Watch Out for Mr. Fox
It was such a beautiful sunny morning today that I took my rabbits Cara and Sebastian outside in the garden to play; a very good time was being had by all. I looked up and guess what was walking along the garden wall: a fox! I happened to be taking photo's at the time, so got a picture - this is the exact moment he noticed the rabbits! Cara went running over to say hello as Marianne and I dived for the wall to chase it away. Itís just as well that I never leave the bunnies unattended as they weren't the least bit bothered and would have happily run over expecting him to join in the fun.
Cara and Sebastian were very lucky rabbits. Their owner agreed to share their story in the hope it would help other rabbit owners realise the foxes pose in time to save their bunnies lives. Many rabbits are not as lucky. Other rabbit owners have shared stories of hutches being broken into, rabbits taken from a first floor balcony and even a house rabbit killed after a fox entered through the back door.
Many of these attacks happen in urban areas and during daylight hours. Urban foxes are used to people and are not put off by owners being nearby.
When you are rabbit proofing your bunnies housing you should consider security from the point of view of something trying to get in as well as preventing your rabbit escaping. A fox can easily clear a six foot garden fence or wall. They are also excellent diggers and will tunnel into a rabbit run or under a fence to enter a garden. They have powerful jaws and will gnaw through chicken wire and plywood hutches in order to get at 'dinner'.
Making Out Door Accommodation More Secure
Here are some changes you can make to help security:A secure run is the best way of giving an outdoor rabbit exercise. It should have both a lid and, if on grass, something to stop a fox digging in or a rabbit digging out. Use weld mesh instead of chicken wire. This is stronger as it is welded at each join rather than being twisted together. Replace wooden catches on hutches with secure metal bolts. Wooden twist catches will easily open when a fox scratches at them. Ensure that mesh is firmly attached to the frame. Many mass produced hutches/runs are put together with staples that donít go very deep into the wood. You can reinforce these with U-Shaped nails. Most DIY stores stock them, just ask. Check for small gaps that a fox can chew at and enlarge.
If you are aware of foxes in the area you could also:Fit wooden shutters to the hutch and close them at night (remember to leave ventilation holes). Move the hutch into a shed or unused garage. Turn your rabbit into a house rabbit.
Most importantly: never leave your rabbit loose in the garden unattended.