Do you have a pet rabbit that you’re concerned about a fox getting to? Or are you generally curious about a fox’s natural diet? Either way, one thing you need to know is that foxes do eat rabbits.
In fact, rabbits make up quite a large proportion of fox’s diet, especially in rural areas where scavenging is less of an option.
In this ultimate guide, we’ll take a look at some of the reasons why rabbits are such a popular source of food for foxes. We’ll also look at how to keep your rabbit as safe as possible without completely restricting their freedom.
Why Do Foxes Eat Rabbits?
Foxes eat rabbits simply because they are a valuable source of nutrients for them. Rabbit meat is high in Vitamin B12, Vitamin E, iron, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and loads of other essential vitamins and minerals that a fox needs to stay strong and healthy.
They are also a good source of protein and fat, which is crucial for building fat reserves and helping a fox survive throughout winter when food sources are scarce.
One thing that many people don’t realize is that foxes are omnivorous. So, while they do eat rabbits and other animals, they will also eat a variety of plants and vegetables.
However, the majority of the protein and fat intake comes from meat and rabbits are easy prey to catch.
How Do Foxes Catch Rabbits?
If you’ve ever seen a wild rabbit darting across an open field, you might be wondering how a fox is able to catch it in order to eat it. Well, while rabbits may have the upper hand as far as speed is concerned, foxes have a few clever tricks up their sleeve!
First of all, foxes have powerful legs that give them the stamina to keep up with a rabbit during the chase. They also have flexible ankles so, even if the rabbit suddenly changes direction, they are able to change course without really losing any speed.
If the rabbit dives into the safety of its burrow during the pursuit, the fox will have no hesitation in following it. It won’t be able to fit all the way into the burrow, of course, but it will employ its semi-retractable claws and begin digging in an attempt to get in.
It will also use these powerful claws to drag the rabbit out of its burrow if it does manage to expose it.
Foxes also have incredible night vision, so they are able to see any rabbits that venture out of their burrows during the night.
Do Foxes Kill Rabbits For Fun?
No animal really kills for fun and in the case of foxes eating rabbits, it’s necessary for their survival. If a fox doesn’t have any meat to eat, it won’t be able to keep itself alive for very long!
There have been reports of foxes killing entire colonies of domestic rabbits but, again, this won’t have been for fun. Foxes are opportunistic creatures and if they find an enclosure full of rabbits with no place to run, they will take advantage of the situation.
They simply kill every single rabbit with the intention of coming back at a later date to carry the rabbits back to their den and storing them for later.
Remember, also, that foxes have a litter of cubs to raise every year as well. These need to be fed as they grow and if a fox hits the jackpot with discovering a number of defenseless rabbits, they’ll certainly make the most of the circumstances.
Mass-killings are something that a fox will only really carry out domestic rabbits as they have a limited space in which they can escape a fox attack.
Wild rabbits are able to take refuge in their intricate burrows which can run deep underground and comprise dozens of chambers.
How To Protect Your Pet Rabbit From Foxes
If you have a pet rabbit and you’re concerned about fox attacks, you don’t have to keep them locked in their hutch all the time. In fact, this is quite cruel to the rabbit and really doesn’t give it a good quality of life.
You can still give your rabbit some freedom to explore and keep them safe with a rabbit run. These can be secured to the ground using pegs that a fox will find quite difficult to remove.
You can also make your own rabbit run using poultry wire as fencing. Just make sure you sink it deep into the ground so that the fox can’t get access by digging underneath.
A fox will hunt and eat a rabbit if given the opportunity, especially in rural areas. However, if you live in an urban area and you’re concerned about a fox attacking your pet rabbit, the best thing to do is provide them with secure housing.
Choose a hutch with a strong lock, and provide them with a well-built run that they can use to hop around during the day without worrying about a fox getting in.