We have several neighbors who take a casual approach to lawn maintenance. They are essentially growing native habitat.
Word spread about the unofficial wildlife sanctuaries in the neighborhood, and rabbits began pouring in from surrounding counties. Small animals have amazingly good communication networks, despite not being adept at Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Rabbits in particular are extremely social, a statement I base on the rate at which they multiply. They have been multiplying like, well, rabbits.
Word was it started with a litter of 10. The bunnies began venturing from across the street and appearing in our backyard and on our patio in the evenings. And then they began appearing in the mornings. And then all the hours between. We were thinking of putting up a street sign that says “Slow, Bunnies at Play.”
After reconciling ourselves to the fact that we will have no parsley or dill this year, we grew to enjoy their visits. They were adorable. We watched Mopsy, Topsy and Flopsy grow from baby bunnies to toddler bunnies to pre-K bunnies.
They were so delightful that their appearances began cutting into my workday. I was continually jumping up from the computer and taking pictures through the window, sneaking out through the back door to creep up for a better angle, chasing them into the side yard and the front yard in pursuit of good shots. Some days I was spending an average of five minutes per hour working and 55 minutes stalking rabbits.
Between the husband and me, we have an entire portfolio of rabbit pictures: bunny by the lily of the valley, bunny by the red geraniums, rabbit eying a chipmunk, rabbit on hind legs feeding himself and even a picture of the proverbial tortoise and the hare.
About a month after the first bunnies began coming by, it seemed there were more bunnies. Turns out that a mama rabbit has an unusually short postpartum recovery time. She bounces back so fast that she can become pregnant the day after delivering. (And I thought a couple of our kids were close together.)
If one momma bunny had 10 baby bunnies every 30 days and there was more than one momma bunny in the wildlife sanctuary, and then the baby bunnies began having bunnies …
We now have an assortment of rabbits, representing the entire rabbit lifespan, lining up in chronological order on the patio any given day. There are baby bunnies (adorable!), pre-adolescent bunnies (prominent front teeth), teenage bunnies (they wear their cottontails low), middle-aged bunnies (widening girth) and mature AARP card-eligible rabbits (you can sneak up very close to them because their hearing is going).
The granddaddy of all rabbits is lounging out back today. He looks like he has just returned from Mr. McGregor’s garden. And that he has eaten Mr. McGregor. Possibly even Mrs. McGregor.
Now that the rabbits have diminished considerably in cuteness and grown exponentially in size and number, we are thinking of a new street sign: “Your Sunday Dinner Could Be In Our Backyard, Come and Get It.”