Florida neighborhood hopping with lionhead rabbit invasion

Estimated 60 to 100 rabbits are descendants of a group a backyard breeder illegally let loose when she moved away

A neighborhood in Florida has recently experienced an invasion of pet lionhead rabbits after some escaped from their outdoor enclosure. Over 300 rabbits are now freely hopping around the community. Residents are concerned about damage to gardens and trying to capture the cute intruders.

Rabbits on the Loose

  • Origin: Pet lionhead rabbits escaped from an outdoor enclosure in a backyard
  • Number: Over 300 spotted around the neighborhood
  • Breed: Lionhead – small breed with signature mane around head
  • Habits: Roaming gardens, yards, hiding under vehicles
  • Causing some damage to plants/gardens

Community Capture Efforts

  • Residents attempting to capture rabbits on their own with limited success
  • Using nets, boxes with food to lure rabbits
  • Captured rabbits dropped off at local shelter but cannot accept more
  • Shelter working to adopt out rabbits already taken in
  • Local pet rabbit rescue organization also helping with captures and adoptions

Concerns Over Rabbit Population Growth

  • Rabbits breed very quickly – pregnancy lasts just 30 days
  • One pair can produce several litters per year with average 4-12 babies per litter
  • Could be over 800 loose rabbits by the end of spring

Florida neighborhood hopping with lionhead rabbit invasion Fun Facts

Risks to Rabbits Roaming Free

  • Exposure to predators, diseases, cars and other hazards
  • Lack of consistent food/water, proper shelter

Solutions Being Explored

  • Working with wildlife agencies to orchestrate mass capture effort
  • Considering holding community rabbit adoption events
  • Educating on spaying/neutering pets to avoid situations like this

Looking After Pet Rabbits

  • Rabbits require lots of space with room to hop and play
  • Important to ‘rabbit proof’ any outdoor housing
  • Proper enclosure has shelter, shade, food, clean water
  • Need toys/activities to prevent boredom and stress
  • Diet should include hay, leafy greens and limited pellets

Considerations Before Getting a Rabbit

  • Pet rabbits live 8-12 years requiring long-term commitment
  • They need lots of attention and supervised playtime
  • Must bunny-proof your home by removing hazards
  • Vet care expenses for checkups, illness, spay/neuter
  • Require research into proper care before adoption

Frequently Asked Questions

Florida neighborhood hopping with lionhead rabbit invasion Faqs

Q: How did so many pet rabbits end up loose in the Florida neighborhood?

A: Over 300 lionhead rabbits escaped from an outdoor enclosure in a backyard. The enclosure was not properly secured allowing the rabbits to get free.

Q: What damage are the loose rabbits causing?

A: The rabbits are roaming through gardens and yards, causing some damage to plants. They have also been spotted hiding under vehicles.

Q: Why is capturing the rabbits so challenging?

A: The rabbits are very good at hiding and evading capture. Residents have had limited success luring them into nets or boxes despite setting traps with food. Plus there are so many rabbits now that shelters cannot accept more.

Q: How can the population continue growing if the rabbits aren’t contained?

A: Rabbits breed very quickly. One pair can produce several large litters per year, with 4-12 babies each. So even starting with 300 rabbits, there could be over 800 by spring.

Q: What are the main risks to these rabbits roaming freely?

A: The main risks are exposure to predators, diseases, cars and other hazards. Also lack of consistent access to food, clean water and proper shelter.

Q: What should someone consider before getting a pet rabbit?

A: Key considerations are the long 10+ year commitment, need to bunny-proof your home, required research into proper diet and care, expenses for vet visits and spay/neuter, and the attention and supervised playtime rabbits require.

The curious case of the Florida neighborhood overrun by escaped pet rabbits highlights the importance of proper outdoor enclosures and risks of unspayed/unneutered pets. As the community works to humanely capture and rehome the cute intruders, they serve as a lesson on carefully considering the needs of pets before making a long-term commitment. With a little luck and lots of carrots, there may be a happy ending and safe home for every lionhead rabbit on the hop.