Wild animals in the suburbs have a different set of problems to contend with than their brethren in the woods. Why does this rabbit love to hang out under this hammock?
While rabbits and squirrels in the woods watch for hawks, foxes, coyotes, and bobcats, the city critters must be more concerned with dogs, cats, and car tires.
Wolves aren’t going to last long in town. Coyotes can make it in the right spot (usually where they can dumpster dive). The few foxes, hawks and occasional bobcats do not effectively thin the heard of bushy-tailed and cotton tailed rodents.
Domesticated and feral cats certainly lower the population and dogs keep their yards clear. Squirrels escape to the trees, but the poor rabbits have to rely mostly on hiding.
Every year a symphony of flowers begins in my old flower bed. First crocus, then tulips, daffodils, peonies and finally sweet pea. Each add their greenery and color. I just mow around it all so as fall comes, there is a dense green pile. The rabbits moved in as soon as the flowers were tall enough to provide cover.
I leave this heap until spring. It turns brown, but I can’t destroy the rabbits’ winter home. Everyone seems to want to trim up and clean up all around the yard. Trim that tree up high so you can mow under it! This leaves little refuge for the little four-legged creatures.
Now back to the hammock and the rabbit. This is one of the rabbit’s favorite spots because it has great visibility in all directions (including up), the delicious grass grows there, and most importantly, it is out in the open, but no hawk is going strike near that big net. That open cotton weave roof is the perfect protection.
Squirrels are squirrely. They run around like idiots! They start to cross the road in front of your car and go back and forth rapidly. They sense the danger and try to dissuade your tire as if it was a predator with misdirection and false, evasive movements. This method of distraction has a low rate of success with tires.
After a light snow, I noticed an amazing path of erratic tracks in the open space at the park. It was clear that a squirrel had been nut hunting, but as a dark critter in a bright white snow field, it instinctively knew it was an easy hawk breakfast. The path it had taken was so random, so unpredictable, that a hawk had little chance to accurately target its approach. Perhaps squirrels aren’t always as dumb as they seem.
I have written about the irritations of the squirrels and if you have a vegetable garden, you probably want to kill all the rabbits. You can fence them out and eliminate their hiding spaces, but I will be always leave a spot for them. They are so much fun to watch.