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Overrun with rascally rabbits

This spring, a baby bunny hopped across our driveway as I drove in and I thought, aww, isn’t he adorable? Fuggedaboudit. July is now winding down and that furry beast with the sharp teeth and the full belly is no longer cute. He is much bigger now, all because he has been partaking of my all-you-can-buffet, my flower garden.

He (?) is also not a solo gourmand. I spotted a parent or two in April who were the largest rabbits I’ve ever seen on our property. It’s pretty obvious that these two got the rabbit habit and produced the many little cotton-tailed scavengers that reside under our deck. The small openings are just rabbit-sized, and I’m sure they lead to comfy little bedrooms as well as their busy maternity ward.

I don’t think they bothered creating a dining room under there. They didn’t need to. They eat al fresco in the various regional garden eateries: Casa Coral Bells, where all my new hybrid specimens were consumed as appetizers, eaten down to the roots; the International House of Pansies – IHOP, of course; and Hosta La Vista in the shade garden, where I go to say goodbye to my most recently ravaged new hostas. And that’s just the three squares a day. Snack time is when the tall English primroses are reduced to short, and my patience is tested by the shredded impatiens.

Like all children, I grew up thinking rabbits were adorable. I had my first hare-raising experience when I lived in New York City. I met my roommate at American Airlines stewardess training and we rented a furnished apartment, which was common for young airline personnel just starting out. At age 21, who has sofas, beds, bureaus, tables, and chairs? Not us. And the kitchen cabinets contained six plates, six cups and saucers, six bowls, and 306 cockroaches.

We’d been there a year when I met a Marine captain who grew up in Greenwich Village. We had dated a bit by the time Easter arrived, and he decided to show me how much he cared. He arrived with a large basket of tulips and an Easter basket filled with five pounds of chocolate rabbits and eggs. And, to my astonishment, a live rabbit. I said thank you, but I didn’t mean it.

Constantly watching my figure, I was not happy about all that chocolate, but I needn’t have worried. The rabbit ate the chocolate, the tulip plant, and the fake grass in the basket before he started on our furnishings. I bought some carrots and lettuce while we figured out what to do with this outrageous gift. The only thing I knew about rabbits was from watching Bugs Bunny. But Holy Elmer Fudd, we had a predicament.

A few days after Easter, I had to work a flight to the west coast. The only thing we could do was put Thumper in our bathtub with some food and water. He had already eaten a chunk out of two table legs and had made inroads on the living room wall-to-wall carpeting. I was frantic. We had to get that little creature out of our urban apartment and into a field on Long Island.

We didn’t have a cage or a car, but we did have friends who lived where the green grass grew. They recued us before Thumper spent too many days and night in the bathtub. He did manage to consume more of the carpet (we had to rearrange the furniture) but he was no help whatsoever with the roaches. Rabbits will eat almost anything, but cucarachas were not on their nutrition charts.

They do, as I have learned the hard way, prefer flowers and greens. Yes, they eat parsley, sage and rosemary in no time, but they prefer the leaves and stems that support their favorite flowers. I’m beyond fed up, and about to get aggressive. I’ve been Mrs. Nice from April until now, but the situation has gone past expensive. And I’ve noticed one other problem.

We still have the couple of big rabbits and the April babies are now medium-sized. But, there are also new little babies. I checked out rabbit growth on YouTube, and these wee ones are only a month old. Something else is happening under the deck besides parsley chomping.

So far, I’ve tried moth balls, rabbit repellent and chasing them away with the hose’s jet stream. The deer are behaving better this year and not eating as much, but maybe that is because their favorites are being consumed by the long-eared connoisseurs.

I’m beginning to picture myself in a rocking chair on the deck, sporting a cigar and an air rifle. Hmm. Take that, you wascally wabbits.

We’ll see.

Marcy O’Brien lives in Warren, Pa., with her husband, Richard, and Finian, their barfing Maine Coon cat. Marcy can be reached at Moby.32@hotmail.com.

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