Monday, 11 May 2015

A Rare Bunny

This picture, of one of West Ardnamurchan's endangered species, was sent to the Diary by the Raptor with the subject heading, 'Definitely the Last One!'

Those who remember the area fifty or more years ago tell of rabbits in plague proportions, with Sanna a heaving mass of furry bodies, and we remember families of them playing on the grass in front of the Ferry Stores when we first settled here twenty years ago.  More recently, there were so many on Canna that they had to be culled.  These days we hardly see any - hence the Raptor's despair.

Why the decline? We've never seen a myxomatosis rabbit here and, while the crofters never loved them, they certainly didn't exterminate them.  There have been suggestions: the rise of the pine marten; the arrival of the sea eagle; the decline of the wildcat.  Whatever the reason, they need to be cherished, as they were when they were first introduced into Britain from Roman times onwards - see bunnyhugga's history of rabbits here. Perhaps there's a business opening for someone to become our local warrener.

Many thanks to the Raptor for the picture.


  1. Little Green Boat11 May 2015 at 18:51

    Kilchoan is closer to Mull's eagles. If the raptor wants some new ones he is welcome to travel 25 miles and collect some spare ones from this croft . For the past decade - since the final mangy ones around here perished - we never spotted any in Kentra. Since Christmas time we do and not just 1 either . We predict another 9 very shortly. The prospect that even larger populations may appear by the end of the year will spur some serious veg. garden fence rebuilding .

  2. There certainly was myxomatosis. I remember as kids finding plenty of rabbits in a terrible state and my dad having to put them out of their misery.

  3. Rabbits have many enemies such as the buzzards, but VHD is a disease some know little about as the rabbits often die underground. (viral haemorrhagic disease, similar to ebola, but in rabbits)
    Jerry Slater

  4. Many thanks for the comments. Rabbits can be a pest, but it's good to know there are places where there are still some around. And, yes, rabbits with myxomatosis are a terrible sight.
    I had never heard of VHD. Many thanks, Jerry, for enlightening me.

  5. VHD wiped out virtually the entire rabbit population of Flores (Azores) this year.