What Animal Eats Rabbits?

Jim, the Photographer/CC-BY 2.0

Foxes, bobcats, dogs, hawks and owls are various predators of rabbits. Snakes, crows and red squirrels consume rabbits on occasion. Humans also kill many rabbits, both deliberately as small game hunters and inadvertently when they run them over with their cars.

Wild rabbits see threats from more species than urban rabbits, including several species of owls and larger birds. One of their main avian predators is the Great Horned Owl. Great Horned Owls, like rabbits, classify as nocturnal. They feed and hunt during the nighttime, making swift and silent attacks on rabbits. Rabbits and hares, larger close cousins of rabbits that live in the Western United States, comprise nearly 75 percent of the owls’ diet.

While wild rabbits fear raptors and large mammals, urban rabbits face threats from household pets and even humans. Sometimes people accidentally disturb and damage rabbit nests performing routine activities like mowing the lawn. As with other animals, disease and illness pose threats to some rabbit populations; these animals are susceptible to tularemia, a disease that transmits to humans.

Rabbits do not often survive beyond 3 years of age. To offset the losses due to predation, rabbits have very high reproductive rates. Females can have up to seven litters each year, although the average is three or four. Rabbits often become pregnant immediately after giving birth. Rabbits mature very quickly, and females are capable of reproducing at 2 to 3 months of age.