Help to identify the critter that killed my pet rabbit : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

We moved to the outskirts of Redding (Northern California) about a year ago. My husband built a wonderful big cage for our two pet rabbits, but around May, we started allowing them to roam free in the enclosed garden (6-foot chain link fence). We were very pleased seeing them enjoy running around with the quail, eating their clover and grass, etc. Last night at around 10PM we heard a strange noise (like the cry of a squirrel) coming from the outside. This morning, we found the body of my little Holland Lop by a tree, with no head and no blood stains anywhere. My other pet rabbit, which is a full size one, shows two wounds (like the scratches from a sharp object) separated about one inch, on his face by his nose.

Does anyone know which kind of animal could have done that??? What is the size of the animal that could have done it? Any suggestions on how to prevent a new attack and to protect my other pet without forcing it to live inside the house now that he has enjoyed so much his freedom?

Any suggestion or advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help..


-- M. Cristina Berisso (, November 03, 2001


Could be an owl. I lost several chickens to owls. I found them with there heads gone. The owl will then drink the blood and leave the rest of the body. One way to prevent this (if it is an owl) is put netting on the top of the enclosure. I have two dog kennels with netting over the top to raise young turkey and geese in. I move the kennels each day to give them new ground.

-- Tom S. (, November 03, 2001.

I would say an owl, as well. Owls go for the heads, for the brains, I've heard. The best way to foil an owl is to put your animals in at night, which shouldn't be too hard for pets, at least. My ducks are going in at night quite well right now but they don't always and it can be a real pain the hind quarters when they refuse, but I know the alternative is them being TV dinners for owls.

-- Jennifer L. (Northern NYS) (, November 03, 2001.

owls will tyake just the heads,, better put some netting over the top,, or in at least half of it,, if they had a place for cover, bet the would have survived

-- stan (, November 04, 2001.

Could it have possibly been a fox or even a weasel ??? I would call the game warden in your area. You might have a different name out west for them. They could probably tell you what it was. We have friends that live near Redding, CA...maybe you know them ??? Good Luck !!!!

-- Helena (, November 04, 2001.

Christina, the list of predators that could go over a 6 foot fence would take a lot of paper. As suggested above, close them in at night. There is a neat web page called "Predators FAQ" that is interesting and will give you some ideas but it all comes down to protecting your pets at night. A partial list of critters that easily can scale or waltz right through a chain link fence would be: fox, raccoons, weasel, spotted skunk, coyote, rat, marten, dogs, cats, opposum,mink,and, as mentioned above, owls. Add hawks,and ravens to the flying predators. And for the person above who has trouble putting their ducks away it may help to just feed them at night and they should run right in their night time quarters. Mine have never refused dinner! LOL Hope this helps. :)

-- Little Quacker (, November 04, 2001.

Owls, definetly!!!

-- Kate henderson (, November 04, 2001.

I was thinking owls too. We have an owl problem here....sounds like what they do. Good luck. I keep netting over my chicken yard just for this reason. I don't have loose rabbits...all in hutches..but I would guess its about all you can do..the net I mean. They are fast and strong!!!! Good luck, and I was very sorry to hear about your pets!!!

-- Jenny (, November 04, 2001.

I would like to thank all of you immensely for your suggestions. I should have replied a little earlier, but as soon as we were getting the first postings we started improving the security of the den. We work on this over the week-end and feel much more comfortable now with the new arrangement.

Please receive our gratitude for your wonderful help;

Cristina, Greg (husband) and "White S" (the rabbit that survived Friday night's attack).

-- M. Cristina Berisso (, November 04, 2001.

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