Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Bunnies, bunnies, everywhere!

I was pretty reluctant to post a story about this, because I think it might be the most interesting thing that happens in the garden this summer.  However, I decided that it was too exciting not to share!  Just promise that you'll keep on reading.

I was watering the greens the other day when, lo' and behold, the earth started to move under the chard!  I leaned closer to take a look.  Pushing aside a giant leaf, I realized that what I thought was dirt was actually a sizeable hole in the ground, convincingly camouflaged with fur and dead leaves.  And what did I find sticking out of the hole, but several tiny bunny ears and tiny bunny noses!  As I observed, the patch of ground started to wiggle and more bunny limbs came poking out of the hole.  Rabbits were living - where else? - in the cabbage patch! (Technically, the bed only contained one row of cabbage, but the cliche of rabbits in a cabbage patch is just too hard to resist.)  

Unexpected visitors (or am I the visitor?)

The bunnies were very hard to see at first, but I eventually counted 5 of the little guys huddled together.  They didn't seem very happy to have been watered, but didn't look like they would be moving any time soon.  Which left me with a dilemma: rabbits aren't known for their gardening skills.  In fact, they're pretty terrible at gardening.  Quickly dispelling dreams of a private garden workforce of pet rabbits, I realized the bunnies wouldn't be any help at all - and might even *gasp* eat the plants!  It was even pointed out to me that rabbits can reproduce in 3 months, yielding an exponentially increasing army of bunnies that would take over the garden and, eventually, the entire Williams campus.  Something had to be done.  

One of the cutest things I have ever seen.
I decided that the bunnies needed to be relocated elsewhere.  However, I still wasn't sure how to move them.  Thankfully, my friend Anna had an idea.  We would put the bunnies in the box!  This method seemed pretty ideal, until the bunnies realized that we were after them.  After we picked up the first one, a couple stayed in the nest, but the rest of them started hopping away!

A rogue bunny!
Luckily, baby bunnies aren't great at hopping and didn't venture outside of the bed of greens which they liked to call home.  It wasn't too much trouble to track them down and scoop them up, one at a time.

After a few minutes of rabbit-wrangling, we had them all trapped safely in their box.  Catching the bunnies was both wonderful (they were so soft!) and horrible (they were pretty unhappy) at the same time.  Most of them tried to jump out of the box.  Somehow, they didn't seem comforted by the bok choy and chard with which we covered them.

A boxful of bunnies
After arguing over which part of the bunnies was the cutest (their miniature paws or their tufty tails?  Or their little twitchy noses???) Anna and I did some internet research about how to relocate families of rabbits.  We soon determined that they were likely old enough to live on their own, and picked up some interesting facts along the way (ex. Did you know that mother bunnies must lick their young offsprings' genitals to help them pee? Whouldathunkit.)

Box in arm, we set off across campus to find a new home for the bunnies.  After scouting out a decent spot in the drizzly weather, we released them into an overgrown, wooded area far, far away from the garden.

As we watched them scamper off into the underbrush, we wished them a safe and happy life eating someone else's vegetables.  

1 comment:

  1. I don't know how you determined that those bunnies were old enough to be on their own. Even looking at the photo, you can clearly tell that they were still nurslings. You just took them away from their mother, throwing them out of the nest. And how can a bunny, that is barely hopping, escape predators?