Rabbits are known for their long ears and strong hind legs that they use to hop around. They have an excellent sense of smell, and you can often see their little noses twitching as they smell their surroundings. They are cute mammals, and many people keep them as pets, but wild rabbits are an excellent source of nutrients for many predators. These defenseless critters are no match for many animals that eat rabbits in the wild.
This article details eleven animals that include rabbits as a regular part of their diet.
11 Animals That Eat Rabbits
Wolves are large members of the dog family. There are seven species of wolves, all of which are carnivorous. While wolves are known to take down larger prey like deer, they often supplement their diet with smaller prey.
This includes rabbits. While rabbits are fast, wolves can run up to 35 miles per hour, and once a wolf catches a rabbit, the rabbit is done for.
Coyotes are medium-sized members of the dog family and are closely related to wolves. They can run up to 40 miles per hour and have very good vision and sense of smell. Coyotes are omnivores and eat just about anything they can get their paws on, including small prey animals like rabbits.
Coyotes are great at stalking rabbits and pouncing on them without the rabbit being aware it is being hunted.
Foxes are small to medium members of the dog family. There are twelve species of foxes. While they are technically omnivorous, foxes have excellent hearing and are excellent hunters.
Foxes tend to hunt rabbits at night, quietly stalking them until they can pounce on them. Foxes usually aim for the head or neck, killing the rabbit instantly.
There are over 60 different eagle species in the world, all of which are carnivorous. They have excellent vision and can spot prey on the ground from high in the air. In areas like North America, where rabbits are abundant, they are a favorite food source for eagles, especially bald and golden eagles.
Rabbits are the perfect size for an eagle because they are big enough to make a substantial meal but small enough to be easily clutched in the talons and carried away.
Snakes are scaly, cold-blooded reptiles. There are over 3,000 different snake species in the world. Some are venomous, and others are not, but almost all of them are known to catch prey and swallow it whole.
This prey includes rabbits. In North America, rabbits are a favorite meal for bull snakes, rattlesnakes, Easter brown snakes, and more.
Badgers are aggressive omnivorous mammals that will eat pretty much anything they can get their sharp claws on. This includes fruit, bird eggs, mice, and rabbits.
Badgers are nocturnal, meaning they hunt at night. They use their large claws to dig into the ground to snag sleeping rabbits in their burrows.
Hawks are predatory birds and can be found on every continent except Antarctica. They have incredibly sharp beaks and talons perfect for catching prey and tearing into flesh. These excellent hunters sit on perches or fly in the air, using their keen vision to spot unsuspecting rabbits.
Then, they swoop down, grab it with their talons, and continue to stab the rabbit with its talons until it is dead. Hawks can swallow the rabbit whole if it is small enough or tear it into pieces if needed.
Weasels may be small and cute, but they are actually very active predators. These small carnivores hunt small mammals, including small rabbits.
Rabbits do not have any form of self-defense to prevent the weasel from killing them. The weasel will break the rabbit’s neck with a swift, strong bite to kill it before devouring it.
9. Domesticated Cats
Domesticated cats are popular pets in many parts of the world. Many cat owners allow their cats to wander outdoors, which can spell danger for small animals like birds, mice, and rabbits. Cats are natural hunters, even domesticated cats.
Cats are notorious for discovering rabbit nests and killing the babies inside. They can also chase down and kill adult rabbits. They don’t always eat the rabbits.
Sometimes they leave them on the doorstep as a special surprise for the cat owner.
Owls are primarily nocturnal birds of prey that hunt a variety of prey, including rabbits. Owl species range in size, but almost all of them include rabbits in their diet. The smaller owls, like screech owls, will hunt small baby rabbits, and the larger owls, like great horned owls, can hunt fully grown rabbits.
Owls have keen vision and hearing and use their hunting prowess to swoop down from their perches to snag a rabbit in their sharp talons.
Bobcats are common wild cats found in North America. These felines have short, bobbed tails, which is where the name comes from. These predators are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dusk.
This is when you might find them out and about hunting for prey, including wild rabbits. Bobcats are ambush and stalking predators. This means they either lie in wait for a rabbit to get close enough to pounce on, or they quietly stalk the rabbit until they are close enough to pounce on it.