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Rabbit numbers

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    According to the Mammal Society rabbits may have actually declined in recent years by 10 - 40%. They have launched a new app to allow the public to report sitings. I might download it. No shortage in this part of Gloucestershire lol.

     

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    On way to and from Carlisle on the train from /to Newcastle we usually have a bunny  count. This can vary depending on time of day and weather conditions. 

    We normally see an average of 20 on a small stretch about halfway but we did count around 70 one time recently. Now given the relatively small view of the countryside from a train window, the terrain, trees, embankments etc we only see a small % of the land. So I think its very possible there are a helluva a lot more bunnies on the Cumbrian / Northumbrian borders. Guess the land is not shot or other. Mostly arable  & sheep mixture with some cattle.

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    48 minutes ago, oldypigeonpopper said:

    hello, did you not see my  post on the BBC 1 reporting  this yesterday, ??

    No sorry I didn’t. 

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    1 hour ago, ClemFandango said:

    Invasive pest species. Surely an overall reduction in numbers is a good thing?

    Not entirely, now! It's all got a bit complicated.It's worth having a listen to BBC Radio 4's Costing the Earth on this yesterday. Rabbits have, in some areas altered the landscape quite dramatically, which has been brilliant for other species. Their report comes from a wildlife reserve in Suffolk (I think), where a third of their open heathland has been lost because of the catastrophic decline in rabbits. This has put significant pressure on reptiles and insects as well as birds of prey.  They have made themselves integral to the environment. 

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b2jg2r#play

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    52 minutes ago, oldypigeonpopper said:

    ok thanks to reply

    Where did you post it, OldP?

    In some parts of East Anglia the rabbits are actually encouraged in order to help the population of Curlews. ?

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    No doubt they have declined and we are down to one area that probably strings out over a mile and the numbers there are still incredible.

    It changed hands last year so never got on but sorted now and the old fella had 75ish on Saturday with the .22/.17hmr.

    sxGolyN.jpg

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    5 hours ago, chrisjpainter said:

    Not entirely, now! It's all got a bit complicated.It's worth having a listen to BBC Radio 4's Costing the Earth on this yesterday. Rabbits have, in some areas altered the landscape quite dramatically, which has been brilliant for other species. Their report comes from a wildlife reserve in Suffolk (I think), where a third of their open heathland has been lost because of the catastrophic decline in rabbits. This has put significant pressure on reptiles and insects as well as birds of prey.  They have made themselves integral to the environment. 

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0b2jg2r#play

    Thanks, I'll give that a listen

     

    It's an interesting debate isn't it?

    I spent most of my youth absolutely slaughtering rabbits by all means available, shooting, ferreting, long netting, gassing, trapping etc etc to try and reduce the population. 

    I don't sit on either side of the fence but enjoy a bit of discussion

    Rabbits were introduced here so that landscape they are trying to conserve is entirely unnatural for England, but there again we utterly slaughter grey squirrels, people are trying to totally eradicate them from the uk because they are non native and yet they occupy pretty much the same ecological niche as the Red squirrel we are so keen to protect which isn't rare, in fact is abundant on the continent. 

    Edited by ClemFandango

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    Last year loads of them ,this year mixxy and flooding odd 2,s and 3,s here and there nowhere near the high numbers .Weird could shine a red lamp last year and see an easy 30 pairs of eyes but not this year lucky to see 1 or 2 in each field 

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    6 hours ago, ClemFandango said:

    Thanks, I'll give that a listen

     

    It's an interesting debate isn't it?

    I spent most of my youth absolutely slaughtering rabbits by all means available, shooting, ferreting, long netting, gassing, trapping etc etc to try and reduce the population. 

    I don't sit on either side of the fence but enjoy a bit of discussion

    Rabbits were introduced here so that landscape they are trying to conserve is entirely unnatural for England, but there again we utterly slaughter grey squirrels, people are trying to totally eradicate them from the uk because they are non native and yet they occupy pretty much the same ecological niche as the Red squirrel we are so keen to protect which isn't rare, in fact is abundant on the continent. 

    I know what your saying about rabbits being introduced but was it not by the Romans? their pretty much part of the furniture now.

    we get the odd few round my way and going to Carlisle the other week i saw 0, I wasn't looking out the train constantly but never saw a one.

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    Slightly surreal getting 2 email notifications at the same time. One from this thread where people are worried about rabbits and one from the thread totting up how many were killed...

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    It seems to be very patchy. If everyone gave their county we might see a pattern. So I would say in Gloucestershire their population is still healthy.

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    hello, while this may sound a reasonable request from the Mammal Society. i can foresee that depending on how many people take this up using the app it might encourage trespassing on private land, another headache for farmers and land owners, or anyone involved with pest control, 

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    I listened to the first few minutes of that BBC clip where it says "When did you last see a wild rabbit". Took the dog out for a night time wee and saw one. Seem to be plenty around here.

    I'm not overly concerned as they breed so rapidly their numbers could quickly get back up to plague proportions - the whole reason diseases like mixy and RHV were introduced in the first place. I appreciate that decline in numbers has knock on effect for predators but isn't that how nature works?

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    A quick google search shows articles 2 years ago suggesting rabbit numbers had exploded. Now it’s all about decline. Only a few need to survive for them to come back strong in the right conditions.

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    I think it was about 4 years ago we had a massive explosion in the rabbit population.  My son and I shot about 900 in the months of May to mid August. 

    No night shooting, just 1800 till dark.

    We made no difference to the numbers.

    Late August and Myxy came and cleared the lot out.

    The whole area stenched of decomposition. 

    Without Myxy and R H D most PW members would be very much sort after and very rich !

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