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View Full Version : mystery bunny death - possible predator that i dont know about?



bluebellfarm
17-10-2014, 10:29 PM
sadly i found my continental giant rabbit, rosemary, lying dead today. :cry:

as well as being very sad, her death is a mystery to me because i cant really tell how she died. there was no mark on her, no signs of a struggle and no blood, but she was missing an eye. the lack of blood despite the missing eye makes me think that it could have happened after death....there are a lot of rooks that frequent my garden, it could have been them. or even my free range hens, though that isnt a pleasant thought!
she was lying in one of her favourite spots where she spent most of her time, which is also odd....if something had been chasing her/hunting her, its quite a big coincidence that they should catch up with her there. i guess she could have been lying there and not noticed a predator and been taken by surprise....but wouldnt a predator's objective be food? why wasnt she eaten?

i lost another of my giants earlier this year in similar odd circumstances, except he was indoors at the time and was in a sleep/relaxation posture, he really looked like he'd just gone to sleep and not woken up. i actually thought he *was* asleep before i took a closer look. he wasnt missing an eye though, and rosemary was lying on her side...in not quite as natural a posture.

im really confused! i called the vets to see if they had any suggestions but they were at a loss too. i was meaning to enquire about getting a post mortem done, but they said it would be very expensive and would very likely be inconclusive, so they didnt recommend it. she had seemed absolutely fine in herself, happy and healthy. shes up to date with her vaccines. i was also at home all day and outside for a good chunk of the time and i didnt see or hear anything. whatever happened would have happened some time in the afternoon. i discovered her at 4ish and she was already stiff. but i saw her alive and well earlier in the day.

has anyone ever experienced something similar? the only scenarios i can think of is that she either died of 'natural causes' from some sort of congenital defect like a heart problem (she was related to the other giant bun i found dead), or she was killed by a predator that would hunt during the day and not be interested in eating her but would just kill her and leave her. does such a predator exist??

if anyone can shed any light on this i would be interested to know :(

Shayne_
17-10-2014, 11:12 PM
A bird of prey or even magpie may have struck and/or pecked out the eye and been unable to carry the rabbit due to weight? I know buzzards will take wild rabbits for example. My partner has studied BoP as a Uni student (Add on course to Bsc Animal behavior ) and thinks thats the most likely, talon marks would be hard to find in fur unless deeply embedded. The bun may of died from the shock? Im so sorry for your loss though. So sad :(

Binky free x

Hele
17-10-2014, 11:16 PM
I would guess that it is most likely to have been a heart related problem, continental giants are very prone to them sadly :( they are just too big. Do you have any more Contis related to the two you lost? If so I think maybe it would be worth trying a pm to see if there was any congenital heart defects so that you could look into possible preventative treatments for any other related buns.

I am very sorry for you loss xxx

Miss Binky Bunny
17-10-2014, 11:58 PM
IDK much about Continental Giants and am very sorry about your loss. I recall reading somewhere that rabbits can die of stress (or shock) because of their weak heart. Could there have been a fox or another predator that scared her to death? :(

Tamsin
18-10-2014, 01:23 AM
Sorry for your loss :(

Sending away for blood tests etc. can be very expensive, and ultimate often come back inconclusive. Sometimes a vet will 'have a look' which can detect major issues e.g. a tumour that have obvious physical signs, which is more economical as its just their time, again though it may well come back with nothing obvious.

bluebellfarm
18-10-2014, 11:28 AM
thanks everyone for your thoughtful responses.

i have decided to take her to the vets today for them to investigate - if they can even tell me if she was killed or died, that would at least give me some idea of what to do next. -yes all my contis are related. i rescued them from a sad over-breeding situation. but ive lost 6 (!) of them in the past year, so i do suspect they are not very strong :( there are only 3 left from an initial family of 9.

on the other hand, if it was a predator such as a bird of prey, then i can take precautions to prevent it from happening again.

i will report back here with the vet's thoughts. might be useful to someone else in future xx

Clare-uk
18-10-2014, 12:29 PM
Sorry you found your girl that way :(

I can't help but feel the lack of signs of a kerfuffle, the fact she was in her favourite place just makes me feel it was natural causes followed by an opportunist scavenger :(

I hope you get some answers.

Binky free little (big) bun x

Santa
18-10-2014, 04:37 PM
I'm so sorry to hear that you've lost your beautiful girl :(

I would be 99.9% certain that the missing eye is nothing to do with her death, and happened afterwards. Sorry if this is graphic but because it's a moist, open, soft membrane, it is very attractive to passing scavengers. Ants, flies and wasps can all devour an eye really quickly after death, as can a variety of birds. We have a lot of wildlife round here and when it dies, the eyes are always the first thing to disappear.

That doesn't mean that her death wasn't caused by a predator, though, although from what you've described I'd think it likely that she died of some kind of illness - for instance heart problems are very common in giant rabbits, or could she possibly have eaten something toxic in the garden? Personally I would recommend using large predator proof enclosures for bunnies, chickens etc and only allowing them supervised free range access, as that way you can be confident that they are safe from predators all the time.

Big hugs xx

ASTRID
18-10-2014, 08:36 PM
sadly i found my continental giant rabbit, rosemary, lying dead today. :cry:

as well as being very sad, her death is a mystery to me because i cant really tell how she died. there was no mark on her, no signs of a struggle and no blood, but she was missing an eye. the lack of blood despite the missing eye makes me think that it could have happened after death....there are a lot of rooks that frequent my garden, it could have been them. or even my free range hens, though that isnt a pleasant thought!
she was lying in one of her favourite spots where she spent most of her time, which is also odd....if something had been chasing her/hunting her, its quite a big coincidence that they should catch up with her there. i guess she could have been lying there and not noticed a predator and been taken by surprise....but wouldnt a predator's objective be food? why wasnt she eaten?

i lost another of my giants earlier this year in similar odd circumstances, except he was indoors at the time and was in a sleep/relaxation posture, he really looked like he'd just gone to sleep and not woken up. i actually thought he *was* asleep before i took a closer look. he wasnt missing an eye though, and rosemary was lying on her side...in not quite as natural a posture.

im really confused! i called the vets to see if they had any suggestions but they were at a loss too. i was meaning to enquire about getting a post mortem done, but they said it would be very expensive and would very likely be inconclusive, so they didnt recommend it. she had seemed absolutely fine in herself, happy and healthy. shes up to date with her vaccines. i was also at home all day and outside for a good chunk of the time and i didnt see or hear anything. whatever happened would have happened some time in the afternoon. i discovered her at 4ish and she was already stiff. but i saw her alive and well earlier in the day.

has anyone ever experienced something similar? the only scenarios i can think of is that she either died of 'natural causes' from some sort of congenital defect like a heart problem (she was related to the other giant bun i found dead), or she was killed by a predator that would hunt during the day and not be interested in eating her but would just kill her and leave her. does such a predator exist??

if anyone can shed any light on this i would be interested to know :(

sometimes we have to come to terms with the fact that we might never know what went wrong but I hope that you have fond memory's x
Astrid x :cry:

bluebellfarm
19-10-2014, 12:40 PM
Hi all,

well the result at the vets concludes that it wasn't a predator, there were no signs of trauma anywhere on her body and the eye thing occurred after death. she also commented that she was in very good condition and looking very well, which was nice to hear. I'd hate to think that she had some long term health issues that I just hadn't picked up on.
So I'm gonna guess heart trouble.

Still, at least she went in her favourite place on a sunny day!

aaammmyyy
19-10-2014, 12:42 PM
Thats very comforting to know that she passed away in one of her favorite places, sorry you lost her Xx