Are Raccoons Predators of Rabbits?
Raccoons are cute animals and very intelligent as well. Normally, they are an opportunist and look for easy meals in your garbage cans or your garden. They do like rabbit pellets and if no other food is available, they may also kill and eat baby rabbits or even an adult rabbit.
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What Do Raccoons Prefer to Eat?
Raccoons are omnivores and they will eat mostly small animals such as frogs and insects as well as fruits and vegetables, mice, and chickens, and if the opportunity presents itself, they will they eat a rabbit. Raccoons are very smart, but they are scavengers, and would rather have food that’s easy to secure, like dog and cat food, seeds, bird food, birds, and chickens, plus their favorite is your food waste in the garbage can.
Why Do Raccoons Like to Eat Domestic Rabbits, Chickens, and other Barnyard Animals?
Raccoons are opportunists. If there is no easy food available, a raccoon will definitely kill and eat a chicken, rabbit or other captive animal if it can get to it. Chickens are fairly slow in comparison as to how fast a raccoon can move. Wild rabbits are very rarely eaten by raccoons because they move much faster than raccoons and they are good at hiding in the ground in burrows. However, a barnyard animal, such as a rabbit, chicken, or duck, that is not securely locked in a pen an night would be able to be killed and eaten by a raccoon.
Do Raccoons Eat Rabbits?
If a raccoon is very hungry and you have a pet rabbit in a cage, the raccoon will definitely think about scarfing up the rabbit pellets and any fruit or vegetables in the cage and then will also kill and eat the rabbit as well. Raccoons have very sharp teeth and claws to inflict major damage on a bunny that is trapped in a hutch outdoors and can’t get away from the attack.
But a raccoon won’t see a rabbit as his first and foremost food because, even though he is very smart, he would rather be a bit lazy and just secure other types of food that don’t involve a lot of effort.
Raccoons will eat anything they can get their paws on, including rabbits, if there is no other easy food source. If a raccoon finds only scraps of leftover fruits and vegetables in your garbage can, he will eat those. However, if there are fruits, vegetables, and meat, he will actually prefer the meat and then eat the other foods afterward.
Raccoons mainly hunt at night because they are nocturnal and have great night vision. These ring-tailed animals like to hunt mice, birds, insects, fruit, rats, bird eggs, vegetables, and chickens. Raccoons can destroy your vegetable garden in just one night if they find veggies that they love, such as corn. If none of these items are attainable and a raccoon lives near your home, his next target will likely be your bunny.
How Fast are Rabbits When Loose?
Wild rabbits are very hard for raccoons to catch. Rabbits have incredibly strong back legs that allow them to run up to 45 mph and a raccoon can only reach about 15 mph. So it would have a hard time catching a wild rabbit. Rabbits can also jump up to 10 feet at a time and they will run in a zig-zag pattern to get away from a predator.
Wild rabbits are also very defensive when being pursued. They can run fast and kick and bite their assailants if the predator happens to catch them.
If a raccoon comes upon a nest of newborn wild rabbits, however, the young would not be able to get away, and the raccoon would eat them.
Additionally, if a raccoons finds a rabbit or baby rabbits in a cage outside at night, and the raccoon can find a way inside the cage, they can attack without being seen or heard. Raccoons are very clever and are able to open unlocked doors and get through small openings.
How to Keep a Rabbit Safe From a Raccoon
There are many fewer predators for rabbits if you live in an urban setting or a city. But with so much deforestation, predators of rabbits are running out of food and space in the woods and so more wild animals are moving into towns. Protecting your pet rabbits, chickens and other pets can be quite difficult.
Your best bet is to keep your pet bunny inside and only let it out to run, play and exercise in an area that is safeguarded from raccoons and other wild animals as well. You can choose an area in your yard for a rabbit playpen or run. You just need to have some vertical posts of metal or wood in the ground and attach hardware cloth to it with simple zip ties while making sure that the hardware cloth is taunt. Don’t use chicken wire for a rabbit enclosure, because many predators can simply chew a hole in it and enter the area with your rabbit.
You will need to add a walk-through gate with a latch of some sort on one side of the area and it will attach to two vertical posts between them. If you live close to some wooded areas and there are flying predators in your area, such as hawks, then you will need to enclose the top of the pen with hardware cloth as well.
You should never leave pet food outdoors at all times and this includes rabbit food as well. Rabbit food will attract small mammals to eat it, such as mice and rodents, and then raccoons will hunt those and eat them, but may also attack your rabbit.
Raccoons hunt the most at dusk and dawn, and this happens to be the times when most rabbits are active as well. So ideally, you want to move your rabbit inside just before dark and keep him inside until it’s daylight. If you aren’t able to keep him inside your home for some reason, you can put him in a pen inside of your garage or strong, locked rabbit hutch made of solid walls.
What Are Natural Raccoon Deterrents?
Your best line of defense for your pet bunny is to deter raccoons from your property so they can’t hurt it outside. Raccoons love quiet and peaceful areas to call home and have a den for a family of raccoons. They aren’t especially fond of lights. Putting blinking or chasing Christmas lights on your fence around your property can keep them from entering it and causing harm to your bunny. In addition, you can hang empty pie pans with string from the fence so that when the wind blows they make a rattling noise that raccoons hate.
Another good deterrent is to get several tennis balls and soak them in a bowl of ammonia. The tennis balls will absorb quite a bit of this smelly cleanser and be quite odiferous. You then place the tennis balls around the perimeter of your yard to offend the raccoon’s olfactory senses and send them running. When the smell subsides from the tennis balls, just resoak them and put them back out. This works well if you don’t already have a fence around your property.
The most sure-fire way to get rid of raccoons for good is to use predator urine. You can find this at hunting supply stores and online stores as well. It’s available in the urine of bobcats, wolves, coyotes, and mountain lions. You simply spray the predator urine around the perimeter of your property and raccoons will be fooled into thinking they should not enter or they will be the prey instead of the predator.
All of the natural deterrents for raccoons work to keep them off your property and away from your vegetables and flowers as well.
Keeping your pet rabbit inside at night is the best-case scenario for it to be safe from raccoons. To answer the question of do raccoons eat rabbits, the answer is that they are not their favorite food, but if hungry and there are no other food sources, then yes, raccoons can harm your bunny. Fortunately, you can raccoon-proof your property so that your bunny can live in peace in an outdoor hutch without threats from wild animals.