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My name is Ellen & I volunteer for Bobtails Rabbit & Guinea Pig Rescue. My friend Caroline & I were fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to be able to help the most amazing little bunny last year & this is her story.

Friday 24th October 2014 - We had just been to collect our weekly veggie order for our many bunnies (some fosters, some ours). On the way home we realised that we’d forgotten to get eggs, so took a detour to get some from one of the local farms. We were driving past a large field when we saw a small black & white bunny on the grass verge, and the nearest houses were at least 1 ½ miles away. We stopped the car & crossed over to the verge where she was hoping to be able to catch her. As we approached she hopped back through a hole in the hedge into the field behind. It was obvious why she was on the verge as the field she was in was a harvested maize field with no natural forage available for her. As we approached her she hopped into a clump of brambles & although we could just see her, she wasn’t in a hurry to come back out again. After waiting a while we decided to try leaving some of the veggies that we had in the car for her. We looked around to see if we would figure out where she was spending most of her time & found a small area of fresh looking droppings. We left the veggies there & reluctantly left for the night

Saturday 25th October 2014 - We went back to the field hoping against hope that she might still be there & were delighted to find that the veggies we had left had all been eaten! We looked around, but couldn’t see any sign of her, so decided to leave some more veggies & hay in an old pet carrier to give her somewhere to shelter/eat, & to pop back again later to check. Just as we were leaving she hopped out of the brambles right in front of us. We then spent the next hour slipping & sliding across a muddy field trying to get close enough to catch her. Although she was obviously tame as we could get within about 3 ft. of her, she was just a little too timid to close that last gap, & kept zig-zagging backwards & forwards across the field just out of reach. As she was staying in same area we didn’t want to risk spooking her by chasing too much so left her to settle for the night.

Sunday 26th October 2014 – We went back in the morning, & the veggies had been eaten but there was no sign of the bunny. We looked into the copse behind the brambles & thought for one horrible moment that we’d found her body in a ditch, but it turned out to be a white milk bottle! Later that afternoon we rounded up a posse & went back for another try. We found her hiding in the undergrowth & spent almost 2 hours trying to catch her with people coming through the woods behind her little bramble patch. At one point we actually managed to get a net over her, but slipped in the mud & she got away – devastating doesn’t even begin to describe how that felt. At this point we decided to leave more food & call it quits for the day as having spooked her with the net there was no way that we were getting near her again that day.

Monday 27th October 2014 – I checked in the morning again & the veggies were all gone but there was no sign of the bunny. I went back in the afternoon to see if she was there & saw her darting back into the brambles again. As I was on my own there was nothing to be gained by chasing her, so I left more veggies for her to try to keep her coming back to the same spot.

Tuesday 28th October 2014 – I checked again in the morning & once again all of the veggies had been eaten – good news as I’m assuming it’s still the bunny that is eating it & that she is at least staying in the same area. At this point I really felt that we needed to try something else to catch her & tried calling RSPCA helpline to see if they could send out an inspector to set a humane trap for her. Unfortunately they advised me that unless she was sick or injured that they couldn’t help as they don’t deal with strays! I then spent the next few hours calling local rescues to see if anyone had a trap that I could borrow & finally found one at the Cat & Rabbit Rescue Centre at Sidlesham (half an hour’s drive away). They (understandably) asked for a £100 deposit for the trap & told me that they would simply hold my cheque & return it to me when I returned the trap. Money is very tight for me right now so I called Bobtails who were kind enough to offer to guarantee the deposit. I collected the trap that afternoon & stopped at the field on the way to work to set it up. I put all the hay from the old pet carrier inside it so it still smelt like the carrier that she was used to going into & covered it over with a blanket as the weather was starting to turn nasty. I filled it with veggies & left it – no sign of bunny today, so I was quite worried. I went back to the field around 8pm that evening on my way home from work to see if she was in the trap, but it hadn’t been sprung & all the veggies were still there. I was now starting to worry that she may not have made it & we were too late.

Wednesday 29th October 2014 – I went over just after 9am to check the trap. On approach I could see that the trap had been sprung &, given the area we were in, was fully expecting to find a large rat or a pheasant inside it. I tentatively pulled the blanket back to see the most gorgeous little bunny face looking back at me. I’m not ashamed to say that I broke down on the spot & sobbed! I just couldn’t believe that we’d done it & she was safe!! I picked up the trap, bunny still inside & put it in my car – no prisoners! When I was inside the car, all doors shut I transferred her into a pet carrier. I work for the most amazing vet & took her straight over there for a once over. Other than 4 very small ticks on her nose & one small tear in her ear she appeared to be in decent shape, & we estimated no more than about 6 months old.

The next worry was “is she pregnant?” - we had her vaccinated & went on baby watch from thereon in. She gave us a bit of a scare about 3 weeks later when she decided to build a nest, but the good news is that she wasn’t pregnant! Miracles do sometimes happen! Last Friday she was neutered & she is now convalescing in foster care. When recovered she will be looking for a 10 Star home – this little girl deserves the best, she’s been through hell already.

Now I’m sure that there are people who will be saying “but rabbits live in the wild” You are correct they do. However these are WILD rabbits. They have been born in the wild & raised by wild parents with all the wild survival instincts. Domestic rabbits DO NOT have the same instincts – they rely on us for food, water, shelter, affection - EVERYTHING.

If you would like a human parallel for this then try this one … There are people living in the Amazon rain forest. Would you like me to take you there, let you out & leave you?? Why not?? People live there don’t they??? You’ll be fine as soon as your instincts kick in …

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***After 20 plus years it is with great sadness that we have decided that the time is coming to bring Bobtails Rescue to an end. Bobtails will finally close 1st November 2022***

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