Rabbit hunting

The rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is widespread and common in Britain. It’s not native here, being originally from the Iberian Peninsula. It was introduced about 1000 years ago and farmed for meat and fur. Now it’s naturalised and it eats crops, so it’s classed as a pest species and it can be shot at any time. Here’s a guide to shooting rabbits.

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About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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7 Responses to Rabbit hunting

  1. sharechair says:

    I can’t push like for shooting rabbits. I understand the pest part. But I still can’t push “like”.

  2. Carol Hague says:

    I wonder how the introduction of rabbits affected the native hare populations back then? I don’t suppose we’ll ever know, the Romans and Celts not being great ones for environmental studies as far as I know, but I wonder if they competed for resources or if it worked the other way and the rabbits were easier prey for the native carrnivores (of which there were a few more back then) and thus took the pressure off the hare population.

    I do think that if rabbits need removing, shooting them is probably more humane than myxamatosis – if nothing else, diseases can mutate and then move to other species if one is very unlucky and bullets tend not to do that!

    • argylesock says:

      Yes myxi is pretty cruel. You probably know that it’s endemic in British rabbits now, flaring up some years and cutting the population until the rabbits bounce back. (Oops pun)

      That’s an interesting point about the hare population when rabbits were introduced. Again, I’m sure you know this, but rabbits were kept in semi-natural warrens from which they were harvested until quite recently. It’s not obvious to me how rabbits and hares might compete, but perhaps they do.

  3. Pingback: Wild food | Science on the Land

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