As a pet rabbit owner, you may wonder whether there are predators that hunt and eat rabbits. And why predators would want to eat these fluffy animals. Rabbits are cute, super cuddly, and fluffy. However, in the wild and depending on where you live, your rabbit can become easy prey for a wide range of animals.
So what eats rabbits? Humans may not be the first answer that comes to mind, but rabbit protein features on many a lunch or dinner plate in the world. Then there are other animals, from cats, rats, snakes, foxes, wolverines, ferrets, and weasels to birds such as eagles, owls, and hawks, that prey on rabbits.
There are many more animals that eat rabbits, some of them live in the wild and others are closer to home than you might think. Stick around to learn about all the animals that prey on bunnies.
Top 24 Rabbit Predators
Here’s an in-depth list of the 24 predators that eat rabbits since they are actually easy prey and have few means of defending themselves:
Yes, we know. Possibly a shock if you own a pet rabbit or three, but there are many cultures in the world that kill rabbits for their meat and fur. Rabbit meat is a protein staple in many countries.
China is the country that consumes the most rabbit meat, and it is closely followed by South Korea and Egypt. Rabbit is also a popular addition to meals in Belgium, Italy, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. In many countries, rabbit meat is considered the same as a game and seen as a delicacy.
Compared to chicken, rabbit meat is an environmentally friendly option. It is even healthier and a leaner protein with a lot of benefits. It is low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium, making it a heart-healthy meal option.
Rabbit protein is rich in vitamins B12, E, and K; omega-3 fatty acids; and minerals like potassium, iron, phosphorous, zinc, and calcium.
As avid hunters, cats do hunt and kill rabbits; however, they don’t generally make a meal out of them. Baby rabbits, or kittens, are particularly vulnerable since they give off “mouse” vibes.
It is unhealthy for a cat to eat a bunny as they can contract tularemia. Also known as rabbit fever, tularemia is an infectious bacterial disease that many rabbits have and if your cat eats your bunny, it can get infected. The disease can be fatal if left untreated.
Likewise, a cat bite can be fatal to your rabbit as cat saliva contains harmful bacteria. If the wound is not properly treated, a bacterial infection can set in, resulting in death to your bunny.
There are certain dog breeds that have been bred to hunt and kill rabbits. These are Weimaraners, fox terriers, Basset hounds, beagles, redbone coonhounds, and Jack Russel terriers.
If you have one of these breeds in your house, it’s best to not consider adopting a bunny as a pet as it’s likely to be a recipe for disaster with a bunny on the menu.
While other breeds of dogs such as collies, Labradors, and golden retrievers are more compatible with pet bunnies, dogs are part wolf and have a natural hunter’s instinct. It’s thus recommended to not leave your Lab and bunny alone together, no matter how cute the videos on TikTok make this seem.
Yes, really. Rodents are attracted to the unique scent that rabbits have. Rats only attack rabbits and their offspring when they are smaller and more vulnerable than the rats.
Larger rabbits are generally safe from rat attacks as these rabbits are big enough to fight off rodents.
Rabbits aren’t an easy meal for raccoons. Bunnies run faster, for one, and they can hide in their burrows too.
However, raccoons are omnivores and eat anything that is close by. So if a bunny is nearby, a raccoon will hunt and kill it. However, they are scavenger animals so they’ll only scavenge a bunny if it’s already been dead for a while and most of it eaten by another animal.
As expert hunters, foxes have a diverse diet. They prefer to prey on small animals, including rabbits.
While you may think that your long-eared buddy is safe from this predator, you might be wrong. If you live in an area with a large fox population, chances are that your bunny is at risk.
Foxes are great at entering a rabbit hutch and slaughtering all the young kits, so take care.
Snakes eat any kind of meat since they are carnivores. So yes, snakes eat rabbits. They can either swallow a rabbit whole or constrict it to kill the bunny.
Larger rabbits are also not safe. Pythons, boas, and anacondas which are all large snakes can easily swallow an adult rabbit whole.
Interestingly, rabbits are immune to snake venom, and medical facilities use rabbit’s blood to create antivenom medication.
While wolves don’t primarily eat rabbits as part of their diet, they do hunt and eat bunnies as a meal supplement, especially when there is a shortage of their primary food source―deer.
Young wolves may also use rabbits as a way to learn the hunt as bunnies are agile prey for wolves to practice on.
Belonging to the cat family, an ocelot can be found in Arizona and Texas in the U.S. as well as in some parts of Central and South America, and they love catching rabbits.
Ocelots primarily hunt alone, but they can hunt in groups as well. Rabbits are mostly defenseless animals and are easy targets for these carnivores.
The big cats in the cat family, like lions, leopards, bobcats, cougars, and tigers, also eat rabbits since their diet revolves around meat.
These predators also mainly supplement their diet with rabbits as an appetizer or dessert, but if there is food scarcity, rabbits may become their main meal.
Other cats, like the puma and cheetah, prefer eating rabbits because of their small size.
Rabbits form the main part of a lynx’s diet. Also part of the cat family, lynxes are found in Canada, Alaska, and Washington.
Part of the dog family, coyotes are native to North America. As omnivores, hunters, and scavengers, they eat a variety of food, but they hunt small mammals like rodents and rabbits.
Wolverines are mammals, belonging to the weasel family. They prey on rabbits, which are especially vulnerable to wolverines.
These larger mammals like to dig for their food, so they can easily get to rabbits who may be hiding in their network of underground burrows.
Also a wild dog but native to Australia, dingoes are carnivores. They mainly feed on rabbits but other small animals also form part of their diet.
Small carnivorous animals, ferrets also hunt and eat rabbits. And they eat almost all of the rabbit―the meat and the bones.
A short-tailed weasel, a stoat also preys on bunnies. Hunting in groups, they rely on diversion to trick and catch rabbits.
A weasel is a small carnivore native to North America, North Africa, Central and Western Europe, and Asia. One of their main sources of food is rabbits.
Both animals―rabbits and weasels―are small, so you might be wondering how this small animal hunts another small animal.
The answer: easily. Weasels like to hunt in packs, and this gives them the upper hand. After all, there is strength in unity.
While badgers mainly eat insects and worms, they do feast on small mammals like rabbits too.
Grizzlies will eat pretty much anything that crosses their path, whether it is a human or a rabbit, even though bears mainly depend on fish as their diet staple.
Rabbits are food sources for both the bald eagle and the golden eagle. For the golden eagle with its excellent eyesight, rabbits are easy prey.
This bird of prey also eats rabbits. For the great horned owl who hunts at night, rabbits are the main part of their diet.
Crows will mostly prey on baby bunnies when the opportunity to do so presents itself.
Depending on the species, hawks may prey on small mammals such as rabbits. Female hawks, especially, will hunt and eat bunnies; male hawks may stick to just eating other small birds.
Small lizards are unlikely to feed on rabbits. However, medium-sized lizards, like the Monitor lizard, and large lizards, such as the Komodo dragon and Iguana, are game eaters and hunt bunnies.
Possums are mainly scavengers so they won’t kill and eat a bunny. However, they may attack and kill it, and scavenge after another predator has helped themselves to most of the dead rabbit.
The Final Prey
Rabbits are not only prey to wild animals; domestic animals hunt, kill, and eat bunnies too.
If you have a pet cat, ensure your rabbit is never vulnerable or alone with the cat. And depending on the breed of the dog, your pet bunny may also not be safe.
Keeping your bunny safe is a priority and you can easily do that by ensuring they don’t roam around in your garden where a neighborhood cat, fox, owl, or another predator will jump at a tasty meal.