smells they like and dislike. The strong scents they dislike act as a repellent for them.
You can use this trait to keep them away from your pet’s surroundings. Some of the good repellents you can use for raccoons are:
- Onion and pepper spray releases a pungent smell that irritates raccoons a lot.
- The use of Epsom salt may bring dual benefits for you. In addition to keeping raccoons away, it may also work as a very effective natural fertilizer for your garden.
- Hot pepper, peppermint essential oil, garlic juice, cinnamon, and ground black pepper are also used frequently to keep the surroundings and pets safe from these masked bandit creatures.
Rabbits are prey animals that have so many predators in the wild. Raccoons are also one of them but the ratio of raccoons eating rabbits is luckily very low as compared to other predators (including coyotes, foxes, and wolves) because raccoons at first go for the food options that are easily available rather than choosing a difficult task to hunt a rabbit.
The natural predator-prey relationship is important for a balanced ecosystem and in wild, we can’t avoid it. But if you love to keep the cute bunnies as pets and may be concerned about predators like raccoons eating your pet, then this article has enough information for you regarding the nature of rabbits and raccoons.
In addition, we have also suggested some easy precautionary measures for you so your pet won’t easily get exposed to predators and you may safely enjoy its company for a longer period.