Wild and indoor rabbits have a lot in common.
But one thing’s for sure…
They look like real-life plushies.
But can these wild cuties harm you?
Read on to learn more:
- 5 potential threats of wild rabbits to humans.
- Things to do if a wild rabbit bites you or your kids.
- When to call animal rescue if you find a wild (baby) rabbit.
- And so much more…
Are wild rabbits dangerous to humans? 5 risks
#1: Transmit diseases
Wild rabbits carry diseases that can infect humans and animals.
And may even pose a public health hazard in your community.
Here are some infectious diseases that these wild ones can carry:
Tularemia is common in hunters.
Or people who like spending time outdoors.
However, anyone is vulnerable to this disease.
Especially when you come in close contact with a wild rabbit.
“How can you get infected with tularemia?”
Skin infection is the most common cause of transmission.
This occurs when an infected tick bites your skin.
Or when your open wound is infected upon handling wild animals.
Moreover, eating infected wild rabbits is also another cause.
And drinking contaminated water by accident.
In rare cases, tularemia infection occurs upon inhaling dust from contaminated soil.
Furthermore, this disease is also known as rabbit fever.
It’s because you can experience feverish symptoms such as:
- Joint pains.
- Dry coughs.
- Muscle pains and weakness.
In severe cases, tularemia leads to painful swelling of the eyes and throat.
Moreover, rabbit fever symptoms usually show 3-10 days after exposure.
Sometimes, it can take as long as 14 days.
Tularemia can also be found in other wild animals.
Such as muskrats and beavers.
Furthermore, common tularemia treatments include taking antibiotics.
Researchers have developed vaccines against this disease.
But they aren’t commercially available in the US yet.
Rabies in rabbits generally is a controversial subject in the rabbit-verse.
But a study clarifies it once and for all.
Researchers consider small animals like rabbits to be spillovers.
Or products of a domino effect.
“What does this mean?”
Rabbits can infect humans and animals with rabies.
Especially if they’re already infected or bitten by another animal.
So, rabbits are more likely to spread infection.
Rather than being the primary source.
When you’re bitten by an infected rabbit, watch out for these flu-like symptoms:
- Itching sensation at the bite mark.
Moreover, severe symptoms of rabies infection include:
- Brain dysfunction.
- Hydrophobia or fear of water.
Treatments for rabies infection are often done as a supportive measure.
Unfortunately, there are only a few cases of human survival ever recorded.
Wild rabbits can transmit bacteria to humans.
Especially through bites or scratches.
This is because of the bacteria that live in the oral cavities of wild rabbits.
Or in the upper respiratory tract.
These rabbits usually show no signs of bacterial infection.
But in some cases, you may notice an eye or nose discharge in them.
This is a sign that they’re infected.
Moreover, severe human infections can have the following symptoms:
- Joint infections.
- Ear and eye infections.
- Pneumonia or respiratory disease.
- Sinusitis or swelling of the linings near the nose.
- Abscesses or collection of pus in the skin or body.
Treatments include administering antibiotics to the infected person.
However, immediate medical attention is required.
Especially for those with weaker immune systems.
Exposure to wild rabbits may also cause some skin infections.
Such as dermatophytosis.
This is a fungal infection that’s also known as ringworm.
“How can you get a dermatophytosis infection?”
An infection can occur during direct skin contact with an infected rabbit.
Especially when they have skin mites and other parasites like:
Moreover, symptoms in both humans and wild rabbits include scaly skin.
And moderate hair loss.
Furthermore, treatments include antifungal medicines.
Either through skin application or oral intake.
#2: Show aggression
Wild rabbits may look cute and fluffy.
But they’re difficult to tame.
And various studies support this claim.
Interestingly, researchers found out that wild and indoor rabbits differ in some aspects.
Especially in genetics and brain structure.
Indoor rabbits tend to be less fearful of humans.
They’re able to regulate and overcome their fear.
And this is because their brains develop differently than the wild ones.
This is also the reason why wild rabbits are known to have stronger flight responses.
Or the ability to quickly respond to external factors like:
- Being held or touched.
- Seeing other animals or humans.
Plus, wild rabbits have powerful hind legs.
They can inflict pain on you like kicking.
Or biting you just to escape.
#3: Affect food supply
With greener pastures come great food opportunities.
While this is a rabbit’s instinct…
The wild ones can become pests to farmers, too.
In Australia, this problem continues to upset many landowners.
Yes. Rabbits might be the cutest culprits ever.
But a population of over 200 million is a little concerning.
“How do wild rabbits affect our food supply?”
Wild rabbits invade vegetation to graze.
Especially when their food is scarce.
And this is due to the following reasons:
- Extreme weather conditions.
- Natural disasters like floods, forest fires, etc.
According to Australia’s historical data, it all started with only 24 rabbits in 1859.
However, rabbits can reproduce fast.
Does’ (female rabbits) pregnancy lasts up to 30 days.
And they can have at least 7 litters (a group of kits in one birth) per year.
Each litter can have an average of 5 kits (baby rabbits).
Plus, young rabbits grow up fast.
They mature sexually as early as 4 months.
That said, wild rabbits have taken over Australia since the 19th century.
They destroyed huge lands of crops and vegetation.
Even their burrows (underground colony) affected soil quality.
And led to soil erosions.
Unfortunately, agricultural damage in Australia reaches over $200 million a year.
#4: Invade homes and properties
Wild rabbits are underground dwellers.
So, you may think they have no reasons to enter your homes.
In some cases, they can use your garage or anywhere in your house as a hideout.
Especially when they perceive threats nearby.
Or when they’re just wandering and exploring around.
However, they might also cause house fires.
This can happen when they chew on electrical wiring or cords.
Similar cases were reported at Denver International Airport (DIA) in the US.
Some car owners complain about wild rabbits chewing on wires in their cars.
While parking on the airport premises.
Authorities say that this costs car owners thousands of dollars in repair.
Interesting read: 23 Tips To Stop A Rabbit From Chewing Everything (How-To)
#5: Pose danger to kids
You might consider wild rabbits as a threat.
But kids see them as tiny furry buddies.
While wild rabbits look identical to house bunnies…
They aren’t ideal pets for children.
Even the domesticated ones.
“Why aren’t rabbits suitable pets for children?”
Generally, children can become physically active.
And cuddly, especially to their pets.
They’re unable to control themselves sometimes.
But rabbits don’t really like belly rubs.
Or worse, hugs and squeezes.
As a result, bunnies will only escape or defend themselves.
Either by biting your kids or kicking them.
As mentioned, wild rabbits aren’t as tame as indoor bunnies.
So, don’t let your kids touch one.
What to do if a wild rabbit bites you or your kids
In general, rabbits bite humans when they’re uncomfortable or in stress.
But first, let’s spot the difference between a nip and a bite from rabbits.
Nipping is almost like gentle pinches.
When they nip you, you’ll not bleed at all.
Or even scratch your skin.
Rabbits nip you or other bunnies as a sign of the following:
- Gentle warning.
However, this may not always be the case for wild rabbits.
They’ll mostly resort to biting you or your kids when you touch or pick them up.
That said, a rabbit bite often occurs with force or pressure.
Sometimes, they don’t even want to let go of what they’re biting.
And these can be painful and harmful.
“Can you treat rabbit bites at home?”
Here’s what you should do when a wild rabbit bites you or your kids:
#1: Assess the wound
Rabbit bites can be minor or severe.
And checking the wound helps you when to seek professional help.
For severe cases, take note of the following if the wound is:
- Continuously bleeding.
- At least 0.3 in (1 cm) deep.
- Located on sensitive parts of the body (i.e face, joints, etc).
Note: Don’t hesitate to go to the nearest hospital if the above cases happen.
For small bites, you may treat this at home.
#2: Clean the wound
Clean the wound after applying pressure on it.
Carefully rinse away traces of blood on the skin in cool, running water.
Moreover, use an antibacterial soap to clean it.
Note: Don’t pull the wound open to avoid further bleeding.
#3: Apply antibiotic ointments
After patting the wound clean and dry, apply antibiotic ointments.
This is to help moisten the wound for faster healing.
Plus, giving you an extra layer of protection from bacteria.
#4: Dress the wound
It’s best to put a bandage on the wound to prevent dirt from penetrating it.
Or prevent the wound from opening and bleeding again.
#5: Check for infections
When changing your bandages, check the wound for infections like:
- A bad odor.
- Lingering pain.
In severe cases, you may experience the following:
- Malaise or a general feeling of discomfort.
When any of these symptoms persist, seek your doctor immediately.
“Should I get a vaccine after a rabbit bite?”
You may take a tetanus shot within 48 hours after the biting incident.
Tetanus shots help prevent further infections from spreading.
However, you may need to get this shot again after 10 years.
Watch this video on how to treat rabbit bites at home:
When to call animal rescue if you find a wild (baby) rabbit
Wild rabbits might build their nest away from humans.
But sometimes they use your backyard as their nursery.
“Why do I keep seeing rabbit nests in my backyard?”
Rabbits need to keep their young away from predators such as:
Predators don’t usually wander in open areas.
So, mother rabbits perceive your property as a safe spot.
Reminder: Check your lawn or backyard before mowing.
For your reference, here’s a to-do list whenever you see wild (baby) rabbits:
#1: Check their nest
Rabbit nests look like piles of dead grass.
They’re usually behind bushes or trees.
Sometimes, right in the open.
If their nest is intact, you may leave it as is.
The mother rabbit might just be around looking for food.
Trivia: Female rabbits nurse their kits only 1-2 times a day.
#2: Create a tic-tac-toe pattern
Use grass or twigs to create a tic-tac-toe pattern above the nest.
This is to assess whether the mother rabbit returns to nurse the babies or not.
Then, check it again after 24 hours.
When the mother rabbit did return, the pattern will appear to be ruined.
With all other coverings (i.e. grass, fur) and the babies in place.
Note: A ruined pattern may also indicate the presence of predators nearby.
Especially if you see injuries on the baby rabbits.
If the pattern is untouched and you’re certain that the mother isn’t returning…
You may call your local animal rescue services for help.
If the need to rescue them on your own arises…
You may proceed to the next item.
Relevant search: Will A Momma Rabbit Remove A Dead Baby From The Nest
#3: Provide temporary shelter
You may use a cardboard box to shelter the baby rabbits.
Boxes can help them feel secure with their enclosed structure.
Also, make sure to place them in a quiet and dim spot.
Reason: Wild rabbits are underground dwellers.
They need to feel safe to rest properly.
Lastly, turn them over to your local rescue services as soon as you can.
This is to ensure that they’ll get the medical attention they need.