Raccoons are a part of our lives, whether we like it or not. There are things that we can do to keep them away from our houses, but no technique is failsafe. Raccoons can cause problems in our trash, in our gardens, and within our animals’ habitats. If you are a rabbit owner, you may be wondering whether raccoons will attack and eat rabbits.
The sad truth is that yes, raccoons will attack and eat rabbits if they have the chance to. However, these animals may not be as much of a threat to rabbits as you imagine. We explore how and why raccoons are dangerous to rabbits, why rabbits are not the first choice of prey for raccoons, and what can be done to protect your rabbits.
How and Why Raccoons Are Dangerous to Rabbits
Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores and will eat just about anything that they can find or catch, including rabbits. If they can pull it up from the ground or kill it, they will eat it. Raccoons have extremely sharp nails and teeth that can do serious damage to a rabbit during a fight. A raccoon has a good chance of overcoming a rabbit that they are fighting with, especially if the rabbit is caught off guard, which is almost always the case.
Raccoons do not hunt down rabbits for the fun of it. They will usually avoid an encounter with a rabbit if they have just eaten and are not on the hunt for food. But if a raccoon is hungry, they can spend a great deal of time trying to figure out how to take down a rabbit and create a meal out of it.
Why Rabbits Are Not the First Choice for Raccoons
Although raccoons will attack and eat rabbits, it’s not their first choice to do so for a couple of reasons. First, rabbits are much faster than raccoons and will almost always outrun them if they are aware that they have become a target. Also, rabbits can put up a good fight. Even if a raccoon wins the fight, they will likely walk away with injuries.
Therefore, since raccoons know that they have a low chance of catching a rabbit and that they will probably get hurt in the process of hunting one down, they would rather spend their time foraging in garbage cans unless they can find a rabbit that is off their guard.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Rabbits From Raccoons
If you are worried about raccoons attacking and eating your rabbits, you can provide protection by housing the rabbits in an enclosed habitat. It should be made of metal fencing or wire so your rabbits can feel like they are outside. The habitat should be welded together where the wire or fencing connects to ensure that a raccoon cannot break through and get in.
The fencing or wire should also be buried in the ground that raccoons cannot dig underneath. Making sure that thick bushes and foliage do not grow near the habitat will help ensure that raccoons cannot hide near the area and catch your rabbits off guard. You can also install motion sensor lights around the habitat to scare night-stalking raccoons away while your rabbits sleep.
While rabbits can become prey to raccoons, the risks are quite low compared to other predators, such as dogs and coyotes. Still, there is always a chance of a raccoon attack if you happen to live in an area with a high raccoon population. Hopefully, you can now have peace of mind in knowing that you understand the risks of raccoons eating rabbits and how to protect your beloved rabbits outside. Do you have any tips or tricks for protecting rabbits from raccoons? If so, share them with us in our comments section!
Featured Image Credit: edbo23, Pixabay