Bunnies. It must be bunnies.
January 14, 2019 12:42 PM   Subscribe

"It's weird seeing a bunny … just kind of getting its head right into the side carcass of another rabbit and consuming meat," said Michael Peers, who wrote the paper. "It's kind of, I guess, not what you'd expect."

The paper referenced in the passage above, Scavenging By Snowshoe Hares (Lepus americanus) In Yukon, Canada was published in the journal BioOne Complete by lead researcher Michael J. L. Peers (pictured in the first link hugging a a majectic-looking lynx), Yasmine N. Majchrzak, Sean M. Konkolics, Rudy Boonstra, Stan Boutin.

In it, the researchers detail their findings into an investigation of the meat-eating nature of snowshoe hares. According to the abstract: "Hares consumed meat from a variety of different species, including Canada Lynx (Lynx canadensis), as well as the carcasses of hares. On one occasion, an individual repeatedly ingested feathers from a Spruce Grouse (Falcipennis canadensis) carcass. Scavenging by hares may result from food or nutrient limitations during winter months and appears relatively common when compared to other lagomorph species."

In an interview with National Geographic, Peers recounts his reaction to the discovery that hares dine on (and defend) carcasses during the winter months.

“It was shocking to see the first time,” says Peers, who believes the hares are boosting their protein intake during harsh times. “I had no idea they actually scavenge.”
posted by sardonyx (29 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Squirrels eat lemming brains

Goddamn squirrels. People think they are all cute, then this happens.
posted by GenjiandProust at 12:53 PM on January 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

I'm idly wondering how often "scavenger" is a stop on the train to "carnivore". Those bunnies might simply be evolving.
posted by Leon at 12:55 PM on January 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

I thought it was well documented that most “herbivores” will eat meat either in times of stress or if it’s suddenly available due to IDK a tasty baby songbird plummeting to its doom in front of a grazing deer. It’s thought that our mostly frugivorous hominid ancestors started scavenging megafauna kills and that’s what eventually led to our omnivore status.
posted by Homo neanderthalensis at 12:57 PM on January 14, 2019 [15 favorites]

One time my sister and I were out in her yard when we started hearing a crunching sound. When we investigated it turned out to be a cute little chipmunk - crunching the bones of the dead bird it was chowing down on.
posted by Redstart at 1:04 PM on January 14, 2019 [7 favorites]

I wonder if Anyanka and Tim the Enchanter ever met?
posted by skullhead at 1:07 PM on January 14, 2019 [6 favorites]

It's fascinating what critters eat - I remember being shocked/surprised when I saw a great blue heron stalk a mouse/vole/somesmallvarmint, and swallow it down! Herons also eat frogs and lizards - so, not just fish.
posted by dbmcd at 1:31 PM on January 14, 2019

This post reminded me of the book Bunnicula. That is all.
posted by lazaruslong at 1:34 PM on January 14, 2019 [14 favorites]

My pet rabbit was known to steal pizza slices off the picnic table if you weren't watching. As I recall, she specifically went after the pepperoni.
posted by ryanrs at 2:27 PM on January 14, 2019 [4 favorites]

A friend of mine once saw a squirrel carrying the severed head of another squirrel.
posted by Faint of Butt at 2:38 PM on January 14, 2019 [5 favorites]

Protein is precious and expensive to make, and every animal has a budget where they have to have X many grams to repair their bodies every day. So pretty much no animal will turn down free protein when they are lacking.
posted by tavella at 2:38 PM on January 14, 2019 [7 favorites]

See? Killer Bunnies are real. Monty Python warned us....
posted by mermayd at 3:09 PM on January 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

Given that we are talking about bunnies, have they considered that bunnies are entirely herbivorous but too stupid to be able to tell meat from plants?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 3:21 PM on January 14, 2019 [16 favorites]

We know where this is heading.

Actually, that's not what I was expecting. Ah, memories (and confirmation).
posted by bonehead at 3:49 PM on January 14, 2019

And carnivorous horses.
I read a newspaper clipping of a local sheep rancher that was finding dead lambs. The losses were such that the rancher decided to spend the night watching the sheep. That's how he found out it was one of his horses that was killing the lambs; going after the semi-digested milk in the lambs' stomachs.
posted by King Sky Prawn at 4:21 PM on January 14, 2019 [9 favorites]

Growing up, my sister had a rabbit who preferred raw hamburger to carrots. It was a brief shock to my cartoon reality stream, but I've since recovered
posted by Redhush at 5:03 PM on January 14, 2019 [3 favorites]

So we just saw Michael Healey's 1979 on Sunday and I can highly recommend it as a sharp, funny, and slightly fictionalized account of an afternoon on Parliament Hill right before a vote that led to the downfall of the blink-and-you'll-miss-them Tory government.

There's a prolonged segment near the end of the play where a character shares an extended metaphor about how politicians should govern. The metaphor rests on two, and only two, survival options available to some besieged bunnies. It now appears that there is a third option that might have been even more appropriate from that character's perspective.
posted by maudlin at 6:00 PM on January 14, 2019

Life is fucking terrifying.

Have you seen the alternative?
posted by pompomtom at 7:41 PM on January 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

A friend of mine once saw a squirrel carrying the severed head of another squirrel.

Which might be why squirrels are disease vectors for CJD.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 8:11 PM on January 14, 2019

My sister would feed her pet "lamb" bacon and egg sandwiches . ( It was not really a lamb anymore, pretty much a full grown Ewe and would jump on the sofa if it could get in the house.) Cindy, (IIRC) snuffled them down like the best thing on earth.
posted by Richard Upton Pickman at 8:59 PM on January 14, 2019 [1 favorite]

excuse me waiter this has a hare in it
posted by 7segment at 9:00 PM on January 14, 2019 [2 favorites]

In nature, herbivores are just bad hunters.

Which reminds me of a Werner Herzog (?) quote that goes something like: the birds aren't singing, they're screaming in pain and terror.
posted by acb at 1:32 AM on January 15, 2019

Where does this take us? The distinction between vegetarians and carnivores is entirely artificial and man-made?
posted by Termite at 3:43 AM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!
posted by I-Write-Essays at 7:30 AM on January 15, 2019

I think this line is mostly filler...
posted by lothar at 9:26 AM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by klangklangston at 2:14 PM on January 15, 2019 [1 favorite]

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