Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) are small mammals with a high metabolic rate that belong to the Leporidae family. Since they eat grass, twigs, clovers, barks, and other plant material, rabbits are almost at the bottom of the food chain, which is why they are very often the prey of predators.
Their meat is a low-calorie food rich in proteins and minerals, so it’s no wonder many animals eat rabbits.
The predators that we list in this article feed on wild rabbits. Pet rabbits are not so much in danger simply because they spend most of their lives protected indoors.
But if you often let your bunnies out to the garden to play, eat or run, they will become exposed to danger, and depending on your environment, a hawk, fox, or even a snake can kill them. we will mention the 20 most common rabbit predators.
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But what they like to eat the most and what comprises the biggest part of their diet is small mammals such as rabbits, hares, and rodents.
Whether it is the red fox, Arctic fox, fennec fox, or any of the remaining 20 fox varieties, all of them stalk their most common prey, the rabbit, until they’re close enough to jump on it without giving it time to escape. Being small to medium-sized animals, foxes also like rabbits because they are often sufficient for more than one meal.
Eagles are probably the most famous representatives of birds of prey, a group of birds whose diet almost totally consists of animal flesh, taken alive or dead.
Part of their raw cuisine is rabbits because eagles can be found in all corners of the world, and their diet is pretty varied (fish, reptiles, birds, frogs, other small mammals, domestic livestock, etc.).
Eagles are equipped with superior hunting abilities, with which they can easily catch rabbits, known as fast and agile animals.
They have the best eyesight of all birds of prey, which helps them spot a rabbit from a far away. But maybe even more impressive is their dive speed. For example, the golden eagle, the second fastest bird in the world, can reach a speed of more than 150 mph (240 km/h).
Native to North America and some parts of Central America, the coyote is one of the biggest natural enemies of the rabbit.
The majority of coyotes’ diet consists of rabbits and other small animals such as squirrels, mice, and hares.
An additional problem for rabbits is coyotes’ working hours! Although mostly nocturnal animals, coyotes also like to hunt at dawn and dusk, which are the periods of the day when rabbits are most active.
Known as relentless and bloodthirsty hunters, wolves are pack animals. Their most common prey are large ungulates such as deer, elk, moose, caribou, and bison. Since these animals are larger than wolves, they have to hunt them together.
But despite wolves’ coordinated attacks, healthy and strong animals actually very often manage to escape.
Snakes are carnivorous reptiles that can eat animals much wider than them due to their ability to open their mouth at an angle of 150 degrees and swallow them.
However, they primarily prey on small animals such as mice, rabbits, birds, frogs, insects, lizards, and eggs of many species.
Snakes kill by suffocating their prey, injecting it with poison, or, more rarely, eating it alive. Small and baby rabbits and rodents are especially in danger because snakes of all sizes target them.
However, bigger snakes such as boas, pythons, anacondas, and rattlesnakes will swallow an adult rabbit whole like it’s nothing.
A medium-sized bird of prey, the hawk, is a silent killer of the forest that flies between the treetops and darts down to grab its prey. After catching it, the hawk slowly but surely tires out and kills the prey with the constant pressure of its powerful talons.
Their prey is mainly other birds, but as an animal at the top of the food chain, the hawk also hunts rabbits, squirrels, and other rodents.
Badgers are omnivorous animals with a diverse diet that includes worms, small insects, fruits, nuts, and meat (even animal carcasses).
The good thing for rabbits is that badgers mostly survive on worms.
However, badgers have an extremely developed sense of smell and up to 2-inch (5 cm) long claws, thanks to which they excel at digging. This expertise is terrible news for rabbits who hide in networks of underground tunnels, which are very important for their survival.
Life for a young bunny can really be harsh sometimes because even an animal as small as a weasel will be after you.
Weasel’s small size is actually an advantage when it comes to hunting: short legs and long but slender body enables it to penetrate the burrows and warrens where its prey is most vulnerable.
And to make matters worse, rabbits, along with mice, voles, and other small rodents, are weasel’s favorite food.
The ferret is another small predator that likes to feast on rabbits. In fact, ferrets appreciate their meat so much that, in the 19th century, they were introduced in New Zealand to limit the rabbit population.
Ferrets are carnivorous animals belonging to the Mustelidae family like the previously mentioned weasels. Still, they are bigger than weasels, so they also prey on and eat adult rabbits.
And if you thought things couldn’t get worse, ferrets are crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk, just like rabbits.
You may not think of lizards as huge threats to rabbits since their natural ranges do not overlap much. But you should remember that most lizard species are animals that like to devour meat.
The largest lizards in the world, the Komodo dragons, eat buffaloes and deer, for example. Therefore, whether they are in the wilderness or captivity, if given a chance, lizards will definitely eat a rabbit.
Probably the internet’s most beloved animal, domesticated cats are all too often thought of as cute animals that love to play and sleep. In the millions of their adorable photos, the innate instinct for hunting and killing they possess has been lost.
If you’ve ever had the chance to see how good they are at hunting mice, you’ll know what we’re talking about. So, it is a surprise to no one to hear that cats kill and eat rabbits.
And while domesticated cats don’t have to think about where their next meal will come from, this is a daily occupation for wild species in the cat family.
Whether it is apex predators such as lions, tigers, and leopards or smaller species like ocelots, bobcats, and lynx, which are just below the aforementioned big cats on the food chain, all wild cats eat rabbits.
For some of these prey animals, rabbits will be just a snack, but others will sleep with their bellies full after consuming that high-protein treat.
Yet another member of the Mustelidae family and yet another fierce carnivore whose bulk of the diet consists of rabbits, hares, and small rodents. Stoats are smaller than ferrets but larger than weasels and share their body type.
They will not hesitate to attack rabbits much bigger than themselves.
The long list of natural enemies of the rabbit even includes the bear. That does not seem like a fair fight since bears weigh an average of 200 kilos and rabbits hardly 1 kilo.
However, rabbits use the colossal weight difference to their advantage and, more times than not, easily escape bear attacks.
But bears are chance eaters that will eat anything available to them. So, from time to time, when the opportunity presents itself, bears will hunt and eat a rabbit or eat an already dead one.
Owls are exceptional hunters thanks to their excellent eyesight, sensitive and directional hearing, and the ability to fly without making almost any noise due to the unique features of their wings and feathers. Hunting without making a sound is especially important because rabbits have very sensitive hearing.
These features are a severe threat to rabbits, who, although nimble, often do not even get the opportunity to try to escape, thanks to the owl’s stealth-preying abilities.
Wolverine is a vicious fighter and the largest animal in the weasel family.
These ferocious omnivores are most famous for their claws that not only help them fight back larger predators but dig deep into the ground and cause havoc in other animals’ nests.
And like that isn’t enough, fun-sized mammals such as mice, squirrels, and rabbits are at the top of their food preference.
Photos of dogs wagging their tails, running around in circles, or adorably playing with baby humans had a similar effect on us as the internet fame of cats.
We all too often forget that dogs have descended from wolves. And we all know how dangerous wolves can be.
So yes, domesticated dogs do eat rabbits. Our beloved pets can’t run away from their instincts and will hunt and consume rabbit meat and bones if the opportunity arises.
Dingoes are Australia’s most famous canines and its largest terrestrial carnivores.
Australia’s (and New Guinea’s) indigenous marsupials, such as kangaroos and wallabies, used to be their primary food source.
Nowadays, though, dingoes are infamous for preying upon rabbits. They have the introduction of the wild species onto the continent in 1859 and the rabbits’ high reproduction rate to thank for this.
Adapted to life in urban environments, raccoons are famous for their scavenging skills and omnivorous diet.
For most of these masked bandits, rabbits are not on the menu because they can survive by feeding on human waste, pet food, fruits, berries, crayfish, frogs, nuts, and small birds, which are some of their most preferred foods.
But raccoons are opportunists, and when they are hungry, they will attack, catch and eat rabbits, especially baby rabbits, which are slower and less skilled than adults.
Whether it is hunter-gatherer tribes who still live the “old way” or “modern” humans who hunt rabbits because their meat is a delicacy, we like to eat them.
You’ve probably heard about the delicacy part, but did you know that rabbit meat is healthier and outperforms beef, chicken, and pork in many categories, such as cholesterol, protein, and minerals?
We have gone over 20 different animals that eat rabbits. Being the primary consumer, i.e., consuming only plants, rabbits will always be hunted and eaten by a lot of predators who, as we’ve seen, don’t even have to be bigger than them.
The good thing for the survival of their species is that they reproduce rapidly and abundantly. The gestation period is about one month long, the female gives birth to between four and eight kits per litter, and they can have as many as eight litters per year.
If there are still unanswered questions regarding this topic, please leave a comment.
Q: What animal would kill a rabbit and leave it?
A: Humans don’t kill rabbits just for their meat. Sometimes, they hunt rabbits for sport or their fur.
Cats are hunters famous for their affinity for catching and playing with their prey. While playing, they will kill the animal but not always eat it. The same is largely true for dogs.
Possums mostly eat fruit, grains, insects, and scavenge. From time to time, when their and rabbits’ paths cross, if they feel endangered, these shy animals will kill but not eat rabbits.
Q: What animals eat rabbit poop?
Dogs are curious animals that eat rabbit poop because of the poop’s interesting aroma and appearance or nutritional deficiencies in their diet.
You may be surprised to learn this, but rabbits eat their own excrement. They have small intestines and weak digestive systems, which don’t allow them to take all the nutrients from the food the first time they eat it, so they have to consume the poop to get the rest.