Do Raccoons Eat Bunnies? Raccoons Vs Rabbits

Do Raccoons Eat Bunnies

Do Raccoons Eat Rabbits? 

Yes, raccoons can eat bunnies. They are opportunistic eaters and will prey on anything they can find, including rabbits. However, rabbits are difficult for raccoons to catch, so they are not their preferred meal. Raccoons mostly hunt small, vulnerable rabbits when given the opportunity.

  • Raccoons are omnivores: They eat a variety of plants and animals, including fruits, vegetables, insects, fish, frogs, and small mammals.
  • Rabbits are a suitable prey size: Young or small rabbits are more likely to be targeted by raccoons, but even adult rabbits can be vulnerable depending on the circumstances.
  • They’re opportunistic hunters: Raccoons are intelligent and will take advantage of easy prey opportunities. If they encounter a vulnerable rabbit, they may try to attack.
  • Not their preferred meal: While rabbits are on the menu, they’re not a top choice for raccoons. Easier prey like insects or fruit might be preferred depending on availability.

Do Bunnies And Raccoons Get Along? 

Rabbits and raccoons do not typically get along, and any interaction between them is likely to be negative for the rabbit. Here’s why:

  • Predatory instinct: Raccoons will readily hunt and eat them if the opportunity arises, especially young or smaller rabbits. Even adult rabbits aren’t safe if the raccoon is particularly hungry or persistent.
  • Different social needs: Rabbits are social animals who thrive in groups, while raccoons are solitary creatures. Any attempt at interaction between them would likely be driven by the raccoon’s predatory instincts, causing stress and fear for the rabbit.
  • Competition for resources: Both rabbits and raccoons may share similar habitats and compete for food sources like fruits, vegetables, and even water. This competition can lead to further conflict.
  • Disease transmission: Raccoons carry various diseases that can be deadly to rabbits, such as rabies and canine distemper. Any interaction poses a significant health risk to the rabbit.

Rabbits VS Raccoon – Who Will Win A Fight?

In a direct encounter between a rabbit and a raccoon, the raccoon is most likely to win due to its larger size, strength, and predatory instincts. Raccoons are opportunistic omnivores with sharp claws, teeth, and a more aggressive nature, making them better equipped for physical confrontation.

On the other hand, rabbits are prey animals that typically rely on evasion and flight rather than fighting when faced with a predator. Therefore, in a direct confrontation, the raccoon is more likely to overpower the rabbit.

Explanation in table:

AspectRabbit (Bunny)Raccoon
SizeSmaller and lighterLarger and more robust
StrengthRelatively weakerStronger and more muscular
Defense MechanismsSharp teeth and speed, tendency to fleeSharp claws, teeth, and strength, aggressive nature
Predatory InstinctsPrey animal, tendency to fleeOmnivorous with predatory instincts, and strong bite force, tendency to confront
AgilityAgile and fast, tendency to fleeAgile with climbing ability
DietHerbivorous, primarily eats plantsOmnivorous, eats meat, fruits, and vegetables
Territorial BehaviorLess aggressive, more likely to avoid conflictCan be aggressive and territorial

Disease Raccoons Can Spread To Rabbits: 

  • Rabies: Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system and is transmitted through the saliva of infected animals, including raccoons. If a rabbit is bitten by a rabid raccoon, it can contract the virus, leading to serious illness and eventual death if left untreated.
  • Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection caused by Leptospira bacteria, which can be shed in the urine of infected animals, including raccoons. If a rabbit comes into contact with contaminated water or soil, it can become infected with leptospirosis, leading to symptoms such as fever, muscle pain, and organ damage.
  • Distemper: Distemper is a viral disease caused by the canine distemper virus (CDV), which can affect a wide range of animals, including raccoons and rabbits. If a rabbit is exposed to the distemper virus through contact with infected raccoons or their bodily fluids, it can develop symptoms such as respiratory issues, fever, and neurological problems, which can be fatal.

How To Protect Your Rabbit From Raccoons?

To protect your rabbit specifically from raccoons, consider implementing the following measures:

Enclosure Enhancements:

  • Upgrade the hardware: Replace flimsy wire mesh with sturdy 14-gauge galvanized steel mesh on your hutch and run. Secure all connections with strong latches and bolts.
  • Dig a “predator moat”: Surround the enclosure with a buried wire mesh fence at least 2 feet deep and bent outwards at a 90-degree angle to deter digging.
  • Create a secure roof: Use metal mesh or welded wire for the roof to prevent climbing and aerial attacks. Ensure there are no gaps or overhangs raccoons can exploit.
  • Double down on security: Consider adding a second layer of mesh with a smaller gauge on the inside for extra reinforcement.
  • Eliminate hiding spots: Remove debris, brush, and potential climbing structures near the enclosure that raccoons can use to access the rabbits.

Deterrence Tactics:

  • Motion-activated lights and sprinklers: Install motion-sensor lights and sprinklers around the enclosure to startle and deter raccoons at night.
  • Predator sounds: Utilize devices that emit predator sounds like owl hoots or barking dogs to create a sense of danger for raccoons.
  • Minimize food attractants: Clean up spilt food, seeds, or fruits near the enclosure. Seal trash cans securely and avoid composting kitchen scraps near the rabbit area.
  • Scent deterrents: Explore using predator-specific scent deterrents like coyote or fox urine, but research effectiveness and adhere to local regulations.
  • Secure rabbit feeders and water dispensers: Ensure feeders and waterers are inside the enclosure and not easily accessible from outside.

Additional Measures:

  • Bring rabbits indoors at night: If possible, bring your rabbits into a secure shed or garage overnight when raccoon activity is highest.
  • Consider a secure outdoor run: If your rabbits enjoy outdoor time, build a separate, fully enclosed run with all the security features mentioned above.
  • Stay vigilant: Regularly inspect your enclosure for any damage or potential weak points. Stay aware of raccoon activity in your area and be prepared to take additional precautions if necessary.
  • Vaccinate your rabbits: Ensure your rabbits receive regular vaccinations against common diseases that raccoons might carry.

Create a Raccoon-proof rabbit hutch:

Creating a raccoon-proof rabbit hutch is essential for ensuring the safety and security of your pet rabbit. To achieve this, it’s crucial to design the hutch with sturdy materials and secure construction methods. 

  • Sturdy walls: Ditch flimsy wire. Opt for 14-gauge galvanized steel mesh secured with robust latches and bolts. Raccoons are persistent, so strong materials are essential.
  • Dig deep: Deter burrowing attempts with a buried wire mesh fence (at least 2 feet deep) bent outwards, creating an impassable moat for furry foes.
  • Rooftop security: Metal mesh or welded wire overhead prevents climbing and aerial assaults. Eliminate gaps and overhangs that might exploit.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Raccoons and Bunnies

Q1: Do raccoons kill rabbits?

A: Yes, raccoons are capable of killing rabbits, especially if they perceive them as prey. While rabbits are not a primary food source for raccoons, they may prey on them if given the opportunity.

Q2: Will a raccoon eat a rabbit?

A: Yes, raccoons are opportunistic omnivores and will eat a wide variety of foods, including rabbits. While rabbits are not their main prey, raccoons may scavenge or hunt rabbits if other food sources are scarce.

Q3: Do raccoons actively hunt rabbits?

A: While raccoons are primarily scavengers and opportunistic feeders, they do have predatory instincts and may actively hunt rabbits if the opportunity arises. However, raccoons are more likely to prey on young, injured, or vulnerable rabbits rather than actively hunting healthy adult rabbits.

Q4: How do raccoons typically hunt rabbits?

A: Raccoons may hunt rabbits by stalking them or ambushing them when they are vulnerable, such as when they are feeding or resting. They may use their agility and sharp claws to catch rabbits or their young.

Q5: Can raccoons transmit diseases to pet rabbits if they come into contact with each other?

A: Yes, raccoons can carry diseases such as rabies, leptospirosis, and distemper, which can be transmitted to pet rabbits through bites, scratches, or indirect contact with contaminated objects. It’s important to keep pet rabbits vaccinated and prevent direct contact with wild raccoons to minimize the risk of disease transmission.

Conclusion: Coexistence in the Wild

While raccoons may prey on rabbits under specific conditions, understanding their dynamics and implementing protective measures can foster coexistence. Balancing the needs of both species within the ecosystem contributes to the intricate dance of nature, where each plays a unique role in maintaining ecological harmony.

About Tanya Garg 82 Articles
I'm Tanya, the dedicated raccoon enthusiast behind My mission is to share my knowledge about raccoons through insightful blogs, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation for these intelligent creatures. Join me on a journey to learn more about raccoons, their behavior, and the importance of ensuring their safe relocation when necessary. Let's together create a world where raccoons and humans coexist harmoniously and safely.