Raccoons generally live in a forested area and near a water source. If you live on a farmstead or in a more rural area, you may wonder if your rabbits are in danger of predatory animals like raccoons. So do raccoons eat rabbits?
As opportunistic omnivores, raccoons don’t prey on rabbits. Raccoons generally try to avoid encountering rabbits if they aren’t hunting for food or have just eaten. A raccoon will eat a rabbit if there is a food shortage and the raccoon is hungry.
Let’s learn more about rabbits and raccoons.
Do Raccoons Prey on Rabbits?
A raccoon isn’t really a rabbit predator. Raccoons are omnivores and what they mainly eat depends on the environment they live in.
Raccoons eat plants and small animals, such as crayfish, insects, frogs, eggs, seeds, nuts, and fruit. They also catch other fish, birds, mice, chickens, amphibians, and reptiles.
Raccoons prefer to go after “easy-to-find food” like food waste inside trash bags or garbage cans, bird seeds, and pet food.
A raccoon is active during dusk and dawn, but they hunt mostly during the night. Since rabbits are crepuscular animals, a raccoon and wild rabbit may cross paths. This also means your pet rabbits are mostly at risk during the night if a curious and hungry raccoon comes into your yard.
So while a raccoon doesn’t actively hunt, kill, and eat rabbits, it will hunt and eat a rabbit if its natural food source is a problem and it is hungry. A hungry raccoon will also pull a rabbit out from its burrow and then kill and eat it.
Raccoons will also go after defenseless kits (baby rabbits) when the mommy rabbit is away. A raccoon can also go after a rabbit in a rabbit hutch or cage that isn’t secure.
Why Do Raccoons Eat Rabbits?
Raccoons are opportunistic predators, so hungry raccoons will eat anything it finds.
If a raccoon comes across a rabbit and catches it off guard, it is most often bad news for the rabbit. The rabbit will be the raccoon’s meal.
Ways to Protect Your Rabbits From Raccoons
If you are worried about raccoons hunting, attacking, and eating your rabbits, then keep your rabbits indoors if possible.
If you keep your rabbit outdoors, follow these tips to keep your rabbits safe and protect them from raccoons and other rabbit predators:
Method 1: Predator-Proof the Outside Rabbit Hutch
One way to keep your rabbits safe is to ensure they live in an enclosed habitat. Your rabbits should feel like they are outside, so the enclosure should be made from one-inch chicken wire or metal fencing.
Weld where the fencing and wire connect so a raccoon or other wild animal can’t breakthrough.
Burry the fencing or wire in the ground; this prevents raccoons from digging underneath to get to your yummy-tasting rabbits.
Method 2: Remove Thick Bushes and Cut Long Grass
Ensure there are no thick bushes and lots of foliage around the hutch or perimeter of your property.
Thick bushes provide an ideal opportunity for rabbits to hide and then catch your rabbits off guard.
Cutting long grass also ensures that raccoons can’t hide on your property.
Method 3: Supervise Rabbit Play and Exercise Time
If you spend time with your rabbit in your yard for exercise or playtime, never leave your rabbit alone.
Method 4: Install Motion-Sensor Lights
Installing motion-sensor lights around your property will scare raccoons away that mostly hunt during the night.
Method 5: Don’t Leave Pet Food or Water Bowls Around
If you feed your dogs or other animals outdoors, then make sure to remove any uneaten food to not attract a hungry raccoon.
Rather feed your dogs and other animals indoors if possible or make sure they come to eat when you put the food out for them.
Don’t leave water bowls outdoors for your pets as this attracts raccoons and other predators too.
Method 6: Fence Your Yard
Having a fence or wall around your property also helps to keep raccoons and other wild animals out and away from your beloved bunnies.
Ensure the raccoon can’t scramble up the fence or wall and place grating underneath the perimeter of the fence/wall so raccoons can’t dig and enter your property from below.
Are Rabbits Easy to Catch by Raccoons?
A rabbit is not an easy animal for a raccoon to catch. Rabbits run much faster than raccoons. Rabbits can run at a speed of 45 miles per hour while a raccoon can run at a maximum speed of 15 miles per hour.
Plus, rabbits run in a zig-zag motion to confuse the predator chasing them. Rabbits can also hop or jump 10 feet, so they easily outrun raccoons.
Rabbits are intelligent and very alert when they are out in the wild because they know they are prey animals. They also have great vision. So if a rabbit is aware that they are a target, then the rabbit will most surely outrun the raccoon.
Rabbits can also put up a good fight. They have strong hind legs that can deliver quite the kick, leading to injuries and broken bones.
Rabbits also have sharp teeth and claws, and once they’ve dug into the flesh of a raccoon, they will hold on, causing even more damage. However, rabbits also have sharp teeth and nails that can injure a rabbit.
Raccoons know there is a high chance they’ll be injured if they get into a fight with a rabbit, so it is better for the raccoon to forage for food in trash cans. However, a raccoon knows the odds are in its favor if it can catch a rabbit off guard.
Every fur parent wants to keep their rabbits safe and away from wild animals. No one wants to go feed their bunnies at dusk or dawn and discover their rabbit has become prey to a raccoon or other predator.
So don’t leave your rabbits alone in your yard, don’t leave food or water where it can attract raccoons, and make the hutch predator-proof.