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On deer and rabbits

Bunny 2


I’m back. Literally and figuratively. Since working non-stop since mid-December, celebrating a birthday and taking a quick week off to jaunt over to a slightly warmer but much prettier British Columbia, I am finally easing back into my slightly boring but predictable schedule. Over the last few weeks I ate a ton of food, skied a ton of slopes, ate some very expensive jam (which I will tell you about in due course), read some great books, and in general kept myself all too occupied, which happens to be one of my least favorite things to do. I enjoy my downtime and go out of my way to plan a life where I have plenty of it.


But in the meantime I was looking at this picture of a bunny I took some weeks ago, and pondering the huge abundance of wildlife that shares with us this land called Canada. It’s kind of hard for people here to understand, but this is one of the very few places in the world where animals and humans share any kind of space voluntarily. In most countries the only birds you see are pigeons and the only animals the stray cats and dogs skulking in the streets. The rest are scarce to the point of extreme rareness and reticence.


Bunny 1


Many people that move here cannot believe that rabbits and deer are frequent visitors within the city, fearlessly venturing on our lawns and hopping our fences. That squirrels are not only common, but cheeky, and that folks routinely name the chipmunks that drop by to pilfer bird feeders. They are astounded to hear coyotes howling at night, and see huge elk crossing the highways, never mind the foxes, ducks, geese and many other denizens of any average Canadian neighborhood. Certainly no bears have ever entered their hospitals like they did here a while back, and no animal crossings are built so that critters can cross the highways safely.


The reason animals shy away from people in most of the world is because they are prey there, and feel it keenly. The plump ducks, geese and rabbits would quickly be poached by families thankful for a free dinner, deer would be poached too, never mind the season, fish would be caught until there’s none left, and the predators would simply be exterminated. Not that North America doesn’t have those tendencies from time to time, but overall animals fare much better here than elsewhere.


It’s funny to me how we mourn the animals that have to be shot due to posing a hazard to people and whose numbers drop as we take over their habitat, but as soon as an enterprising species acclimatizes itself to living around us we call them a nuisance, like the unfortunate seagulls, pigeons and gophers. Methinks we’d be better off celebrating their adaptable natures that ensure their survival and take the occasional inconvenience they pose with humor if not grace.

9 comments to On deer and rabbits

  • JP

    living in northern Vermont, we have all of the same wildlife issues as yourself, and they become concentrated in certain areas where tracks of land remain undisturbed. Moose instead of Elk, though. Ad I watched 2 fox outside yesterday for a couple of hours.I can relate to all of what you say – the bunnies and deer have been on my mind a lot lately as I think I finally have to fence my garden in – they break my heart everyday munching on my plants!

  • We had a deer loose downtown last month … amazing considering it’s Toronto!

  • admin

    @ JP – yep, many parts of the States have the same issues. Fencing is the best defense, them deer and bunnies can be pretty determined to have their lunch. Then of course you can start looking out for the burrowers like chipmunks and the like. But at least we live in places where we can see stuff like that, many other places the zoo is it for animal watching.

    @ Teena – whoa. That would wreak some havoc for sure. We have deer all over Calgary too, but no one’s made their way downtown yet. 🙂

  • I love seeing critters show up in my backyard. We have a cute assortment, but nothing startling. Through the entire summer, I never even saw something like a raccoon or skunk; although it’s possible they dropped by at night.

    This post was so entertaining; I really enjoyed it. And when you wrote about some people naming chipmunks, I thought to myself “Who would do that?” Then when I clicked on the link, my blog popped up….:) Yeah, we do that. In addition to the chipmunk, there was a groundhog coming into the year now and then. My husband named him ‘Gordy’.

    Thanks for a fun blog post! I hope to ‘read’ more of you this coming year.

  • Jean

    It’s the ultimate in arrogance to think only humans have a right to live on the earth. I love sharing the space I occupy with critters! People who complain in my presence get an earful. Adapt, people. Just like the animals do.

    Welcome back! Missed you!

  • admin

    @ WR – thanks – yep I’m back. Just a rough year end and Xmas and all, and I’m not a person to tax my faculties unduly so I’ve put the blog on hold for a bit. And your chipmunks and birds and cats and ferrets and squirrels are truly a treasure.

    @ Jean – I agree of course. And having travelled as much as you have you likely see what I’m talking about – wild life is much scarcer elsewhere. We’ve already decimated many thousands of species, lets at the very least not hate the ones that adjust.

  • Hi there 🙂

    Saw your blog featured on Blotanical, and the ‘Cowtown’ part caught my eye 🙂 I’m from Edmonton.

    I love the picture of the rabbit. Down here in the States where I live now, the wild rabbits are like pet store bunnies. Tiny little fluffy things that look like Tribbles lol. When my husband and I were dating, he came flew up to Calgary and I took him through the mountains, and to Edmonton. We saw a jack rabbit and my husband couldn’t believe how big it was. I was puzzled, because I had grown up with rabbits like that. When I saw a bunny here in North Carolina, I understood lol.

  • We’ve got bunnies too! We’ve also got raccoons, moles, elk, deer, cougar, eagles, hawk, and coyotes…one of the reason I love living in the sticks…well except for the moles! Kim

  • admin

    @ Kyna – hello! Cool of you to stop by! I’ve never seen a NC Tribbles – if you see one shoot a photo over, we’ll do a size comparison 🙂

    @ the inadvertent farmer – we’ve got most of the critters here, but no moles or coons due to small suburban lots full of people, which is a blessing as far as gardens go. The funny thing is, the deer and rabbits are so spoiled here that they don’t even nibble that much, I’ve left the gate open dozens of times and all my seedlings survived… maybe the word is not out on the street yet 🙂 We DO however have pet eating coyotes which sucks.

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