Outdoor Dangers to Rabbits


Rabbits are Prey Animals

Outdoor rabbits face many dangers from predators. They could be attacked by cats (both domestic and wild), dogs, wolves, and birds of prey such as hawks and falcons. Even raccoons attack rabbits. Rabbits are low on the food chain in the wild. They also can die simply from the stress of smelling or hearing a predator nearby – even if they aren’t attacked.


“Outdoor confinement should be for daytime exercise only and should be in a place very protected from predators and weather.

House Rabbit Resource Network
“Because most predators hunt at night, HRS recommends that an outdoor companion rabbit be brought indoors each evening. A sturdy, covered pen within the yard is usually enough to discourage day-time attacks, especially if humans are nearby”.

“Even more important, you MUST NOT just set your bunny free to run in your yard, no matter how protected you think it is. There has never been a fence that can keep a rabbit inside. They are masters at burrowing.
Also, there is not a fence that can keep out the many predators that will harm your bunny. Coyotes, hawks and raccoons cannot be kept out by a fence. Domestic rabbits have virtually no defenses against these predators. If you are not right there, it will be too late for you to save them from an attack or worse. You would not believe how many times a month that people tell me that their rabbit plays unsupervised in their yard.
Your rabbit may escape harm for years running in your back yard, but it is only a matter of time before he either gets away or has a problem”…

“If a rabbit must be housed outdoors, shelter should be provided from heat and cold, predators, and parasites”.

Rabbits & Pocket Pets -Outdoor Housing – …is not recommended. Rabbits are prone to heat stroke (anything over 85 degrees is life-threatening) and can be killed by raccoons, hawks, dogs, feral cats, fly strike and other predators.

“Hawk attack. Don’t tell me you don’t have hawks. Unless you live underground, you have hawks. Yes, even in the city. And no, your dog will not keep them away. Bushes or burrows are not adequate protection. Raptors are fast and fearless when on the hunt. Recent fires have forced many predators to alter their normal feeding habits and come into cities for food.”…

On these pretty warm days, many people like to let their rabbits play outside. The rabbits love it, but if you are not within a couple feet of your rabbit, a hawk can get them before you can even holler. A few minutes ago I was sitting on my back porch, and literally in 3 seconds a hawk body-slammed a blackbird, knocked it out of the air onto the ground, dove down and grabbed it and flew off. It was over before I could blink, 20 feet from my chair.

Free Roaming Rabbit Killed

If you live in a rural area and you keep your rabbit in your backyard, your bunny is susceptible to harm from practically all of these predators. In a suburban area, coyotes, bobcats and raccoons are still a problem. Even if you live in a city, raccoons can come up through storm drains and harass your bunnies. And let’s not forget that domesticated dogs and cats can also be rabbit predators!

Many birds of prey regularly hunt small animals, and they won’t distinguish between a wild creature and a beloved pet.

Domestic rabbits of today are from the common wild rabbit of Western Europe and once released into the environment have a very high mortality rate, generally not surviving more than six months to a year. Among their predators are coyotes, dogs, wild cats, people, and birds of prey. Others are killed by cars or succumb to stress, hunger, sickness, or injury.

Wild animals are not the only predators against domestic rabbits roaming loose in yards-
A pet rabbit was killed in its owner’s yard on Placer Street Wednesday afternoon after she let the animal outside briefly.

My dog killed a pet rabbit that got into my yard. Am I liable?

Santa Cruz Real Estate Attorney
No. Your neighbor should take better care of pets.

Heartbroken wrote at 2011-03-07 18:45:13
We found our adult male rabbit multilated in our sideyard, he has lived in the yard for years without problems. The new neighbors cat was sitting on the fence nearby, we also noted bloody cat paw prints surrounding our dead rabbit. I think there is enough evidence to suggest that the cat killed our beloved rabbit. I wish people would keep their cats indoors.

As a former city council member, Mankin knows owners are supposed to keep rabbits penned. But with 20 or more, that’s not easy. The rabbits dig, and they roam.
And despite a big fence in the way, roam they did into Billie Jean and GeorgeLehman’s yard………..
“How do you nicely say an older woman brutally murdered my 4-year-old’s pets? Is there a nice way to say, ‘Our bunnies are missing?’ Well, they are not missing; we know what happened to them, unfortunately,” said Dalaena Andersen.