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Bunnies gone wild
April 2, 2010 9:20 PM   Subscribe

Bunnies gone wild! There are rabbits overrunning the University of Victoria (BC, Canada) campus. For some it's fun and facebookable. For the University, it's a problem. They've tried humane methods of control. Now they may have to turn to more conventional means.
posted by kneecapped (90 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
When Victoria General was overrun with roughly 600 rabbits about a decade ago, it hired a sharpshooter. Today, only about a dozen rabbits surround the hospital, achieved by selective culling. In late 2008, the City of Kelowna also used sharpshooters to cull rabbits in the resort centre.

Myself, my springer spaniel, and my Henry .22 would like to come help.
posted by Netzapper at 9:23 PM on April 2, 2010


rabbit proof fence?
posted by nathancaswell at 9:26 PM on April 2, 2010


rabbit proof fence?

It doesn't work because the rabbits live everywhere on campus. They're kind of like Tribbles.

Here's a pretty useful summary (featuring Hudson Mack!)

A cull seems like the best idea - it's just an unmanageable situation. The rabbits aren't healthy (grass doesn't provide them enough nutrients) and as an invasive species they're moving beyond UVic into surrounding woodlands, heritage gardens and subdivisions.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:34 PM on April 2, 2010


Rabbit stew with prunes (Chez Panisse)

Braised rabbit leg in vinegar sauce (Prune Restaurant; actually had this one there, it was a good food memory)

Saddle of rabbit in applewood-smoked bacon with caramelized fennel and fennel oil (French Laundry)

Portuguese rabbit hunter style (Leite's Culinaria)

Rabbit ragu with pappardelle (nytimes 2006)
posted by polymodus at 9:35 PM on April 2, 2010 [17 favorites]


You could always shoot 'em from the bell tower...
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:35 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Foxes?
posted by BrotherCaine at 9:38 PM on April 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Living in Arizona, I'm used to jackrabbits and cottontails and was really surprised to see that these look like the bunnies they sell at the pet store. And they actually come up to students and let them feed and hold them? Every rabbit I've ever seen in the wild bolts as soon as you look at it. Are these just weird friendly bunnies?
posted by mollywas at 9:39 PM on April 2, 2010


Be vewwy vewwy quwiet. I'm hunting wabbits.
posted by XMLicious at 9:42 PM on April 2, 2010


Twenty years ago that university turned me down for graduate studies there with a personalized yet very snotty rejection letter.

Today I have my revenge.
posted by LarryC at 9:46 PM on April 2, 2010 [23 favorites]


Solution: Top hats.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:52 PM on April 2, 2010 [9 favorites]


This is news? There have been rabbits overrunning that campus for as long as I can remember; my good friends went there 15 years ago. The rumour was at some point they were do some testing on the bunnies, some activists freed them, and the population went completely haywire. And somehow these bunnies mutated and made their way across the water to to overrun UBC as squirrels, afraid of no one and gnawing little circular holes in every trash can. It wasn't until my third year I finally figured out where those holes came from.
posted by cgg at 9:55 PM on April 2, 2010


these look like the bunnies they sell at the pet store.

From the UVic website: "UVic is well-known for its feral rabbits, which are pets or descendants of pets that were abandoned on campus by members of the community."

Those plain brown rabbits of genus Sylvilagus you see in Arizona and almost everywhere else in the USA are native to North America; the problem they're having in BC is with introduced feral European rabbits, not wild Canadian rabbits.

A friend of mine who does rabbit rescue found one of her bunnies hopping around the neighborhood. She could tell it was an abandoned house rabbit because it's black. Cottontails come in one color: brown.
posted by Electric Elf at 9:58 PM on April 2, 2010


Living in Arizona, I'm used to jackrabbits and cottontails and was really surprised to see that these look like the bunnies they sell at the pet store. And they actually come up to students and let them feed and hold them? Every rabbit I've ever seen in the wild bolts as soon as you look at it. Are these just weird friendly bunnies?

With regards to their appearance, they're probably mostly descended from pet rabbits. I know that rabbits were a popular illegal pet during my schooling. And, of course, when you get busted for having the rabbit, you have to get rid of it. Easiest way? Let it go in the Quad.

As for tameness... I mean no offense, but have you spent much time hanging out outdoors on a college campus? All of the animals are so used to getting fed that nearly all of them will at least ignore people, if not walk right up to them and beg. Add to this the fact that pretty much nobody molests them (for fear of looking like a jerk to their friends), and you pretty quickly get "tame" rabbits, squirrels, pigeons, stray dogs and cats, rats, and raccoons. This is compounded if it's an urban school, so that the greens of the campus are the only real habitat available to the animals (or so that they're substantially cut off from other suitable habitats).
posted by Netzapper at 10:06 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sylvilagus used to live in scrub areas surrounding UVic when I was a boy 30 years ago - they would run away and were certainly not tame. The scrub areas have been turned into subdivisions (50 years ago the Garry Oak meadows where UVic is today were home to skylarks) and only feral European rabbits remain.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:07 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I grew up a 5 minute drive from UVic and did an undergraduate degree there from 93-97. The rabbits were a problem then - it was rumoured that someone across the street from the water tower on Sinclair Rd. let their pets go there - it was the first area they colonized. It has become worse ever since.

Whenever I visit home and run one of my regular routes which goes straight through campus, I can't help but be shocked at how much worse the problem has become - in the 90s there were lots, sure, but not as tame and not nearly as prevalent. They also seem to have interbred with the wild rabbit population there - not sure if that's possible, but there do seem to be hybrid ones as well. And, they're completely tame now. I never remembered being able to get close to them and nobody fed them when I was at school there, but I saw a few girls on a blanket in October feeding a large group of them with a bag of peeled carrots - the rabbits were piling on top of them. As one of the articles says, they're probably very malnourished due to their increased numbers and a good deal of increased development on campus.

There are also few predators - no coyotes on Vancouver Island, and few owls or raptors seem to have caught on. I always found that a bit odd - you'd think the eagles would have set up shop for good.

I don't see a solution - they're stuck with them. They multiply like rabbits, after all. There's no way they could possibly kill or remove a breeding population. They couldn't do it when there was 1/100th of them.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:08 PM on April 2, 2010


Yeah, rabbits have one purpose on earth an that's to be eaten. It fills me with dread, the righteous howling that goes up every time talk of slaughtering the little buggers comes up, but it's past time.

The hawks and owls will suffer a bit, but it's for the best.

Also, cottontails are native to BC but there are no native rabbits on the Island. And even if there were, they wouldn't dig holes like the old world species do... not that the domesticates can remember how. They just dig abortive little pits everywhere.
posted by klanawa at 10:09 PM on April 2, 2010


This is compounded if it's an urban school, so that the greens of the campus are the only real habitat available to the animals (or so that they're substantially cut off from other suitable habitats).

I'd have to disagree in the case of UVic. There are plenty of woodlands surrounding UVic, as well as spread throughout the city. These green corridors stretch all the way to rural areas, and provide a useful route for cougars to come into town from up Island (there's at least one or two cougar sightings in urban Victoria every year).

These rabbits can't live in the woods - there is no food for them to eat. They stay on campus because they can get by on grass from lawns, and food from foolish but well-meaning humans.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:11 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's adorable.
posted by thescientificmethhead at 10:17 PM on April 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Also, cottontails are native to BC but there are no native rabbits on the Island.

Interesting. The Eastern Cottontail was apparently introduced in the 60s. From here:

http://archive.ilmb.gov.bc.ca/risc/pubs/tebiodiv/hares/hacoml20-01.htm

2.3 Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus

The Eastern Cottontail has expanded its range into the Lower Mainland from introduced populations in Washington State (Cowan and Guiget 1965). Sylvilagus floridanus alacer, originally native to Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Louisiana, was introduced into western Washington in 1927 and 1931 (Nagorsen 1990). Forbes (pers. comm.) reports that cottontails are common in the Lower Fraser Valley along dikes and in agricultural areas from Tsawassen to Chilliwack. S. f. mearnsi, native to southern Quebec, Ontario, and eastern and north-central United States, became established on southern Vancouver Island from a release near Sooke in 1964 (Nagorsen 1990). Since then it has spread northward along the eastern side of Vancouver Island. Presently the Eastern Cottontail is common as far north as Campbell River, and some are present as far as Sayward (Doyle, pers. comm.).

posted by jimmythefish at 10:21 PM on April 2, 2010


Call me a knuckledragging American, if it do please ya, but given my own pursuit of cheap eats and clothing as an undergraduate, the solution seems obvious.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:23 PM on April 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


calicivirus might work
posted by evil_esto at 10:24 PM on April 2, 2010


I can't believe Sinclair Road was mentioned on MetaFilter
posted by KokuRyu at 10:27 PM on April 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


As for tameness... I mean no offense, but have you spent much time hanging out outdoors on a college campus? All of the animals are so used to getting fed that nearly all of them will at least ignore people, if not walk right up to them and beg.

For some reason, this seems to be untrue at my university, but I can recall squirrels running up to my family while we were touring UC Berkeley's campus a couple of years ago. That makes sense.
posted by mollywas at 10:35 PM on April 2, 2010


Contrarily, rabbits have somewhat mysteriously vanished from New York's Central Park.
posted by dhartung at 10:54 PM on April 2, 2010


Lets plant some carrot gardens, set up regular food dispersals, and just Let This Happen. Who doesn't wan't to go outside and be surrounded by cute little pet bunnies?
posted by floam at 11:13 PM on April 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Lets plant some carrot gardens, set up regular food dispersals, and just Let This Happen.

Okay, so, when they increase in population with the new food supply, and then the new food runs out... what then? You plant more gardens? What about after they're at the carrying capacity of those, too? How much of Victoria are you willing to cede to providing food for an invasive, non-native species of fluffy rat?

Without at least one predator, any population grows until it totally exhausts the resources it requires. And then it dies back, with all the concomitant problems of plague and suffering. Despite Agent Smith's claims in The Matrix, this property of expansion is not unique to humans.

About the only predator you can expect to thrive consistently in a city is the human. While it's not particularly sporting to catch and euthanize them, it is predation of a sort. And it's clearly necessary.

Who doesn't wan't to go outside and be surrounded by cute little pet bunnies?

Well, me. A monoculture of anything, from rabbits to blackberries, offends my sensibilities.

And besides, if they follow your proposal, you won't be surrounded by cute little pet bunnies. You'll be walking on a carpet of emaciated, starved rabbit corpses. Not so cute, really.
posted by Netzapper at 11:37 PM on April 2, 2010 [8 favorites]


As I was videotaping the rabbits, a couple of them nosed, totally tame, right up to the camera. They are indeed utterly endearing. But the burrows are a tripping hazard

Oh no! Not a tripping hazard!
posted by delmoi at 12:22 AM on April 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


I'd be happy to see some relatively cuddly creatures such as rabbits and moles move into town in some numbers and fuck up a few monoculture lawns in a few monoculture suburbs. It should be normal to see a rabbit on your lawn or hopping across the street. (We get hedgehog mothers and babies foraging in the garden and the occasional sounder of boars walking down the street.)

But the same places should also allow some predators such as the fox or coyote (depending on where you live). If you let your pet out unattended, you should know that it could become another animal's lunch. There are too many feral cats in some places.
posted by pracowity at 1:08 AM on April 3, 2010


Here's http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpwhOE74TMA. As a lad, I used to skin them entirely before gutting and always checked the liver ...!!!Some rabbits are diseased. If they have a spotty liver, toss the poor sick buggers. Otherwise the liver belongs in the stew. I do love rabbit stew. The kidneys go there too. Very little waste. Yum.
posted by CCBC at 1:13 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


The link function screwed up. Yes, I did it properly. Of course I did! Why are you looking at me that way?
posted by CCBC at 1:14 AM on April 3, 2010


Here I am in Northern California and having trouble keeping my rabbits from becoming something else's food.

I think this problem is more on the predator side than the prey. Rabbits do what they do and they only take over places with no efficient predators. I am honestly surprised that there aren't a bunch of coyotes there.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 2:43 AM on April 3, 2010


Many years ago I had a neighbor who raised dwarf rabbits for the pet trade. When she was left with unsold babies, she would fatten them up for meat but could never eat her own so traded with other breeders. She invited me over for a rabbit dinner once, but I just couldn't bring myself to choke it down, probably because by that time she had gotten me started raising angoras for their hair. I kept them for a few years, selling babies and spinning the hair of the adults, until we moved.

Now where we live there are a few, very very few rabbits roaming the neighborhood, probably because we have so many predatory birds like the Turkey Vulture. Rabbit sightings are rare and precious, and there aren't enough to be destructive to my garden, so I enjoy rather than dread them. Unfortunately, the bulldog kills baby bunnies and brings them inside once or twice a year. I hate taking the little corpses away from her for disposal.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:43 AM on April 3, 2010


Oh no! Not a tripping hazard!

One of the articles did mention a rugby player with a compound fracture of the ankle due to burrows in the playing fields. I think there are definitely spots where these burrows could prove a serious hazard.
posted by Diablevert at 4:58 AM on April 3, 2010


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posted by Wolfdog at 5:23 AM on April 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Golden eagles. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by steef at 5:33 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


All of the animals are so used to getting fed that nearly all of them will at least ignore people, if not walk right up to them and beg.

Yup, and having a pet bunny you take for a walk in a little bunny-harness on a co-ed college campus will get you all kinds of attention.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:06 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It could be worse. My former boss went to Royal Roads, also in Victoria, and according to him the place was overrun with pheasants.
posted by Lemurrhea at 6:39 AM on April 3, 2010


Why don't we just do what the Australians did and introduce the bunny everywhere in North America?
posted by sneebler at 7:08 AM on April 3, 2010


WHUFFLES
posted by the littlest brussels sprout at 7:38 AM on April 3, 2010


I went to UVic for my BA and I loved the bunnies. There was this one massive fucker everybody called Papa Bunny, obviously the don of the lawn. He never moved, just glowered out at all the Gore-Tex invading his turf.

The biggest problem with the bunnies was that they tempted troglodyte fratboy types to torture them. Bunny murder occasionally made the school paper.
posted by Beardman at 7:50 AM on April 3, 2010


I can't believe Sinclair Road was mentioned on MetaFilter
posted by KokuRyu at 10:27 PM on April 2 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]

I know, right?


Lets plant some carrot gardens, set up regular food dispersals, and just Let This Happen. Who doesn't wan't to go outside and be surrounded by cute little pet bunnies?
posted by floam at 11:13 PM on April 2 [+] [!]


Potential unintended consequence of guerrilla gardening on campus?

Of course the garden is about "global food security and corporate control of the world’s food supply" as well as a protest regarding the existing community gardens, but I wonder if they considered the rabbit population when planning this?

Also - to those guerrilla gardeners concerned about food safety as well as all the people concerned with feeding the homeless - seriously why aren't we "harvesting" these rabbits and making some hearty rabbit stew? "Starving" students and a disproportionate homeless population here in town should be eyeing those rabbits like "lunch"! I mean it - EAT THE BUNNIES.

Is there any good reason not to eat the healthy ones? Obviously the sickly ones should just be put out of their misery.
posted by smartypantz at 7:59 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: 'When you have a bad day, it's just really fun to get an apple and start feeding a bunny.'
posted by tawny at 8:00 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh no! Not a tripping hazard!

Forget the burrows...I've not been looking and tripped on bunnies themselves while running across campus.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:14 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think it's time that the University creates a "sustainable living" class, or maybe some students can create a survivalist club, with some lessons on trapping, skinning and meat preparation. With an increased focus on green living, eating locally produced goods, and some folks complaining that younguns are forgetting where their food comes from, it sounds like a win-win all around.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:28 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


And tripping hazards and other minor dangers are serious things on major campuses, because of fear for litigation. At least that's how it is in the US.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:30 AM on April 3, 2010


"I don't see a solution - they're stuck with them. They multiply like rabbits, after all. There's no way they could possibly kill or remove a breeding population. They couldn't do it when there was 1/100th of them."

When they are in one area it's actually pretty easy you just have to be aggressive; I've done it before with nothing but a .22 and a few weeks time. Cost me almost a brick of ammo but we ate rabbit for over a year off the purge. It sounds like they are still mostly contained.

"Oh no! Not a tripping hazard!"

One of the real problems is the damage to infrastructure and the ability of burrows to undermine foundations. Bunnys are a lot less cute when your house starts leaning.
posted by Mitheral at 8:33 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Secret life.... The Turkey Vulture will eat a rabbit thats been run over by a car but they are not equipped to take a live rabbit. They are scavengers. Hawks are another story.
posted by leetheflea at 9:00 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think this video might contain the solution for UVic's bunny problem.
posted by Staggering Jack at 9:01 AM on April 3, 2010


As long as we are talking Sinclair Rd, it's a jam factory not a water tower and I'm keeping my boats in it right now.

Also uvic used the bunnies in promotional material until recently. Now the only thing to do is a mass cull. Someone introduced foxes to San Juan Island which had a similar issue with introduced jackrabbits and the rabbits are all gone and the hungy foxes are now eating cats - just sayin

If you are on uvic campus at dusk and look closely you will see plenty of owls. One of my grad students was attacked by one about 10 years ago - knocked down from behind, extensive scalp lacerations, and lost his brown fuzzy toque.
posted by Rumple at 9:15 AM on April 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


Have they tried hugging them and petting them??????
posted by Damn That Television at 9:21 AM on April 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


A few years ago I worked on a farm where rabbits were a huge problem, devastating our lettuce and root crops despite the farm guard dogs and fencing. The farm had originally started as a radical commune and the children there had grown up vegetarian. One of these children was home from college for the summer and decided to take matters into his own hands. He bought a gun and started practicing his shooting skills. On Youtube he found instructional videos on rabbit hunting and butchery.

I'm not sure it was entirely legal, but our rabbit predation problem was solved and we had delicious rabbit stew to boot, though the rabbits were quit thin because of the overpopulation problem and some had bad livers and had to be discarded. A great example of multiple sustainable land uses. Some of the older members of the commune did not indulge, but agreed we had to do something about our crops. Most conventional farmers, particularly orchard owners, simply poison them, but that wasn't a good solution for an ecological farm.

I wonder what a veganic gardener would do? Animal rights people tend to talk about how veganic gardening is going to save the world. Maybe another animal able to flourish around human settlements, coyotes, could deal with the problem, but they also like to eat pets.

I thought about that when reading about this restaurant in Arizona that has had to deal with controversy since announcing a rabbit-based Easter menu. Apparently some people think rabbits should never be eaten because they are cute...which is kind of funny because some of the protesters confessed they consume other animal products. At least vegans are consistent, but among omnivores, rabbit is among the most sustainable meats because of the feed efficiency ratio and small scale of most farms. While I understand why market hunting is illegal in the US, perhaps it could be allowed in some cases on agricultural land or in cases like University campuses.

Heart and Blood by Richard K. Nelson talks about deer overpopulation controversies, particularly on an island near San Francisco where AR people tried expensive sterilization and humane methods before admitting they weren't working. They now use a cull and donate the meat to homeless shelters. I'm sure the many homeless of Victoria would appreciate a change from bean stew.
posted by melissam at 9:22 AM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


In late 2008, the City of Kelowna also used sharpshooters to cull rabbits in the resort centre.

About X rabbits were "rescued" by kind-hearted but dim-witted erstwhile do-gooders. They now have over 700 frigging rabbits on their hands and no food. They've run out of money to take care of them. And now they're begging people to take them off their hands — people who, when they're tired of owning a rabbit, will put them back outside, where the cycle can repeat.

Idiots.

Meanwhile, we have a substantial homeless/hungry population of actual human beings.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:45 AM on April 3, 2010


I really don't think we should be feeding homeless people feral rabbits - at least not before we put them into the UVIC cafes or start eating them ourselves. Who knows what icky parasites these sickly bunnies have, and anyway, who is going to do all the skinning and stuff, and what would that cost? Feed them to the orcas, I say.

I would suggest that before UVIC spent 17,500 bucks (that's a lot of homeless food support) on a hare-brained scheme to sterilize bunnies, they should really just take a deep breath and do a massive cull, sometime when students aren't around.

Sorry bunnies - but Easter Long weekend is ironically enough a perfect chance.
posted by Rumple at 10:34 AM on April 3, 2010


I've done it before with nothing but a .22 and a few weeks time.

Yeah, but probably not on a university campus.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:36 AM on April 3, 2010


Idiots.

Is the question not, the moral/ethical question that is, how do humans, once they know they are humans, fit into their environment? When we show up and set down roots (since most of us don't hunt and gather these days) we tend to demand a certain amount of space. Then we put up buffers to manage that space. We seek to control the flora and fauna, because, well, I guess that's just what our species does, whether we know we're doing it or not. Like any species we seek advantageous surroundings, and once we find them, we settle in, and what results may, or may not, be equilibrium (eg. foxes or rabbits).

This all gets more complicated when we see ourselves as something supra-natural. When we talk and act like gods, rather than like a species living naturally in a landscape, we get into these muddles. Whereas we can stomach the coyotes or foxes killing the bunnies, we can't bring ourselves to do it (well, some of us can't). If we're going, in effect, to exempt ourselves from the rule of nature, we have to decide how far we're going to get involved.

Meanwhile, we have a substantial homeless/hungry population of actual human beings.
It baffles me that our scruples against using "cute" animals or some other element of nature as food might hinder us from caring for one another. (I know we don't need to kill these rabbits to feed "actual human beings," but some people will spend a lot of time and money advocating for a species (plant or animal) that is not ours, rather than advocating for fellow humans.) Does our self-awareness have end up in self-loathing? When we hate our place in nature, don't we also hate nature? Aren't we a part of nature, just like the rabbits? Oh to be a bunny.

I, for one, want to be Fiver.
posted by kneecapped at 10:50 AM on April 3, 2010


Someone introduced foxes to San Juan Island which had a similar issue with introduced jackrabbits and the rabbits are all gone and the hungy foxes are now eating cats - just sayin


Obviously the solution is to introduce gorillas to eat the foxes.
posted by ScotchRox at 11:06 AM on April 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Then you have a gorilla problem, genius.
posted by bicyclefish at 11:36 AM on April 3, 2010


Then you have a gorilla problem, genius.

Yeah, and Victoria has mild winters.
posted by atrazine at 11:59 AM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


No problem folks, within a decade we'll have gorillas killing themselves left and right.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 12:14 PM on April 3, 2010


Bunnies that have adapted to the point where they innocently nose curious things and come up to students and let you hold them and feed them apples after a hard day of hormones and finals? FEATURE NOT A BUG
posted by Juicy Avenger at 12:23 PM on April 3, 2010


I'd support a (humane) cull.

Those that aren't killed by cars, or die young of injury and malnutrition are terrified and tortured by people who think rabbit chasing is great exercise for dogs; every time I've walked through UVic - which was daily for a number of years - I've seen off-leash dogs chasing the rabbits.

If they could all be caught and sterilized, better, but that doesn't seem to be an option anymore.
posted by narcissus_and_ambrosia at 1:35 PM on April 3, 2010


NEWFIES WITH HAKAPIKS CASE CLOSED
posted by Sys Rq at 1:54 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd support a (humane) cull.

You can't go Elmer Fudding on a university campus, so I guess it would have to be widespread poisoning or some serious trapping. Or maybe release foxes genetically engineered by Monsanto to die after a year.
posted by pracowity at 1:55 PM on April 3, 2010


I don't get this "bunnies make me feel better, aw, let's keep 'em!" attitude. It's ok to let rabbits overbreed and get malnourished (and damage the local ecosystem) so you can have something to soothe your injured fee-fees after flunking your Econ exam?

This is the same sort of thinking that fills up animal shelters with pets who were bought because they were cute, then discarded when they became too much work.

Animals are not toys, or decoration.

Sadly, hunting is probably the best response, however much that disturbs the people who prefer their rabbits dying of starvation out of sight, in a burrow somewhere, or getting run over on a local road. At least if the animals are hunted and eaten, they'll die a quick death, some good comes from them, and the cycle of overpopulation can end.
posted by emjaybee at 2:07 PM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


maybe release foxes genetically engineered by Monsanto to die after a year.

Nexus 7?
posted by nathancaswell at 2:08 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder if maybe all those out-of-work sealers from NL -- because there's no ice this year, see? -- could come out and give us a demo on the bunnies? That'd be sweet.

If we can't eat 'em (my girlfriend did during her undergrad) we can use 'em for fertilizer for the geurilla gardens.
posted by klanawa at 2:18 PM on April 3, 2010


"Yeah, but probably not on a university campus."

Sure a fire arm is contra indicated because of the population but it was just an example from personal experience. Trapping costs more and is more work but just as effective. However I wonder if one could use limited bow hunts. Close off parts of campus, organize a bow hunting derby with prizes for highest kills and decimate the population.
posted by Mitheral at 2:57 PM on April 3, 2010


Sure a fire arm is contra indicated because of the population but it was just an example from personal experience. Trapping costs more and is more work but just as effective. However I wonder if one could use limited bow hunts. Close off parts of campus, organize a bow hunting derby with prizes for highest kills and decimate the population.

This is a campus that shut down our unofficial disc golf course because it was causing too much of a disturbance. From personal experience in both bow hunting and rifle hunting, bows would actually be much more dangerous in a populated area - with a rifle at least you know the trajectory of the bullet (more or less). Arrows, if deflected, deflect with force in the most unusual of directions in a way that a bullet usually does not. I'd think the safest thing would be a high-velocity target air rifle. Accuracy with a low-inertia pellet. During the summer, in the evenings when nobody's around. I happen to have access to said implement. I'll be...uh....home in Victoria in the summer if anyone wants to...uh...discuss a few beers in the evening on campus. For some fun, maybe.

Still, the problem isn't the rabbits in the open - the problem is that a significant percentage of them are underground in their warrens at any given time and it's virtually impossible to get them all without a major, concerted effort that would involve more than firearms.
posted by jimmythefish at 3:25 PM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sure a fire arm is contra indicated because of the population but it was just an example from personal experience. Trapping costs more and is more work but just as effective. However I wonder if one could use limited bow hunts. Close off parts of campus, organize a bow hunting derby with prizes for highest kills and decimate the population.

For anyone less than a master archer, a bow is a very bad choice of weapon for rabbit hunting. Not only are the targets small, but they move quite quickly. And with a "bow hunting derby", the number of hunters will scare all of the rabbits into running around the whole time, eliminating the chance for a surprise shot.

And all of this ignores that an arrow is lethal to humans at ranges far exceeding that of bird shot. Bird shot has lost almost all of its momentum after about 100 meters/yards. An arrow is lethal to many hundreds of yards.

I would not want an army of frat boys armed with bows and broadheads anywhere near me. And I can assure you that there'd be at least one Dick Cheney-style accident. Bird shot to the face will injure and disfigure you; an arrow to the face will fucking kill you.

If a .410 shotgun or a silenced .22 is really not practical on campus, then my suggestion is the bola. You can make a rabbit-sized version out of thick twine and some heavy washers. Having spent some of my youth doing catch-and-release rabbit hunting with a bola in my front yard, I can assure you that it's an effective weapon--especially if the rabbits aren't already fearful of humans. And after you catch the rabbit, you just break its neck pay $50 to have it euthanized.
posted by Netzapper at 3:29 PM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


(joking that last bit...for sure. yup.)
posted by jimmythefish at 3:33 PM on April 3, 2010


I'd support a (humane) cull.

I read that as "I'd support a human cull." Which rather surprised me. Seemed a bit over-the-top as a means of dealing with the students there. But now I see I misread.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:21 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


It never ceases to amaze me how stupid students can be, especially at university. And I know, I used to be one.
posted by Vindaloo at 6:04 PM on April 3, 2010


What I coincidence! Just last weekend I was hunting fairly tame bunnies on a friend's farm. I used a pistol crossbow. The bolts (arrows) have the size, weight, and sharpness of a pencil. It's a nice weapon because it is smaller and quieter than a .22 (although possibly more dangerous). And it doesn't fill the meat with pellets like a shotgun. As far as hazards to bystanders, that is greatly reduced if you limit your shots to 15 feet and a downward trajectory.
posted by ryanrs at 6:16 PM on April 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry about the bow suggestion, I admittedly don't know much about bow hunting and my thought was they were less likely to kill someone out of the roped off area. I'm surprised bows are so hard to use verses small game as I've successfully hunted rabbits with a sling. Maybe that's what the tourney should use. I'm sure some contestants would be hurt but heck just require eye protection and package it as an extreme sport and TV rights should turn a profit.

ryanrs: "I used a pistol crossbow. The bolts (arrows) have the size, weight, and sharpness of a pencil."

Crossbows that can be fired with one hand or are less than 500mm in length are illegal to possess in Canada.
posted by Mitheral at 7:05 PM on April 3, 2010


I'm surprised bows are so hard to use verses small game as I've successfully hunted rabbits with a sling. Maybe that's what the tourney should use. I'm sure some contestants would be hurt but heck just require eye protection and package it as an extreme sport and TV rights should turn a profit.

Perhaps I overstated my case. Just about any weapon is suitable for earthbound small game, given sufficient skill on the part of the user. Heck, I know people who've hunted birds with .22's. But, they're really only suitable if the target is stationary and at close range when you take the shot. If the rabbit is running, I don't trust even a competent bow hunter to hit their mark.

The real problem, though, is that many people think of a bow as a toy. That somehow the advent of gunpowder renders irrelevant the millions of people who've died as a result of archery fire in war. As a result of this view, you'd have a lot of schmucks who'd show up never having shot a bow before. These people would be a danger to everyone around them.

You'd also have lots of people who can competently shoot a stationary target (artificial or a deer) who would assume their skill prepared them for shooting at tiny, fast-moving targets. The danger here is the all-too-common Dick Cheney maneuver: you see a target, start tracking it with your weapon, and swing the point of aim past your fellow hunters without even noticing it. This is absolutely the most common hunting accident.

jimmythefish's suggestion of an air rifle is actually probably the best so far. It was, in fact, the weapon I planned to use for rabbit hunting this summer. Until I found out that Washington State does not allow the hunting of any game with any weapon other than a firearm or a bow.
posted by Netzapper at 7:46 PM on April 3, 2010


Crossbows that can be fired with one hand or are less than 500mm in length are illegal to possess in Canada.

How the hell does one commit murder in Canada? Do you have to drown your enemies in a vat of maple syrup or something?
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:56 PM on April 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


Someone should ask Oprah what to do. She'd know.
posted by amtho at 8:11 PM on April 3, 2010


Crossbows that can be fired with one hand or are less than 500mm in length are illegal to possess in Canada.

I suppose that's because they can be concealed. Fair enough, especially since most sportsmen would not consider such a weapon a legitimate hunting tool. They're more like $20 toys for adults. Still, at 10 feet, they do the trick.
posted by ryanrs at 8:14 PM on April 3, 2010


Still, the problem isn't the rabbits in the open - the problem is that a significant percentage of them are underground in their warrens at any given time and it's virtually impossible to get them all without a major, concerted effort that would involve more than firearms.

Historically, rabbits in warrens were hunted with ferrets and nets. This might not be too effective with American pet ferrets; they've become noticeably more docile even over the last 15 years.
posted by dilettante at 8:24 PM on April 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can't the students just organize an anti bunny flash mob focused on live roundup. Round them up each semester castrate the bucks and put the does on a time release birth control. Tell the freshman it's tradition. After 4 years no one will remember it wasn't.
posted by humanfont at 11:10 PM on April 3, 2010


"How the hell does one commit murder in Canada? Do you have to drown your enemies in a vat of maple syrup or something?"

Well full size bows, both regular and cross are both legal and unregulated (might be an age limit on crossbows, I can't remember). As are claymores/swords though smaller knives can be a problem especially in the 4-12" range. Also prohibited are any knives capable of being opened with a single hand (switch blade, spring action, butterfly) making swiss army knives technically illegal (it's possible to flick them open with one hand). Any known to be weapon with a chain (nunchuck, morning star, flail, Manriki Kusari, etc.) is pretty well illegal. Maces, clubs, axes are all legal. Push knives are also illegal. Basically anything exotic has been scare mongered into the prohibited pile (it is really easy for things to end up there because no new legislation needs to be passed, just a review process by, I think, the AG).
posted by Mitheral at 12:00 AM on April 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Um, aren't hunting firearms legal in Canada? Seems like a shotgun would be a popular choice for Canadian murderers.
posted by Netzapper at 12:19 AM on April 4, 2010


Yeah, it totally sucks to live in such a safe country.
posted by Rumple at 12:27 AM on April 4, 2010


I assume Canadians looking for illegal weapons can clandestinely import whatever they need from the U.S.

(email in profile)
posted by ryanrs at 4:25 AM on April 4, 2010


Foxes?

I was going to suggest tigers, but then that's my solution to every problem.
posted by Ritchie at 5:34 AM on April 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


Why not humane live trapping? What to do with them? How about fedexing the cute buggers off to the PETA home office?
posted by sammyo at 8:55 AM on April 4, 2010


About the only predator you can expect to thrive consistently in a city is the human. While it's not particularly sporting to catch and euthanize them, it is predation of a sort. And it's clearly necessary.

Right on, brother! I suggest we start with downtown Oakland, California. Because as you said, it's clearly necessary.
posted by nathanlindstrom at 11:53 AM on April 4, 2010


Long Beach City College has a similar issue.
posted by joannemerriam at 8:44 PM on April 4, 2010


Beat me to it, joannemerriam. I go to LBCC and after reading the NY Times blog article above, I was wondering if this is actually a common thing on college campuses. The article about LBCC says that they've just spayed and neutered 84 rabbits, which I guess is a good thing, but I'd kinda hate to see the rabbits go completely; it's just such a goofy thing to leave class and see rabbits running around.
posted by malapropist at 9:27 PM on April 5, 2010


Nice idea, but that's kinda like being a little bit pregnant…
posted by five fresh fish at 9:40 PM on April 5, 2010


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