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How to handle an angry baby bunny | Jan's Journal

A pet bunny in the arms of Jan Hallahan
A pet bunny in the arms of Jan Hallahan's daughter.
— image credit: Courtesy of Jan Hallahan

Standing serenely at my kitchen sink, gazing out at warm sunshine filtering through dazzling fall foliage, an ominous, yet familiar clamor slashed through the silence.

Frozen with fear, adrenaline pumping, I turned slowly, glancing with huge eyes in the direction the sound came from, as the “Jaws” theme song began playing in my head. Terror filled my being as I grasped my unfortunate situation. For one split second, I peered cautiously into two red eyes, twitching nose and huge ears that, in happier times would be straight up, but now were flattened against its small head, symbolizing hatred.

The realization was uttered out loud in horror while deciding what to do: “Oh, no! The angry baby bunny has escaped and I’m in his kitchen — alone!”

Beyond the lunging, growling, teeth-gnashing fur ball, my spray bottle and rubber boots (that I use to protect myself) sat way across the room. So I did the most ignorant thing possible — I ran. Around and around my kitchen island, screaming a plea for my daughter or anyone to save me, the angry baby bunny chased me in hot pursuit, eager to bite again and again at my bare ankles. Vaguely in my flight, I wondered why Halloween thrillers aren’t including enraged bunnies because it’s shockingly unexpected and truly scary. Instead of a clown, imagine a gigantic teed-off Easter bunny. I surmised that the movie makers just didn’t know what the consequences are when little bunny Foo-Foo's approximate territory is threatened.

As a foster parent for the Humane Society’s small mammals program, I happily took this one pound black-and-white baby boy rabbit home. We had a beloved pet rabbit before, and I was excited to help socialize this bunny for adoption. He immediately bonded lovingly with our 9-year-old. He nipped our 18-year-old as soon as she entered his play area, thus causing real tears of fear whenever in his presence. My husband is irritatingly adored the bunny, even though he jokingly calls him “Stew and Carrots.” The irony can’t be denied. This little creature doesn’t like me, even when I carefully place treats into his area with a positive sing-songy “Good bunny” as I back away warily. He’s literally biting the hand that feeds him — and anywhere else that’s exposed.

Researching the topic of rabbits was enlightening. Walking on the BPA Trail is one of my favorite places in Federal Way, especially when I spot an elusive wild jackrabbit. They’re so cute and high on the “awwwwww” scale. However, a sad statistic brought this wild vs. domestic rabbit saga to my attention. According to the 3 Bunnies Rabbit Rescue Web site, wild rabbits are well equipped to survive outside, but domestic rabbits dumped at parks do not have such survival instincts. The average life expectancy is three days before it is typically brutally killed by a predator. The misconception in giving a domestic rabbit its “freedom” on the BPA Trail: It ensures the rabbit will suffer greatly before it dies.

The Pierce County Humane Society accepts abandoned bunnies and finds forever-homes for them. Bunnies are actually wonderful pets, third in popularity behind dogs and cats. Unfortunately, they are also the third most surrendered pet at shelters. Not all rabbits are aggressive, and neutering/spaying will help to reduce unwanted behaviors. Reading further, our foster bunny is acting completely normal — circling and biting my ankles is a symptom of a sexually frustrated adolescent bunny. Not for long, I chuckle, as his neutering operation is Tuesday. Then we’ll see whose kitchen it really is.

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