Thursday, 18 September 2008

Rabbit Watching

...

Lately I'm learning a lot about rabbits from our little furry friend - the wild rabbit who owns the garden. I say "own" because he stamps his feet in anger if we are in the garden in an area he wants to go to. He's not brave (or mad) enough to try and chase us off, as he does sometimes chase small birds, but he does show his irritation when we're in HIS garden! Especially if we've ruined his snoozing time.

What really surprised me lately is realising that he has been watching us as much as we watch him. It started with the day my dad trimmed the hedge. Bun-boy was there on the grass (see top photo) lazing and seeming unimpressed as my dad trimmed and snipped away. My dad took away at least three wheelbarrow loads of hedge clippings.

The next day we saw Bunny pottering around the hedge, checking out dad's handiwork. We noticed he even nibbled a few stray hedge trimmings, but it was only after the blue flowers morning that I realised what was going on.

This spring I planted seeds that became the blue flowers in the photos below. They've been brilliant - full of flowers the whole summer, so last week I went out and collected as many dying flower heads as I could. I'm going to keep the seeds for next spring. At the time bunny was down by the hedge watching me, nibbling clover and looking bored.

BUT...

the next morning there was bunny, staring at the blue flowers...

He stood up and stared at them...

Then he sniffed them...
Then he pulled them down, one by one...
...and ate the blue flower heads!
Bunny is learning by watching! He's eating the plants he thinks we're eating. Dad went off with three barrows full of hedge, so he goes and nibbles the hedge regularly. Now I've taken blue flower heads he's nibbling them too!

I had no idea rabbits learnt through observation. It's funny and cute, but it has made me realise I'd better not trim anything poisonous while he's watching!
...

11 comments:

  1. Gee...this is interesting! I didn't know that. Bunny oh bunny...funny how he learns!!! So he's quite territorial, eh? Tsk tsk tsk...

    ReplyDelete
  2. I thought the story was quite funny. The pictures really tied the article up, rather than imposing upon the reader.

    ReplyDelete
  3. HA HA HA! Great story, Michelle. I loved it. I can just see him stamping his feet at you when you "trespass" in his garden. And it sounds like you have a little bunny stalker since he is following along behind you wherever you go. This is so funny! :D

    ReplyDelete
  4. Your bunny sounds like he's been taking some entitlement lessons from my cats.

    I get the same type of response when I get in my recliner from my cat Goober,

    ReplyDelete
  5. hehehe - looks like he's gained some weight from all the nibbling too!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Aww, you've got yourself a lovely pet who can take care of himself! How nice.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey that's neat. I used to raise rabbits for money as a kid, but never noticed them learning anything. Hey, either you've now have a rabbit that's kind of like a kid, or the rabbit has all of you kind of as pets!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Okay, that's scary because I always heard that if you didn't know what to eat out in the wild that all you had to do was watch the rabbits and what they eat. If it won't hurt them, it won't hurt us (or so I heard it). Now what am I supposed to do if I'm ever stranded in the woods? What if my bunny guide turns out to think poisonous weeds are tasty because he thought he saw someone eating them!

    ReplyDelete
  9. Amel

    Having kept one as a pet, yes, I did know that bunnies are very territorial. They get grumpy if anyone gets into their space.

    Hi Derik
    Thank you. :-)

    Daisy
    I'm really enjoying our across continents bunny facts exchange too. :-)

    Hi Cliff
    LOL Maybe that's why the Tibetans chose a Cat for the astrology sign the Chinese call Rabbit?

    J-J
    When he hops over things you can see just how plump he really is.

    Ting
    LoL - the best kind of pet - entertaining, but no maintenance. ;-)

    PV
    I suspect wild rabbits need to be smarter than tame ones to survive.

    Genie
    I never thought of that. In Africa my grandfather always told my dad to never trust what birds ate as their digestive systems can handle poisons we can't. He said you could trust what a monkey ate, but I've seen monkeys eating a kind of bean I know are poisonous! :-\

    ReplyDelete
  10. Michelle, please please read Watership Down and tell me what you think :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. G-G

    Too late, I read it as a teen and went out and bought the book because I loved it so much. I think it was one of the books I had to give away when I moved countries. I say "think" because the books I did bring are still packed and I can't remember now.

    Oh wow, how come I never looked at your list of favourite books before? Wind in the Willows? YES! :-) Watership down? YES! In fact... I think our rabbit might be Bigwig's reincarnate. ;-)

    ReplyDelete