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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tick Tock! It's Rabbit Time...

In "Alice in Wonderland" the only ticks came from the pocket watch that the White Rabbit carried. Unfortunately, that is not always the case in the wild.... I have been talking about rabbits and hares in class this week and thought I would share three rabbits with you...

1. Snowshoe Hare: This snowshoe hare is simply covered in ticks. Ticks are parasites that take a meal of blood without killing their host. Specifically, they are called "ectoparasites" because they are found on the outside.

Snowshoe hare with ticks (Newfoundland, 7/04)

Poor guy just looks miserable! Parasites can be deadly as well as uncomfortable. And that goes for the researchers as well as the wildlife. I am lucky enough to live in an area where ticks are not thick in numbers. When we lived in Utah, we would have them on us often.

Young eastern cottontail (Seneca Falls, NY)
 2. Eastern Cottontail: Well, I better give you something nice and cute to look at because the last pics are not going to be pretty. This is a young eastern cottontail that was on the edge of our driveway a few years ago. He is big enough to be out of the nest but small enough to still have that white spot between the ears.

If this spring is any indication, it should be a banner year for cottontails on our property...

Cooper's hawk on feral rabbit (University of Victoria, BC 7/10)
 3. Domestic Rabbit: We spent a week in British Columbia this past summer and took part of a day to visit the University of Victoria. We had heard about the large population of feral rabbits there which apparently started with a few unwanted pets being released. I am not exaggerating when I say there were rabbits in every direction we looked. They came in all colors and sizes. Danika was in heaven as she just loves rabbits. I tried to point out places where the rabbits were causign damage to the landscaping, but she had none of that. It wasn't until we returned to the rental car that she saw the down side to releasing these animals to the wild. As we approached the car, we saw a figure inthe shadow of a tree and asumed it was yet another rabbit. But the more I looked, the more the shape just wasn't right. What we found was a Cooper's hawk sitting atop a rabbit that it had killed. To say Danika was distressed is an understatement and she refused to watch any of the proceedings. The hawk started eating the rabbit by removing the ears and swallowing them whole. I took several photos and finally got a little too close and the hawk took off. The rabbit was a bit too heavy and was only carried for a few feet.

Cooper's hawk on feral rabbit (University of Victoria, 7/10)

According to their website, the rabbits have all been removed. You can see for yourself at:

I am sure there was controversy stirred up around that decision.

Cooper's hawk carries feral rabbit (Unviersity of Victoria, 7/10)

1 comment:

  1. Its a wonder that hawk could carry that rabbit at all. That rabbit looks the same size as the hawk, if not bigger.


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