Who Ate Jessica Rabbit?

by Suw on December 3, 2017

I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite as many rabbits as I have since moving to Sheboygan. Although our garden is surrounded by a 5ft slatted fence, we frequently see young bunnies in our garden, munching down on the American violets (yay) and my flowers (boo). Sometimes we see bigger bunnies too. There was a big ol’ female cottontail, about the size of Grabbity, who pretty much owned the garden. I think she slipped in under the gate, or round the edge of the fence where it fails to meet our neighbour’s house.

Friday, at about 1.15pm, Kevin left for a meeting. He called me on his way, to let me know that there was half a dead rabbit in the garden. It’s not what I was expecting, I must admit, so I went out to check and sure enough, there was the back half of a rabbit I suspect had been the matronly cottontail. The head, shoulders and front legs had been eaten, leaving just the back haunches. It was a pretty neat job, no mess of entrails, just a few vertebrae scattered about.

I find it hard to imagine that this was the work of a domestic cat, and there aren’t many around us anyway. I think I’ve seen a cat outside maybe twice, in the three and a half years I’ve lived here. But whilst I’ve seen cats catching rabbits, this was a sizeable bunny, and I’ve never seen a cat take down a rabbit of this size.

According to the internet, the list of North American predators that won’t start eating a rabbit head first is far shorter than the ones that will. Fox, coyote, cougar, bobcat, coywolf, racoon… I’ve never seen any of those in the middle of Sheboygan, and feel all are rather unlikely candidates for the award of Creature Most Likely To Take A Quick Snack In Our Back Garden.

Also on the list, though, is the Great Horned Owl. We think there might be one living in a pine tree behind our house as we’ve heard it. Now, Kevin found the rabbit at lunchtime, but whilst it looked relatively fresh, there’s no telling when it was killed. I checked on it throughout the afternoon and evening, and it was still there even when we got home from dinner at 9.30pm. By 10.30pm though, the back half had gone.

I really, really wish that I’d some sort of motion-capture camera trained on the garden. I would have loved to have seen which creature decided on rabbit for dinner.

If anyone can identify a Great Horned Owl kill, here’s a photo. Enclicken to enbiggen.

 

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