If you live somewhere near the wilderness, you might’ve wondered whether do foxes eat rabbits.
Rabbits are prey animals. They have a lot of predators that will prey on them. Their predators include hawks, eagles, owls, snakes, wolves, dogs, cats, and raccoons.
With so many animals hunting them down, you may be wondering if foxes are part of the list. Can they prey on your pet? Do foxes eat rabbits?
Yes, foxes do eat pet rabbits and wild rabbits. We will look a little deeper at why they eat them, how they kill them, and ways you can protect your rabbit. Read along.
- 1 What Do Foxes Eat?
- 2 Why Do Foxes Eat Rabbits?
- 3 How to Protect Rabbits from Foxes
- 4 How Foxes Hunt Rabbits
- 5 How do Foxes Catch Such Fast Animals like Rabbits?
- 6 Do Foxes Eat Rabbit Heads?
- 7 Do Foxes Kill Rabbits for Fun?
- 8 Conclusion
What Do Foxes Eat?
Foxes may seem like carnivorous animals but they are, in fact, omnivorous. They feed on both plant matter and other animals. Their feeding also goes hand in hand with the four seasons.
For instance, during winter, foxes feed on small animals like squirrels and mice. In autumn, they love having fruits like apples, tubers, mushrooms, and even berries.
When it’s sunny during the summer, insects are in abundance. They will enjoy having caterpillars, beetles, grasshoppers, and crickets or small amphibians like frogs and newts.
In spring, they will prefer earthworms and bird eggs. They also eat fish and crabs found in shallow waters. In general, foxes will eat anything that is readily available.
Why Do Foxes Eat Rabbits?
Rabbits are a major source of food for foxes. Rabbit meat is highly nutritious. It contains vitamins like B12 and E, zinc, calcium, iron, and other good nutrients.
Rabbits are also fatty and full of proteins. This combination is vital for foxes, especially during periods when food is not easy to find. Eating rabbits keep their bodies with enough energy.
How to Protect Rabbits from Foxes
If you spot a fox near your rabbit’s enclosure or live in an area prone to foxes, you may be worried about your bunny’s safety. These are some ways you can protect your furry pet:
1. Secure enclosure
Foxes are afraid of people and if they see you near the enclosure, they will run away. But you will not be around all the time to scare them away so keep the rabbit in a secure enclosure.
Use strong chicken wire all around the enclosure without leaving the top because they can climb on it. Ensure that you bury the wire a few inches down because foxes can try to dig it out.
Use thick rabbit wire that they will not be able to chew on. Keep the enclosure securely locked at all times.
2. Scent repellents
Scent repellents produce an odor that will smell like another animal. Foxes will think that another animal has already taken over the territory. Because they don’t like confrontations, they will move away to a different location.
3. Noise deterrents
You can use noise deterrents with motion sensors. These will detect when a fox passes and produce a sound that will startle and scare them away.
4. Regular checks
Foxes are persistent. If they see a meal somewhere, they will come back again to get it. Always be on the lookout for your rabbit’s safety.
Check their enclosure regularly to make sure that it is still secure. Foxes may attempt to shake and chew on it. Rabbits also like chewing and they may start chewing on their cage if they are bored.
Provide your pet with enough chew toys and fix the enclosure if it shows signs of damage.
How Foxes Hunt Rabbits
Foxes are opportunistic predators. They can survive in different environments because they will eat anything they come across. They are also great hunters and that helps them to easily catch their prey.
Rabbits, on the other hand, are fast animals. Their survival instinct is to run away when in danger. They run swiftly while darting from side to side so as to lose predators, then quickly hide in underground burrows.
How do Foxes Catch Such Fast Animals like Rabbits?
Predators have adapted ways of smoothly catching prey just as the prey have adapted ways of escaping. Foxes have these features to help in a hunt:
Good hunters are patient and foxes are good hunters. They will stalk their prey patiently while waiting for the right time to pounce on them. They can also stay at burrow openings waiting for rabbits to come out.
Good hearing capability
Foxes have really good hearing senses. They can hear rabbits burrowing underground and locate their exact positions.
Strong legs and flexible ankles
Foxes have strong legs that help them keep up with a rabbit chase. Their ankles have good flexibility. This helps them when a rabbit abruptly changes direction. Foxes are able to keep following them without losing speed.
Sharp strong claws
If the rabbit runs into a hole, foxes do not stop there. They use their sharp claws to dig into the hole and try to reach the bunny. Foxes will then use the sharp claws to pull the poor rabbit out and feed on them.
Good night vision
Foxes have very good night vision. They can clearly spot bunnies if they come out to forage at night and make a meal out of them.
Do Foxes Eat Rabbit Heads?
Foxes eat all parts of a rabbit including rabbit heads. A rabbit is a small animal and a hungry fox will not just eat the head when the full body is fair game.
If a fox kills a rabbit and eats only the head, that is likely because they were distracted while eating.
Do Foxes Kill Rabbits for Fun?
Some animals like cats may kill their prey for fun because they are well fed and do not need them for food. Foxes do not kill prey, including rabbits, for fun. Foxes kill rabbits to eat them because they are hungry.
However, if a fox finds many rabbits together, they may kill the whole group. This can happen if the rabbits are in an enclosure, or if they have been cornered and have no way of escaping.
In this situation, the fox will kill all of them to come and feed on them later, or to take some home to their young ones. They will not be killing for the fun of it.
Foxes are natural predators and they hunt down both domesticated and wild rabbits. Foxes kill rabbits for food because they provide them with essential nutrients.
Although rabbits are fast, foxes can chase and eventually catch them.
Your pet’s safety is your responsibility. Seeing a fox alone can scare your bunny to death. Always ensure that your pet is well-protected in a secure enclosure at all times.