Recently, I’ve been tweeting about my backyard bunnies and their antics. I’ve been putting a wildlife mix on the patio at certain times and they’ve been happy to partake of it. This has brought a smile to my wife and I as we know the numbers are against rabbits surviving even their first year. To have two bunnies in our backyard we feel blessed but we also accept our responsibility for keeping them wild for their own protection.
Since we first spotted them, they’ve gone from running and hiding under our fence every time the back door is opened to moving a comfortable distance away from us. They no longer look terrified to hear or see us but they don’t completely trust us. This is a very good thing and I want to keep it that way. At this point, if I wanted to, I could probably “train” at least one of them to come to me for a baby carrot. I will not do this and let me explain why.
The Dangers Of Domestication
Too often, even the most responsible backyard landlords get to thinking they always have the best interest of their visitors in mind so what’s the harm of endearing themselves to them. They allow the animal to gradually build trust until they can create their own version of a petting zoo. They think it’s cute but it can be deadly for the animal. Why? Just because they don’t mean any harm toward the animal, that doesn’t mean every human the poor animal might trust is worthy of that trust. There are many youngsters and adults who might think rabbit would make an excellent dinner or worse. I would never be able to forgive myself if my actions hand delivered the animal to one who meant them harm. Could you?
So, even though one of my rabbits is actually coming down to my patio and coming up to my back door to see when the carrots are coming, I won’t indulge him. I am content to be able to watch them graze and play in my backyard and enjoy my offering without making a trusted connection. I will continue to put the food out for them and the others but I will make no attempt to condition them to accept anything directly from me. If he wants to come running after I put food out, that’s perfectly fine.
Let Me Hear From You
Do you haven any animals in your backyard that you’ve been tempted to try to domesticate? Let me hear from you. I totally understand how difficult it can be when we spend as much time as we do making sure they are taken care of to not cross the line and try to make them our pets.
BTW, I’m taking video and hope to be able to post a YouTube video in the near future of my bunnies in the backyard. I’ll let you know when it’s posted.