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Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Strange Case of the Headless Rabbit

My cousin found a headless rabbit in her yard. She immediately suspected that the neighborhood's stray cats were responsible.

One of the reasons I don't wholly object to my mother, and my cousin's mother, sustaining the local stray cats with bowls of food and water replenished daily is that I hoped that they might help to hold down the local population of rodents and rabbits (which, I believe, are not technically rodents.) Rabbits run rampant through our gardens every year. Field mice stray from the fields into our houses. I have had to deal with several vole infestations in my garage and my garden shed, to the point that I considered calling in the vole's natural enemy - the mink.* (Images of releasing a mink in my garage to go on a vole hunt caused me no end of amusement two years ago. But what do you do with the mink afterwards? I suppose I would then have to introduce a fur trapper into my garage ecosystem.)

Still, it didn't seem to me that a cat would simply decapitate a rabbit. "Why take the head and leave the soft, delicious abdomen unscathed?" I asked. She agreed that this would be a strange thing for a cat to do - but, hey, cats catch mice and leave them as gifts for their owners rather than eating them. Cats are weird.

"So what else would have done it?" she asked.

"A bird, maybe?" I suggested.

A few years ago I saw my first vole, sort of, in a birdbath. Actually it was half a vole, the back half. I thought it was some sort of strange blossom that had landed in my birdbath, with a short stem and a black bud and a red blossoming flower. The "stem" turned out to be the vole's tail, the black "bud" was its back half, and the red "blossom" was just its guts spreading through the water. Ah, isn't nature lovely?

I figured some bird of prey had swept down and snatched a hapless vole as it scurried across my lawn towards the safety of my garden shed. The vole, a fat mouselike critter, put up a valiant struggle as the bird perched on the birdbath and gathered its strength to carry the rodent off in its beak. Maybe the vole scored some points with its sharp little teeth. (I had a vole bite me once, when I caught one just outside my garden shed and picked it up to study it. Dumb.) The bird, growing annoyed, realizing that it was in danger of losing its meal, and instinctively understanding the rapidly diminishing net energy gain from this food source as it subtracted out the increasing amount of effort being expended to secure the food source, made a snap decision and bit down hard with its powerful beak, cutting the vole in half and ending its struggles. Pleased with its decision, it let the part of the vole that had been outside its beak drop into the birdbath and flew off to consume its meal, or perhaps share it with a mate or its chicks.

That's what I guessed happened. It would have to be a pretty big bird, since voles are about half again as big as your average field mouse.

You would need a really big bird to bite the head clean off a rabbit.

It was a clean removal, too. Neat. No sign that the head had been torn from the body. What would do that?

Well, aside from a passing eagle, the only serious guess I could venture was a human. What else would remove the tough, crunchy head and leave the soft, chewy body behind?

I came up with some other theories. Maybe the rabbit was attacked by zombie rabbits, hungry for rabbit brains. Maybe the rabbit was a zombie rabbit and decapitation was the only certain means of killing it. Perhaps this was a rare Highlander Hare, lepus immortalus, and it was killed in single combat with another of its kind. I dunno.

Still, I'm gonna be on the lookout for a big, big bird prowling the neighborhood. A bird with an appetite for rabbit heads.

*I may be wrong here. Looks like the mink, in England, preys on a critter called the water vole, which looks pretty different from my garden-variety voles. Minks have put a significant dent in water vole populations. I first read about this in New Scientist a while back.


SEE ALSO: Headless Rabbits: Germany

149 comments:

Anonymous said...

My guess would be a hawk attacked the bunny, kind of grabbed it by it's head and chomped down a little to hard while flying with it in it's mouth and deposited the fleshy part of the rabbit in your neighbor's yard while still flying with the head in it's beak. We have a lot of hawks around my house and they've been seen attacking blue jays (which are very mean birds)and snakes and flying off with what will be their kill. I live in fear during the summer that a hawk will drop a snake on me from the sky !!!

Betz said...

Man, you guys are scaring me.....

Mr. H.K. said...

Sounds like a witches spell!

Anonymous said...

So I was just googling "what bites the head off a rabbit" because this exact thing happened at my house recently, and I found your blog.

I found a headless rabbit, otherwise in perfect shape. No blood or anything, just a pink scar where the head should be.

I had the same problems you had with guessing the culprit. My suspects were: cat, dog, hawk, fox. But what would leave the body? The rabbits at my house are huge from unguarded gardens and birdseed. I didn't think a cat or hawk would have the mouth power to cleanly take the head off.

I know the rabbit was killed during the afternoon, a time when I've never seen a fox in the yard. So I'm left with the dog (hoping it wasn't humans). Our neighbor has a large boxer, and I'm think a large dog could grab and twist it off with a couple of hard jerks. Anyway, that's my guess. It's still weird.

Anonymous said...

So I was just googling "what bites the head off a rabbit" because this exact thing happened at my house recently, and I found your blog.

I found a headless rabbit, otherwise in perfect shape. No blood or anything, just a pink scar where the head should be.

I had the same problems you had with guessing the culprit. My suspects were: cat, dog, hawk, fox. But what would leave the body? The rabbits at my house are huge from unguarded gardens and birdseed. I didn't think a cat or hawk would have the mouth power to cleanly take the head off.

I know the rabbit was killed during the afternoon, a time when I've never seen a fox in the yard. So I'm left with the dog (hoping it wasn't humans). Our neighbor has a large boxer, and I'm think a large dog could grab and twist it off with a couple of hard jerks. Anyway, that's my guess. It's still weird.

D.B. Echo said...

My cousin's boyfriend declared that it was an owl. Still, that would have to be a pretty damned big owl.
A Google search of "headless rabbit" will turn up this story of how the sudden appearance of a headless rabbit figured into a political race:
http://www.csindy.com/csindy/2000-07-13/news.html
Weird. And I still continue to get "headless rabbit" hits all the time from all over, so its definitely not something isolated. But until I see a decapitated rabbit drop from the sky, I still won't be satisfied with the owl/hawk/eagle theory.

cynthia said...

Hi I live in the South of England, and that just happened to our rabbit, on the 31st of December 06.
I was looking for him in the morning in our back garden, and I found his body with no head! It was horrible, we don't know how it happened, he was quite a big french floppy ears, and it was a very clean cut, it was distressing to see. I heard owls for the past few days and suspect of foxes as well, but why leave the body?!
I just hope it wasn't a nasty person trying to play tricks on us. We are very sad about and quite chocked. Also on the attempt to find his head we found a little toy doll, that sort of playmobil, in front of our garage door, that looks like me!!! Then I panicked, never felt so scared. Probably just coincidence.......something that fell from my son's toybox maybe.

Anonymous said...

It was definately a cat. We live in the country and our cat eats the head and only the head of rabbits all the time. We found this blog by searching "cat rabbit's head" to find out why they just eat the head... no answer to that here, but they do. And in the same manner described here by others, pretty clean cut (chew) and little blood.

People say that animals in nature don't kill for the fun of it, but cats appear to be an exception. I like felines, but they are seriously sick creatures.

D.B. Echo said...

I was just reading some conversations among bird-lovers who pointed out that cats (domestic cats, anyway) are an exotic invasive species in North America. Whule the devastation they have wrought is not as great as what has happened in, say, New Zealand with the Kakapo population, it would still explain why they behave so unnaturally towards native species.

Except, of course, that rabbits are also native to the places that spawned domestic cats. Oh, well. Maybe it's just that cats can be vicious and weird.

Grant said...

,,BLOGGING HEADLESS RABBIT,,,,,,,WAS BOWHUNTING,,SAW MAGPIES,,WENT DOWN DRAW TO LOOK,,,,,,,,,,,,,,HEADLESS COTTONTAIL,,,,,,,,,FRESH KILL,??IS A FEW BOBCATS AND COUGARS IN AREA,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,WIFE ASKED IF I WAS WALKING IN MY SLEEP,,TOLD HER TO WATCH ME AT NIGHT,,HA.

Anonymous said...

Another headless rabbit for you - I came down this morning to find my large french lop rabbit minus head. Again, similar to the other stories, head missing, quite a clean cut, no bleeding and no damage elsewhere on the body. Have searched the garden for the head and can't find it, or any clumps of fur etc, (just hope its not ended up next door where there are kids). I have a very enclosed garden and the cats here were scared of my rabbit. It seems surprising if it's a fox as there is no destruction at all, the body was just lay stretched out with no head. What would do it???

Anonymous said...

Same problem in my garden. I live in Italy in the countryside and our 3 rabbits disappeared in 2 separate "attacks". Only one rabbit was found and it was headless, a seemingly clean cut and no sign of the head anywhere. The neighbour has fairly big cats, one of whom did run off with a baby rabbit a few months ago, killing it after playing with it. After that experience the rabbits were penned in with a fence about 1 metre high. Maybe the cats were able to jump over? No sign of damage that foxes would cause. I also suspect it may have been a bird of prey. If my daughter gets more rabbits, I'm going to have to fence in the roof too. She was distraught to say the least on finding her rabbit in that state.

D.B. Echo said...

I am still so confused about why anything would take the head and leave the body. Are we humans missing out on some taste sensation by not eating rabbit heads? Or is the head of a rabbit less likely to be infested with nasty parasites than, say, the muscles or the guts?

It's fascinating to see that this is a global issue!

ek3bleh said...

Do you have a chain-link fence? I heard that the rabbits don't see the fence if they are running too quickly and then somehow the metal of the fence decapitates them.

D.B. Echo said...

I'm, ummm, pretty sure that can't happen. (Though it can happen to ATV riders who ride their ATVs at high speeds on private property - you never know where someone might have strung a wire on their own property.) And there were no chain link fences near my cousin's house.

ek3bleh said...

It seemed pretty unlikely to me too.

Anonymous said...

Hi
guess what ............... found my rabbit in the same way no head to be found. She lived free in the garden with my rottie [ untill he died a few months back ] and was perfectly safe didn't want to cage her,definately a cat as one was stalking her for weeks.
Cats are cruel [ especially ginger ones ]

Anonymous said...

It is definitely a owl. The owl severs the heads of animals for the brains.

Anonymous said...

i just discovered one of our new baby bunnies that emerged from a burrow several weeks ago headless on our rock wall with the bowels next to it. the next morning same thing, another rabbit in the same condition, same spot. we do have many owls that have picked off our rabbits before and once they find out where they are, one a day goes missing. i once saw an owl pick up one of our large and heavy outside rabbits and try to fly off with it. it didn't quite make it over the wooden fence with the rabbit and it dropped.

Anonymous said...

I`m pretty sure its a cat.

My cat will bring a rabbit back to the house every other day (cat flap to kitchen) and will eat the head, and as you say its a clean cut, just a perfect rabbit no blood or bloken limbs.

I do not know why he does it but he will always leave the rabbit with no head in the kitchen in the corner of the room.

I would really like to get to the bottom of this cause it makes me sick nearly every morning.

Anonymous said...

We found our first headless rabbit today in our lawn (Lagrange, Ohio - just west of Cleveland). It wasn't a wild rabbit, though. It was a huge domesticated rabbit. We have a house across the highway where they let their rabbits roam free in the yard and they sometimes end up as road kill. I'm guessing this one made it's way across the highway OK, but fell victim to what I'm assuming is a cat. One of our other neighbors feeds ferile cats, so one of these probabably ended up with a fresh rabbit head!
Our 3 labs typically keep the cats out of our yard, but if the dogs would have gotten the rabbit, it would have had slobber all over it. This was a clean rabbit minus the head.

May said...

When I was a kid, one of my cats left me a decapitated rabbit. I know it was him because he had to drag it in through the cat door to leave it on the garage door step for me. And this wasn't a small rabbit either!

Sarah said...

Like others, I found my way to your post by googling headless rabbit. I came home today to find three baby wild rabbits had been taken out of their burrow by our garage and left headless on our walkway. I am completely baffled for many of the same reasons: what would eat just the head? And what would make a bite clean? One of the rabbits' heads was cut off with an almost surgical precision--the neck even sealed back up. You would have almost believed it had been born that way. My husband and I have been leaning towards the owl theory, but as young as those bunnies were the owl would have almost certainly had to get them out himself. Do they do that? Also, the burrow was wedged between a large rock pile and the side of the garage, a space of perhaps 6 inches. Could an owl have gotten back there?

It is definitely a mystery. I don't know of any stray cats living in the neighborhood, though I'm sure like everywhere they are out there.

D.B. Echo said...

I have a theory as to the perfectly clean cuts: after the head was removed, the remaining neck was nibbled away. This may sound unlikely, unless you remember the "cattle mutilations" of the 1970s and early 1980s, where something (presumably aliens or government agents in balack helicopters) would kill cattle and remove body parts with "surgical precision", leaving very clean cuts with no ragged endges. Eventually it was determined (by whom, I don't know) that the clean cuts were consistent with the feeding marks of coyotes, who apparently nibble away the ragged edges of any wounds they make.

Still very weird. Like, are cats cruching up these skulls and swallowing them? Or are there rabbit heads scattered all over the backyards of suburbia, hidden in the bushes? My comment above almost makes me think that this could be the work of coyotes, which are widespread throughout the US. But I don't know how common they are elsewhere, or if there are analogous predators who routinely inttrude on human habitation worldwide. Other than cats, I mean!

Anonymous said...

I found this blog in a google search on "eat rabbit head" - 2nd page of results. My story is, I was picking up sticks this morning prior to mowing the lawn and found a dead rabbit, head missing. It was very young, maybe just out of the warren. There was a small blob of fur next to it that turned out to be it's nose and mouth. The tongue was intact and protruding slightly. TMI? Sorry. So anyway, I picked the body up in a paper towel to throw it in the trash (which was fortunately getting picked up today) and the body was not only limber, it was still warm. I figure whatever killed the poor little varmit did it either immediately prior to, or maybe while, I was walking my daughter to school a half hour earlier. Glad she didn't see that!

D.B. Echo said...

That's the first report I've heard of any part of a head being found!

Someday, somebody will catch whatever is decapitating rabbits in the act. This just too weird.

Commentors: Please let me know where you're from! There have been comments on this issue from all around the world, and it would be interesting to see just how widely distributed incidents of rabbit decapitations are!

Nick said...

The headless rabbit is definitely the result of a cat attack. I live in Somerset South West UK, and have a young tortoiseshell who is an expert hunter - she caught(and ate) her first mouse aged 4 weeks! It is spring now and the nests are full of fledgling birds and the warrens full of rabbit kits, she is having a field day (literally). Aside from the odd mad moment trying to knock butterflies out of the air she focuses only on ground based prey and eats most of her kills. We do not have a cat flap, and we wont be getting one anytime soon - all the gore stays outside.!! I will try and catch her in the act and film it but its pretty disgusting...why do they only eat the head?? Well the lack of parasites is a strong theory but I personally am not entirely sure. Ny the way - if the bunny is left undisturbed after the cat has had its head off, the next visitors will be the carrion birds such as crows/jackdaws or magpies....so its not a witch or owl etc..but i like the possibility of Brain-Eating Zombie Rabbits or Rabbit Immortals battling it out for the Quickening!!

John said...

Edit from my other post i live in Arbroath, Scotland, UK

James said...

I just found my pet rabbit this morning minus head and front left leg. Pretty clean also. Our rabbit was quite large and used to chase other cats. The garden is enclosed with fairly high fencing apart from a 3 foot bit down the bottom. There was a lot of fur there so must have been frenzied attack. The body was lyin 3 yards away and wasn't stiff at all. I wonder if a fox would do it, however I thought foxes just kill. There have been reports of a large black cat nearby like a panther? We live in a town on a cul de sac estate in Wisbech Cambridgeshire. Any suggestions?.. James

Anonymous said...

Curious, I found this blog by googling "cut off rabbit heads." We live in a nice neighborhood and while eating breakfast today noticed a rabbits head, no body, sitting nicely placed on the barbeque grill side shelf out on the back patio. We found out soon that our neighbors had found a head at the base of a tree on their front lawn just a few days ago too. It looks like a clean cut and it's sitting there, right side up, on top of the grill. All I can imagine is a human, but why?

Diane said...

Its definitely cats. But only tom cats. I moved to the country in Feb and my two cats, a girl and a boy regularly bought me mice but they never ate them,just tossed them about until the poor things died. However, about 3 weeks ago, my tom cat got a thing for rabbit, brings one home every other day, brings into kitchen and always takes it to the door mat where he proceeds to decapitate it and crunch the head until nothing remains. Yes they scream and so do i. He always walks away as soon as the head has been crunched and devoured, leaving me to dispose of the poor, limp headless body. I love him dearly but i do feel a little scared when he does this. But my she cat has never caught a rabbit let alone beheaded one! And i'm sure she looks on in horror when her brother performs his morning ritual!

Anonymous said...

Beat this... the decapitated rabbit we found was ON OUR ROOF. Good for the Hawk/Owl theory. Hmmm...
Mpls, MN USA

Anonymous said...

My google was decapitated rabbit, so here I am. Our white lop eared and English rabbits live(d) free in the garden in Portsmouth in the south of England, and have for a couple of years. They usually boss the cats, including our own cat. I've always believed our garden to be fox-proof, and still do, it would need to be the fox from the milk tray advert to get in. So, owls? possible I suppose. Other cat? Very possible, the neighbourhood has plenty. Our own cat? Well he has been vomiting a lot today, maybe rabbit brain disagrees with him? Conclusion: Another cat I suppose.

David said...

We're in West Yorkshire, UK. As other posters we found this site via google as one of our rabbits was found decapitated this morning - very clean wound, no remains of head to be found, no fur or anything else lying around. We have a cat who is a bit of a hunter (mice, rats, birds), but when the rabbits have been playing in the garden generally they have bullied and chased the cat so that seems unlikely. Hope so, he's in big trouble if it turns out it was him.

Anonymous said...

WITCH SPELL is what it is...

If a rabbit is found with its head pulled off, someone has placed a spell on you. Not a good one I might add. If the head is laying beside the rabbit someone has placed a love spell on someone at the residence. To remove both spells, poor an entire container of baby power over the remains and leave them there. Do not remove them. Make sure the baby powder is talc and not corn starch.

Cindy said...

Hello, found this as others did by googling "headless rabbit". There isn't anything new to add, just that I discovered a rabbit with no head, looking otherwise quite peaceful... lying in my front yard. Hopefully I have not been cursed as the last poster suggested ;) I rarely if ever see any cats outdoors, I'm guessing hawk or owl?? Anyway, it kinda creeped me out! BTW, I live in Lansing, Michigan.

Anonymous said...

Living in Frisco, TX, My 7year old was greeted this morning by "something yucky" on our doormat. We all chose to use the other door to get to the bus quickly. I'm glad we did since it turned out to be three dead baby rabbits ( very young) all beheaded. One on the doormat, one on the poarch - about 50 cm away and one in the adjacent flower bed. This one was also missing a front leg.
There are not many cats roaming around since there are some coyotes. Once I saw a bobcat though coming through the metal fence into our backyard and I also saw an owl once. With all these wild animals though I have trouble imagining them on my doormat!

Anonymous said...

Hi I live in hertfordshire UK, I had a huge French lop, it was kept in a hutch with a run attached to it. One morning i sadly found the rabbit dead and headless at the end of the garden and could not even see how it got out the hutch and run, let alone what had killed it and managed to cut its head off. There was no gap between the hutch and the run, the rabbit could only have got out the hutch if something had moved the heavy pen back and then pushed it closed again after!! It is certainly a mistery. I would love to know what animal it is that does this?

Anonymous said...

From Columbia, MO...this morning I go out for a morning cigarette on our back deck to be greeted by 4 dead rabbits, 2 without heads.

This is about the 4th or 5th time since we moved here some 5 years ago.

Definitely my cat on a killing spree. As I'm standing there smoking, he walks up and starts licking the stump of one.

Like many of you, I'm looking for the why. BTW...my google: "cats eating rabbit heads"...1st hit.

Anonymous said...

Found two headless bunnies in my backyard this morning, another one cowering and shaking behind a lilac bush. I thought 'raccoon' because they get big and bold here in Minneapolis by the Minnehaha parkway, but I couldn't figure out why just the heads were eaten. Poor lil critters were just a few weeks old. After reading all the posts here, I'm pretty sure my neighbor's cat is the culprit. Not being the most nimble creature I'm sure he fished them out of the den in a lazy fat way. I'm intent on building a little rabbit sanctuary, condo-community type thing to give them a chance to be able to hide from that bastard.

Kitty said...

Found a headless jack rabbit on my side semi enclosed porch this morning about 11am. There was alot of blood splattered on the side of my house and concrete porch where it must have been attacked. It was a gory ghastly shock to walk around the corner and see that mutilated creature. The whole body was intact and all four feet. All that was left were two 8" ears, the heart (seperate and creepy), the nose and teeth with the eye sockets picked clean. No skull or brain. The body was not rigid. Still had some give to it.
My home is completely fenced with a 6" high block wall and iron gates made to keep my dogs inside.
I have seen and heard a large owl around my place in past years, but nothing lately.
Could an owl really have cornered and attacked that large jack rabbit (7lbs) in such a protected area? It just gives me the creeps. I couldn't believe all the blogs about headless rabbits. Well, here is another to add to all of them. I live in So. Calif. in a remote area about 10 miles from Palm Springs. True Story.

Matt said...

This blog is a great relief! We found our two fat domestic rabbits headless this morning. We live in an inner city house in Sydney Australia. The heads were missing and I assumed some freak had got over the fence. (was it my anti development stance at the last council meeting?) Although it seems we'll never know for sure its good to see its not an isolated incident - we have feral cats and owls around here but I think I'll go the cat theory although theres no real evidence.

Oak Street said...

I'm writing from St. Paul, MN and I found this blog searching "cat found a rabbit's nest." Our neighbor's cat found a nest with four baby rabbits in it. The nest was in a trough in our garden, and the rabbits didn't seem to have enough strength to jump out of the trough, so it looked like a death trap to me. With some misgivings, I moved the nest about four feet away, just outside the garden fence. I only hope they'll survive a few more days. I think it's a losing battle, though; smoothly decapitated rabbits are a common sight around our house, thanks to that cat. We love her, and we try to turn a blind eye to her beastly ways, but if I find little headless bodies on our walkway tomorrow, my heart will harden a little.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Pennsylvania, USA, and today my mother found a headless rabbit in her garden. The rabbit was wild, and apparently moved into the untended garden upon discerning it to be a good home a few weeks ago. I saw it yesterday, and upon closer inspection, my mother found that it was wounded on its rear left leg. Apparently something had attacked it, and sometime between last night and this morning (after we placed the rabbit back in the garden, as it was sulking in the neighbor's driveway) killed it, severing the head and leaving the body. There are a few roaming domestic and stray cats in the neighborhood, but I always thought that if you make the kill, you take the whole thing. Hawks would have outright gutted the rabbit, and there are very few in my area. It wasn't a big rabbit either, medium sized and about a foot long. Couldn't weigh more than 4 or 5 pounds.

It's stunning to see that this is happening almost world wide. I thought it was some sort of alien invasion at first, maybe a grudge holding race of rabbit-beheading aliens. Nonetheless, our wild rabbit will be sorely missed.

Douglas Hilbert said...

My cat brought home another vole (maybe his 50th) except this time alive. We've had the rabbits/bunnies, half-squirrel, headless birds as well. They look nice on the front porch.

Being the compassionate human I attempt to be I "free" vole from the ginger feline's mouth... and of course it bit me. (Someone earlier commented ginger kitties are the most ruthless, I agree. We have a body count over 100 in a year)

Those voles have some sharp teeth in that tiny hole of a mouth. He wouldn't let go either so I had to fling it off of my finger.

No good deed goes unpunished in nature I guess, so I let the cat get it and kill it.

Anonymous said...

Our sweet-tempered 5 year-old tabby, Sonny Boy, big lug that he is (16 1/2 pounds), has brought nothing more menacing to our doorstep here in NW Illinois than an occasional mouse or mole - for which we heartily congratulate him. He's well fed at home so usually brings them intact. They look like they're asleep. Until this summer. We just got over the shock of finding 3 wee bunnies minus their heads scattered about our driveway a couple of weeks ago and now we've found a headless baby bunny on our doorstep and the carnage continued around to the back of the house - 5 bodies in all. I still couldn't believe my sweet baby had done it until I looked at him closely and saw the blood on his whiskers. That's when I googled "why does my cat eat rabbit heads" and landed here. Why???

Anonymous said...

I tend to agree with the hawk theory. Last year I found my 2 rabbits decapitated in the garden, no sign of the heads. Around the same time a few of my neighbours spotted a hawk killing pigeons in their gardens, my garden included. It would pluck their feathers out then just leave the bodies. Very strange behaviour! I live in the north east of England UK.

Rudy said...

2009 in Westchester NY...

Just another example of a decapitated rabbit. I found this one under my bay window. The head was removed clean as if it was done with a scalpel. No other damage was found to the body. Until I found this website I assumed someone was trying to give me a "godfather" message...:) I have been told there are coyotes around but have never seen one myself. I have seen bald eagles, hawks, raccoons, cat's, skunks, and a fox once. I am a bit of a nature buff, and have spent much time in the woods hunting and fishing upstate NY and I have never see an animal take the head of its kill and leave the rest of the body to decompose, but I guess anything is possible. Normaly all you find is the head attached to a completly eaten skeleton. I would have assumed that someone (human) killed this rabbit when hunting, and left it out in there yard, and something carried it away, but around where I found the carcass it's very sandy and there were no foot prints. I would have to assume it was a type of bird.

Anonymous said...

I had 2 Rabbits living outside year round in a double hutch for 4 years. 2 months ago I found 1 of them inside her locked hutch missing her head. Today I found the male inside his hutch inside his "safety box" missing his head. If it's an owl they must have wire cutters. There is no sign of forced entry, the doors are all "locked " and the hutch seems to be in perfect order. It either has to be a person who has cut their heads off( This kinda reminds me of Fatal Attraction)or some kind of infection that rapidly eats away the heads. On the female it looked as if she was scalped from her chin to the back of her head she had skin and ears but no skull. With both rabbits there was fur but no blood. I live around Toronto,Ontario.



Ohh and for the first lady who posted-I had a vulture drop a dead water snake on me inside my jeep with the top off last summer. Nearly drove off the road thinking it was an alive rattler.

Anonymous said...

I also found this site while searching for an answer to the mysterious decapitation of a wild rabbit left in our driveway, and I'm sorry to say, that there were several lol moments along the way...but just as others have stated, I'm pretty certain it was our ginger cat(always thought he was a sweet guy?)I just had a hard time believing he could catch an adult rabbit, and like everyone else wondered, why just eat the head and leave the other parts that most other carnivores find to be a delicacy? He went back to his kill a moment ago, pushed it around a bit and mouthed on it, but then left it alone( perhaps until he's hungry again?). I know one thing's for sure...he won't be getting any smooches from me today! We live in White House, TN.

singlecreek605 said...

Like most of the posts here, I, too, was baffled when I found a headless, adult-sized rabbit in our yard (White House, TN). My first thought was our cat(yes, he's a ginger, but a very sweet guy), but I couldn't imagine him being able to catch and kill a wild rabbit. And then, only eat the head?? It didn't fit with my knowledge of carnivores that usually will gut the animal first as the choicest part of their kill. Before I got the poor thing picked up the cat returned and pushed it around a bit, but then walked away. There's one thing for sure, and that's that I will no longer lavish smooches on this guy...yuck!

Anonymous said...

Found a headless cottontail at the edge of the woods behind my house (Bowling Green, KY) this morning. We've got raccoons, foxes and coyotes, but I suspect a cat because those other critters wouldn't leave the body. They need all the calories they can get.

Anonymous said...

I'm in Texas & this is what happened today: So I never thought I'd be here blogging about this but I too have found a headless baby rabbit however the head was just a little bit away from the body. We found all of this so strange that it led me to google all kinds of cut off rabbit head searches. My husband actually found the baby bunny & showed me later that day, just how it was left. We have always had baby rabbits in our front yard flower beds, every year for the past five years, we have never found one dead. This is what makes it so strange, it's head was cut off with its top jaw intact but sort of cut at an angle,the lower half of his jaw was still attached to the body. It was very fresh,there was a pile of white stuff which I'm assuming was the bowels, next to his body.The body was laying on top of a landscaping brick with the head just so many inches away on the ground. The little bunnies eyes were clinched shut.It didn't look as if any part of it was missing.? We thought someone must have cutt off his head very carefully with a very sharp knife, but why? If an owl was to have done this or any other animal or bird for that fact why would'nt they take any part of it? I have 2 pet rabbits myself, which stay in cages in our back yard along with our 120lb golden retriever, pomeranian and chihuahua. So naturally we're now a little concerned about what the heck did this! It's very strange! Glad I found this site, at least I know we're not the only ones.

Anonymous said...

Found a headless rabbit in my back yard this morning. I've seen this rabbit run around every once in awhile. Two weeks ago I got a wooden fence installed. Now I know this rabbit did not live on my property. Something had to have brought the rabbit on to my property because the fence is flush with the ground, there is no room for the rabbit to crawl under. I find it unlikely for a cat to have caused this because it would have had to jump over a 6 foot fence with the adult rabbit in it's mouth. The head was clean off with no damage whatsoever to the rest of the body. The head can not be found on my property. The hawks around here are slightly larger than the rabbit itself. So I'm only left with human (logically).

Anonymous said...

Just found a headless rabbit this morning in yard,it was a domestic rabbit, one of several we have running around. Was surprised that only head was missing and rest of body okay. Even more surprised at how often this has happened to others when I googled killed headless rabbit. Sure would like to get some confirmation on what is doing this, Columbus, Ohio

Anonymous said...

Just found a headless rabbit this morning in yard,it was a domestic rabbit, one of several we have running around. Was surprised that only head was missing and rest of body okay. Even more surprised at how often this has happened to others when I googled 'killed rabbit head missing'. Sure would like to get some confirmation on what is doing this, Columbus, Ohio

Anonymous said...

My cat will hunt rabbits this time of year and when she leaves them for us they usually will be intact except the head always is eaten part way even through the skull. Like a hole in the rabbits head. I was wondering why she does this.
Many other times we also find the heads missing.

Anonymous said...

just found my mini lop (even tho she isn't mini-about 2foot long when she stretched out) dead in the garden, clean cut to head, cant find the head anywhere! i have no idea what did it, because im sure my rabbit is bigger than most cats around here?! poor rabrab! Windsor, UK

pf-Arizona said...

Found headless rabbit in backyard. Clean cut, as if meat cleaver had taken it off. No blood. Snowflake, Arizona, USA

Anonymous said...

Found a headless rabbit in our front yard this morning, Dothan AL. Worried someone did this...human. We are new to our neighborhood so wouldn't think we had any enemies but still...makes you wonder. I am hoping it is cat theory or bird dropping it from sky. Thanks for post. I too googled headless rabbit and made my way to this blog.

Anonymous said...

A few weeks ago, I too found a headless dead young rabbit next to our oak tree in the back yard. Then, about a week later, our neighbors across the street found 3 headless bunnies in their back yard. We do hear owls hooting at night, so my best guess is that the owls like the brain matter for the fat content. Urbandale, IA, USA

Anonymous said...

i caught my cat chomping away on a rabbits head. dusty(the cat) had dragged the rabbit through the cat flap into the small porch way which is cordened off by another door which as another cat flap which leads into the kitchen ,by the time i had discoverd this, the head was almost gone,all what was left looked like the top of the skull with an ear attached but the body was fully intact,i opened the door and tried to shoo the cat out into the garden with the rabbit, but he wouldn`t leave the porchway and just growled at me if i went anywhere near ,so i retired to bed thinking i might find blood and guts every where the next day,but i was suprised to find the body of the rabbit fully intact just minus the head,i think this is probably a very instinctive act ,they probably eat the head first just to make sure that the rabbit realy is dead and he aint gonna make a run for it ,and the body which is left would be eaten if the cat became hungry again,but because we feed the cats there is no rush for the cat to finish the poor rabbit off ,thats why i think we also find dead mice in the kitchen ,i don`t think that the cat is leaving a present for us as some people like to think ,i don`t think cats deal like that "i`ll bring you a mouse if you tickle my belly and feed me". cats have been around as long as we have maybe longer ,it is probably the way they have always survived by using where they live has a food store

aimijenkins said...

I live on the south east coast of England.
Yesterday morning my Husband was leaving for work when he saw a fox next to our back gate trying to drag one of our rabbits through.
He chased him off,but the rabbit was already dead and cold.
He then noticed that our pidgeon was missing.
Did it kill both rabbit and pidgeon?Take the pidgeon then come back for the rabbit?
We had eight more rabbits,so we made sure they were secure.
However,This morning our Giant lop ear was found Dead and HEADLESS at the back gate. It was also very clean no mess no fur.
Was it the fox again?
Will he keep coming back as we have 7 more rabbits.
How on earth can a fox open hutches?

aimijenkins said...

I am on the south east coast of England. Yesterday morning about 6.30am my husband was leaving for work and spotted a fox at the back gate. It was trying to drag our rabbit through by the head. My husband chased it off but it didnt go quickly,he had to get up really close.
Sadly the rabbit was already dead and cold. He then noticed our pigeon was gone. Did the fox kill them both,take the pidgeon then come back for rabbit?
We were baffled as to how he got them out of hutch and run. Having had 8 more rabbits we checked and made sure they were secure.
However,We sadly found our giant lop ear by the back gate this morning. He was HEADLESS. It was clean,no mess or fur.
Was it the fox again.
How did the fox get them?
will he keep coming back for the rest?
Why did he only take the head?
My poor bunnies.

Anonymous said...

This is a great forum. Yesterday my fiance and I returned home from a two day trek, when our housemate asked us if we had any enemies. I thought is was an odd question, She told us that there was a cleanly decapitated bunny on our welcome mat in front of our door. Weird, very weird. I told her that we didn't have any such enemies, and that it was probably an enemy of her's who unknowingly place it in front of our door and instead of hers...haha. We have a garden as well...with lots of bunnies...

thomas said...

I feel much better after reading all these comments. The 4 baby headless bunnies found this morning in Cicero ny in my driveway we just as described. Clean cut with no blood. Looks like a knife cut but that would have left blood. One of the local well fed house cats must have found the nest. Nasty

Anonymous said...

I saw a headess rabbit dead at my vietnamese school. Scary thing is we found the body during easter then we told all the lower class mtes that some one killed and ripped of the head of the easter bunny. Also when i poked it (with a stick) it seems to be freshly killed and it's only missing it's head nothing else.....

Anonymous said...

I am in Louisville, Ky and yesterday found a headless bunny layed neatly on one of my red clay stepping stones. It had been dead for awhile/ There was no blood and the head was neatly taken off. I am at a loss as to the cause. The only cat around is too small to do this and there are no loose dogs. It is strange too because I was home all day, in and out. One time it was not there then the next time it was. Since I am in the cit I rule out fox or raccoons. We do have hawks but I can't see a hawk taking just a head. I will watch to see it anybody figures this out. A

Anonymous said...

My poor rabbit was found this morning headless in the garden. Strange thing is she had dissapeared 2 days before - I mean we had had all the local kids putting posters up and leaflets through doors, the works. She was definately not in the garden, then this morning her headless body turns up slap bang in the middle of the garden like she dropped out of the sky. Thank God for this site - we thought we had serious enemies. Actually, my hubby nearly went round to the next door neighbour to kick off - we've been 'in disputes' with them and he was sure it was them!!

Anonymous said...

This morning we found four dead baby rabbits on our back porch. Two were missing their entire upper halves. The other two were whole, though one was bloodied behind it's head. My Dad said that he had heard an owl when he was going to bed last night. He looked outside, but he didn't see anything. I'm not exactly convinced that this was the work of an owl. Mainly because I thought that owls swallowed their prey whole. And also, the fur on the rabbit heads that were there looked all slicked back like it had been carried in something's mouth. I would figure that an owl would carry something in it's talons. And the rabbits were found fully under the awning of our porch. So if it was an owl it had to have landed(one was under a chair). I have seen an own in the area, but I've also seen cats, who would fit through a hole we have in our fence. I'm not sure an owl or a cat could have even caught and carried four baby rabbits at once. But the idea of an animal making several trips doesn't make sense. My uncle, who lives less than a mile away, had a similar discovery of a headless rabbit in his front yard. Other info: We live in Texas. There is a nature trail with a creek nearby. We live near several open fields.

Anonymous said...

the same thing happened in my garden. it had to be a hawk. here in pittsburgh pennsylvania we have a lot of red tails as well as cooper's and shart-shinned (too small). the head, cleanly and very recently decapitated, was lying immediately next to the body. it happened in one of the bean patches.

Anonymous said...

We had just found a bunny with no head or front legs. It was clean cut off with no blood like everyone else. It was in my bushes next to the house. We have several large birds of prey in our woods in the backyard. I'm sure it was one of those. At least I hope. I heard fisher cats could do it too.

Anonymous said...

Our poor little lop bunny was discovered this morning with his head cut clean off as well as one of his front legs, I know we have cats come into the backyard everyonce in a while and we usually scared them away because our bunny was running around the back yard. Normally during the day he would spend his time in his hutch but at night we would let him roam free, turns out it was a bad idea, but we didn't think cats where capable of this.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm not the only one! My husband thought I was silly for wanting to find out why there was a headless rabbit in our yard. After reading all the comments, I believe it has to be a cat. I was just trying to talk my family in to getting a cat for our mouse problem (killed 20 in 3 weeks) but after reading this I think cats are just to sick! It does make you curious though....maybe rabbit heads taste good...YUCK!!! By the way I live in Kansas.

Anonymous said...

On the eve of New Year, i found a headless rabbit right next to my house. and after reading this blog, I now believe it was a cat. 2011 is the year of the rabbits, so I hope this isn't a bad omen.

One more story. few years back, one of my neighbors had a cat, which my family adored. Once in a while he'd leave bird's head in front of our front door. I've asked around for the meaning of this act. some say it's a revenge, some say it's a gift.....my family did nothing but love him, so we're leaning toward 'gift', but does anyone know this? thx

Anonymous said...

GIZMO...
I m not saying you all have the same culprit, but for me the case is clear. I came home this evening (Western Pennsylvania) and found a decapitaed rabbit in my front lawn.
It was snowing heavily, covering tracks in five minutes at most. There were no rabbit tracks in my yard, only a beheaded rabbit and wing prints. Since it was about 930 pm it had to be an owl.

Nickname unavailable said...

Greetings from Woodstock,IL (you know Ground Hog's Day movie)
I left the house today at 9:20 a.m and nothing in yard, because took my pup out before leaving.
Got home at 1:45 p.m. and went to fill bird feeders and found a headless/front feetless BIG bunny in my back yard. There was some fur and blood around it for sure. No signs of head/feet. There was however, an OWL PELLET!!!! Boy they are big, size of fat mouse!!!!
I am not sure what got the bunny but an owl did leave it's calling card whether it did it or was there afterwards. I was very thankful my neighbor was working from home and he is very well educated when it comes to wild animals, even took the pellet to let his girls dissect it. This is a new one for me but whatever makes a person happy. LOL

Anonymous said...

I've found a lot of these decapitated bunnies with perfectly cut necks all in the area of where PA meets MD. When I was in my early teens me and my cousin were camping in the woods and saw people dressed in black carrying decapitated bunnies.

Christopher said...

Fascinating insight into this common occurance! I have a solution of sorts but it may not satidfy everyone. I live in rural Scotland and see a lot of nature attacks/deaths. Owls tend to remove their prey whole and in over ten years have never seen the remnants from an owl or hawk kill. Foxes too, tend too tend to remove the prey whole. Yesterday I was cleaning under my kitchen units (removed the kick plate) and saw first of all what I thought was a rat or hawk head, completely empty of brain, missing lower jaw. I took it out and saw it was a rabbit head. I investigate further and found lying in the exit tube from my old tumble drier a rabbit front leg and shoulder. Again most of the meat had been removed.

A bit of research else where and from previous witness of garden kills I believe it was a weasel/stoat that killed the rabbit and stored the food out of the way (it's a very ocld winter here) The hole is too small for a rabbit and no other rodent/vermin type animal stores food like this.

So if the carcass is on the porch/doorstep, you can guess pretty much a cat, but if the body is in situ and the head removed, then try a mink/ermine/stoat/weasel or similar. It's their MO.

Chris

Anonymous said...

I was shocked yesterday when I pulled a dead wild rabbit out from under a bush in my front yard only to find it headless. I now feel much better after reading all these comments that it must have met it's demise thanks to the neighbor's cat, though we also have hawks and owls around.

Anonymous said...

I found a bunny that was lying right in front of my car on the driveway this morning. The bunny was cut in half. (perfectly, might I add) with the lower part of the bunny left. No blood, no head, and only his two back legs. Definitely not a fox of cat OR owl that can be that precise. I did; however, call the human society on my mexican/p.rico neighbor last week because of her cruel punishment to her dogs and because of their excessive 24 hour barking. The only reason I brought up her heritage is because another site I googled, said this is a ritual (a bad one) that people of that culture sometimes do. I'm a nurse, and I'm telling you, mine was definitely a human cutting on a bunny...sick folks if you ask me!

gordon said...

My mums big cat used to always be catching rabbits and eating just the heads !! Also the cat used to run round with small live birds in its mouth tormenting them before killing them. Also our cats used to leave ''Presents on the back door mat, usually rats !!

Anonymous said...

No-one in all these posts have left information anything advising of any health issues that my cats may get eating the rabbits head only. I know for sure that both my cats will only eat the rabbits head but is it healthy for them? Lots of rabbits around here (Oxfordshire UK) have Myxomatosis so I'm worries if my cats eat a Myxi rabbits brain that it can't be a good thing.

Anonymous said...

found a headless rabbit in yard, did hear coons yesterday so I guess that's possible although I rather think it to be an owl or hawk attack.
a coyote would have taken the whole rabbit a cat could not eat the skull as it was the size of a cat. whatever it was, it was disconcerting to find a headless rabbit

Anonymous said...

All my life, I have had pet cats leave the bodies and/or back ends of rabbits and squirrels. Cats do a pretty tidy job--it can look like decapitation. This info is from Texas. My only big bird story comes from Colorado. An owl tried to carry off one of mt MIL's chihuahuas. Mercifully, it did not have a good grip. Poor little girl had talon scars for awhile.

Anonymous said...

Had 2 large pet rabbits in locked fenced yard march 2011 in coppell texas. Found them decapitated . Onehead was still next to body. No blood.. Pcuts scratches bites just percision cut to neck. Anyone know of a wildlife csi type unit anywhere? This just feels too wrong. What or who kills & leaves the meat? Cult type activity has been mentioned. I cannot find any info on the web in this direction. I would really like to know if this could be human. Do i need to get extra locks for my house? Are the children safe in our neighborhood to pitch a tent? What are rabbit heads good for when detatched from the body?

BFP said...

Wow, who would have guessed that so many people are facing the same headless rabbit dilemma? I live in on a small farm in rural Maryland, near the Pennsylvania border. The dogs on the next farm were barking in the middle of the night so I was sort of half sleeping when I heard the sounds of a rodent being killed. It was about 1 a.m. The next morning when I got up to let my dogs out, I (unfortunately, but more accurately “they”) found a dead cotton-tail rabbit that was missing its head and left front arm. It was right outside my front door in a yard that is secured by a 4 rail fence with wire mesh. The fence will keep my dogs in, the neighbor dogs out, but I’m sure that smaller critters would have fairly easy ingress and egress.

My initial guess was a fox, because the neighbors’ dogs tend to get pretty excited when the foxes are active, but I’m not certain. We have lots of foxes and I hear owls pretty regularly, but most often they are the little saw-whet owls I most frequently hear. I’ve never seen any weasels, but that does not mean they are not around. I don’t really see a lot of stray cats around, and I have never seen a cat come into the yard. The neighbors’ dogs roam free, so they tend to scare off the felines and other small predators. (I have actually refrained from adopting a barn cat(s) due to the fear that they would be killed by the neighbors’ dogs.) Thus, I think I’ve narrowed my guess down to a fox or a barn or barred owl.

Anonymous said...

Just found my rabbit dead in the garden with the head removed with a clean cut, no sign of the head anywhere.

RIP Honey

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. My 2 very fat rabbits had clean cuts as well. The smaller bunny head was still next to the body. The larger head was gone. Did it happen at night? My bunnies had no blood around them or on the body.

steve said...

today 6/19/11 while mowing the back yard in western n.y. I found only the clean cut off head of a full grown rabbit. no body, or fur anywhere?

Anonymous said...

How about half a rabbit? I have previously seen one headless rabbit in my yard but this was something else. After coming home from work yesterday, I noticed a group of crows interested in something on my lawn. I went over to look and found what appeared to be intestines. A wider search revealed a rabbit corpse, or rather the back half of a rabbit. Its head and torso were missing, as if someone had taken a knife and cleanly severed the body in two. The previous day, I had seen a black cat hanging around, so perhaps he was the culprit. Otherwise, I live in a semi-rural area in the mountains of western NC, so it could have also been a hawk or owl, both of which are plentiful here. This mystery beats crop circles any day!

Anonymous said...

I found a headless rabbit on our porch in Pittsburgh yesterday and I assume our cat did it because he has also decapitated mice and chipmunks. A rabbit as big as the cat surprised me, though.

Anonymous said...

Elgin, Illinois here. I was baffled after I found a rabbit w/its head and front feet missing before mowing the lawn yesterday.

I grew up with cats and they always brought the dead rabbits home but never removed the heads. I've seen owls, plenty of hawks, and coyotes around here but the cat thing seems plausible too.

What's most interesting is that people have been posting to this for over 5 years and from across the globe. That's kinda cool.

The problem is should I tell the wife, who just adores the rabbits sitting in our backyard chomping on the grass at dusk, that I found this decapitated rabbit?

Nah... Now it's off to dispose of the evidence.

Anonymous said...

Elgin, Illinois here again. I just posted finding a headless rabbit in the backyard before mowing yesterday.

Now I go out to weed my flower bed and I find yet another headless carcass. What's going on here?

Doug said...

More evidence from Somerset, England.
This afternoon, a Buzzard flew over the garden very low. It just cleared the 2m hedgerow. On seeing me, it squawked in suprise and promptly dropped a headless rabbit at my feet. nice.
Of course, it might have been the farm cat next door the took the head off and the buzzard was just cleaning up.

MackieZee said...

hi. My son found one of three bunnies decapitated this morning, another was killed by a wound to the neck but still had his head. The third bunny is fine though. Am worried it might have been a stray tom cat we recently adopted but it seems out of character as he usually sits with them. Also, he has been in the area for nearly a year and is now being fed regularly - I would have thought he'd have done it when he was really hungry and underweight rather than now. He hasn't been back to the house since we found the rabbits so am keen to find him so i can see if he has any blood on him. Will update the post once i find him. We live in south of england, bournemouth.
RIP Buster and Pele :o(

MackieZee said...

update from MackieZee ......
Our cat came back and was perfectly clean, so don't think it was him. He curled up with our last remaining bunny that we are now keeping in the house - she wasn't scared of him which i would have expected if he had done it. I took him out to see the dead bunnies to see his reaction; he cautiously sniffed them them a couple of times and then seemed to follow a scent around the garden looking for something. I think it was a different cat from the area, so will be keeping an eye out.

fancypants said...

We have a cat who kills bunnies and apparently eats their heads. We find them on our porch from time to time along with an occasional mouse or bird. I googled this because I wondered why cats would like to eat a bunny head. He doesn't eat the other animals he kills. It is gross to find a headless bunny..otherwise intact! It must taste good to them! yuk!

Anonymous said...

hey guys! ive got an answer! I just watched my cat stalk kill and eat a rabbits head. we have been getting tons of dead rabbits and i was really starting to wonder what was killing them all. Anyways, now i know! hope i helped!

D.B. Echo said...

Heh. I'll add this to make it an even 100 comments: I'm amazed nobody noticed this earlier and capitalized (pardon the Latin pun) on it by marketing a line of crunchy rabbit head cat treats. Surely there must be some industry out there that processes rabbits for fur and/or meat in which the heads would be considered a waste product? I'm going to start looking at my cat differently now when he carries his favorite toy - a "Fluppy", a little stuffed floppy-eared dog - around by the ears.

Carol said...

OK, so this morning I found a headless rabbit in my driveway...clean cut!!! BIG news, tons of feather on the ground around the rabbit.
Vermont USA

Anonymous said...

Just like apparently many others, I stumbled upon this blog after I found my gf's three rabbits (of different sizes) dead and beheaded in our garden this morning. We have a large garden which is completely fenced off and only accessible through doors on both ends. All three rabbits were locked up in a cage, which was naturally meant for chickens but it did the job. The door to the cage had a normal pin lock, which you would have to slide to get open. All three rabbits were found outside the cage, beheaded and left in different corners of the garden. One of them was a huge hare, perhaps one of the biggest rabbits I have ever seen to day, with it's head cleanly cut off and no other bite wounds or impact marks visible. None of the heads could be found anywhere, and I ask myself the same question like many here before me: which animal would only take the head and leave all the other, in case of the hare rather volumptious and fat, body parts behind? There is simply no way a cat could've done this, the hare is almost 4 times the size and any cat would've simply lacked the strength to decapitate a rabbit so cleanly. We had called the animal protection service and were reassured that no fox, cat or other animal would do such a thing. Further it seems that the door to the cage was torn open with the closing part of the lock nowhere to be found, and there are no scratch marks on the wooden door either which you would expect a fox,dog or cat would leave behind trying to open the door by force. I would also be amazed if a fox could rip open a metal lock like that. The lock was cleanly torn out of the door where it was secured by small screws. It must've been done with a lot of force, which I would suspect no animal would be capable of doing. Neither were there any footprints visible or any indication of a battle, ie fur or blood remains. It leaves me completely stunned, because whatever conclusion I draw- it could've only been another human being. There is simply no way that another animal could've caught all three animals if they would've been dispersed in the garden- they would've simply been to fast to catch. neither is there any indication of a struggle within the cage, which means they must've been taken one after the other. one of them was very tiny (picolino rabbit) and incredibly fast- sheer impossible to catch. The hare on the other side was way too big to have his head bitten off like that by another animal without leaving any bite marks behind, his throat had the same diameter as mine (if not even bigger from all the fat). There is no way that the hare's head would've fit into another animals mouth, and it would certainly take a lot of force to snap a large animals head like that. It is a rather disturbing thought that someone would intrude into our garden and kill the rabbits like that. I'm very curious to hear the authorities opinion on that as this is completely bizarre and unexplainable to me. I am very amazed though to learn how many people had a similar experience in this blog. From what i've read, the other animals that were described here were smaller rabbits, which I would understand being killed and decapitated by other animal- but was I saw this morning was a headless hare- a HUGE rabbit whose head you just simply wouldn't get off like that. There is no doubt on my mind that this was done by another human, but then who would do such a thing? Were the heads some kind of trophy? Perverse and disgusting.

Outskirts of Copenhagen
Denmark

Ms M.M said...

I have just had the exact same problem. My mother was forced to tell me about it this morning when the police came around. We both know for a fact that it wasn't an animal's doing as both rabbits were placed neatly on the patio next to one another. The heads completely missing; not a single drop of blood on the creatures or anywhere around the garden..no fur either.
My only guess is that some psycho nutcase is going round, cutting the heads off poor, innocent rabbits for some disgustingly hideous 'fun'. Perhaps there is some screwed up ritual-type thing involved? I have no idea, I just hope somebody else does.

Anonymous said...

I live in Fayetteville Ga and I found a headless bunny in my yard this morning. Clean cut. I did notice a large hole in the side of the body, like it could have been a fang mark. We have foxes around here, that's my first guess. Pretty disturbing though.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how the majority of comments noted appear to be from around the world yet bear striking resemblance. And, no, we're not interested. Nice try.

Anonymous said...

This miring my husband and I found a rabbit with its head clean cut off.... outside our picture window
No animal prints. No fur. No blood..neatly placed in our driveway.. even the tire marks from last nights take out driver untouched. The cut was small also, right at the base of the neck
I read every post about eagles, owls ect. Bit its way to clean..and we have a caged bunny right near where this rabbit lay... very strange. Never had this happen. It wasn't a small bunny either. If a bird dropped it, there would be evidence on the dirt it lay in. ...any one else in MASS have this problem?

AGAWAM, MASS

Anonymous said...

It just saw an owl do this. It was around 4 AM and a large owl was sitting in my front yard. I guess it must have seen me in the window and freaked out because it flew off. I went outside to see what it had killed and there was a perfectly intact rabbit body with the head neatly removed.

So there you go. An owl was eating the rabbit and something disturbed it.

L$R said...

I woke up the other day, looked out of my window and saw my rabbit with no head, being pecked at by a magpie. I let him have free run of the back garden as it was what he liked and i believe in a sense of freedom for animals. I have a large back garden with lots of grass and concrete/wood panel fences so him burrowing out wasnt really a problem.
He was a big rabbit, but not fat, great shape and by far the fastest rabbit i have ever seen.
I cant see a fox climbing over a 6 foot fence to get in the garden and not eat the rabbit whole or at least the back legs where the muscle is.

I have 2 ideas, first one is, despite being much faster than a cat, and also being a tough rabbit I.E, he would box me and charge at me when he wanted haha a cat could have chased him around the garden so much that he may have just given up, they do that, when they know they arent going to get away, if it was late at night, one of the cats from a few doors down could have basically sat there and chewed at his neck and then taken the head with it to show there owners, that they see as there leader, that they can hunt.

The other idea is much more serious, HUMAN, but let me just tell you all this, i loved that rabbit, i rescued him from death 7 months ago, and when raised i am the most fierce of people, and trust me people, if i do find out it was a person and find out who, i will post a picture of me on here with the head of the culprit in one hand and a 10" blade in the other.

Anonymous said...

Just yesterday morning my sister found her dogs head and legs in the front yard cut off perfectly clean cut. In our front yard on New Years Day. Any one have any ideas of what this could mean? To me it seems like some form of witchcraft. Her dog had been missing for about a month and just yesterday morning she found his head thrown in our front yard. She says that it looked like his head had been there for about two days. To be honest, it kind of creeps me out!

Lindzy from BP. Ca.

kiwi said...

Second post for 2012, from the most faraway corner of the world... and it's another decapitation! Well 2 actually, and they are guinea pigs. Well, were guinea pigs, I guess. I live in NZ, and I had been thinking about blaming our little native owl, the morepork, but on assessing the evidence on this blog and elsewhere, I'm now pretty sure it must be a cat. Thanks for the help, not that I can do much about it other than imprison the remaining guinea pigs.

D.B. Echo said...

The morepork! Douglas Adams talked about it in "Last Chance to See." He describes it as "a type of owl that got its name from its habit of continually calling for additional pig flesh."

As for the dog situation in the previous comment - ye gods. I can't imagine that would be anything other than humans.

Anonymous said...

Found a decapitated domestic rabbit on the front lawn this afternoon. Interestingly, the stomach and a short bit of the intestines pulled out through the neck hole. No blood and clean cut. A little fur scattered but not much so I am thinking cat. Owls tend to pluck. Been there for a while as the body was cold (probably this mooing or last night as he moves across our yard at those times.) Since we don't have foxes or coyotes where we live, but do have both owls (barred) and many outdoor cats in the neighbourhood, my best guess is cat.

mattk said...

We have lived in the same built-up area of Hertfordshire for the last five years. When we came home a couple of nights ago I went outside to feed our two rabbits (both lops, one very big). Both were dead, one decapitated. It was dark and I decided to bury them in the morning. The next morning, the headless rabbit had gone completely while the other one was now up against the fence minus its head. I don't believe for a second that a cat did this; one rabbit was cat-sized and the other was bigger. I think it was a fox, who we disturbed when we came home so he came back later to take the bodies away to eat. Except the bigger of the two was too much to carry, which is why she got dropped as the fox jumped the fence. If he was carrying her by the throat then that could be how the head came off - the body was too heavy. Needless to say I buried what was left before the killer could come back for it again. I suppose an owl could be responsible, but this isn't a rural area - I think it has to have been a fox. - Matt, Herts, UK

Anonymous said...

found our rabbit almost headless this morning.. there is a huge stray cat around but he was clean when I saw him later in the day. lots of fur around so an obvious struggle.. Poor rabbit. lived free roaming for nearly 3 years. Have had cats in the garden but usually scared away by my fat cat or the rabbit (Ive watched a cat being chased around the garden by the rabbit!)

Anonymous said...

From Wild & Wonderful West Virginia, USA

The other day my dogs were sniffing the ground near a pine tree in my yard, and when I went to check it out I saw the legs of a rabbit sticking out from under the tree. When I pulled it out, it was headless. I couldn't understand what animal would just remove the head and not feast on the body. I enjoy watching the wildlife in my back yard...deer, rabbits, turkeys, groundhogs, etc., but what in the world would leave a headless rabbit under a pine tree? The branches are just about ground level..whatever it was, it dragged the rabbit under that tree. Now I worry about my small dogs.

Anonymous said...

We live near Melbourne, Australia.
This is the first time we have ever found a rabbit with its head ripped off from its body in the ten years that we have lived here.
The rabbit was quite large, there was no blood and the head was not eaten and was about 2 metres away from the intact body.
I can't believe that so many people have discovered the same thing all over the world.
Our neighbour has had the same experience only the heads were nowhere to be found.
I wish someone could give me a definite answer as to what is doing this horrible thing.

skylerken said...

ken from southern california,
i work at a retirement community near palm springs california. we have a large barn owl that has been decapitating rabbits around our property for about a year now. this morning, i cleaned up some guts and tufts of fur from a rabbit (no body or skeleton), and along with it, tan and white owl feathers. we didnt know why we were finding the headless rabbits (surgicly removed) until my night shift man witnessed the crime.swallowed the head whole. owls swallow their food whole, so i guess if they cant swallow the whole rabbit..... the one i cleaned up this morning might have been smaller and more swallowier?

LG said...

Found a headless wild rabbit this morning around 4:30 am. It was not there last night when I walked the dogs. Found this post and read all the comments. I have all the wildlife mentioned here as suspects. Am ruling out rabbit zombies and humans. Leaning towards bobcat, owl or mink.

LG in Dickson, TN USA

Anonymous said...

I found a dead rabbit on our driveway small pool of blood,head intact.a hole between the shoulder and neck where it appeared the insides were eaten. Majority of the rabbit remained. I think it must of been a owl the way the hole was made in the rabbit? We found it in the early morning with no trail of blood to it. Laying by the head of the rabbit was a pile of: at first I thought regurgitated guts, but then seemed to be stools that had a membrane covering on it? Do you think I am right it was an owl that took a dump and left?

Anonymous said...

I found a dead rabbit on our driveway small pool of blood,head intact.a hole between the shoulder and neck where it appeared the insides were eaten. Majority of the rabbit remained. I think it must of been a owl the way the hole was made in the rabbit? We found it in the early morning with no trail of blood to it. Laying by the head of the rabbit was a pile of: at first I thought regurgitated guts, but then seemed to be stools that had a membrane covering on it? Do you think I am right it was an owl that took a dump and left?

Peg Scheppmann said...

This morning I found a headless full grown wild rabbit in the middle of my driveway. I turned the rabbit over and there was no other damage to the bunny - just a missing head! There was no blood or extra fur on the driveway. It was such a clean cut that I was really creeped out. After reading this blog I'm hoping that it was a cat or owl. I'm from Carol Stream, IL

Anonymous said...

We recently found 4 decapitated baby bunnies just outside their nest in the neighbors back yard. Last year we found 2 decapitated bunnies in the front yard. Both times, they have been dragged out of the nest at a young age and only had the heads removed. Last year, we though it was the fault of the lawn mower, but this year was before the first spring cut. The bodies were left within a few feet of the nest.

Two years ago, we had a nest near our back step that was not discovered by our small dog, but must have been protected by her scent all over our yard because the bunnies were safe.

We live in Southern Ontario, Canada.

Anonymous said...

For the last few years we get baby bunnies in the yard each year. The funny thing is the rabbit makes the nest in a fenced in area for our dog. The dog never seems to find the nests. Two days ago I saw a rabbit sitting in the driveway and wouldn't move so I figured there was a nest around. I looked for the nest and found it but it only had two or three bunnies in it. I did find one dead about 20 feet away and on top of some landscape blocks another with no head. I got rid of them and left the nest alone. About an hour later I look out and in the same place is another baby missing a head. I check the nest and it is still covered in fur and grass and looks undisturbed. I take one dead baby out that looks like it died on its own and there is only one baby left alive. It still doesn't have its eyes open so it is only a couple days old and about 5 inches long. The fence is 6 feet high with vertical slats about 6 inches apart and I have plastic lattice on the lower 2 feet that has about 3 inch holes. So The only thing that could get in there is a cat or my dog. The dog wasn't out for the second killing. I see a neighbor cat every once in awhile so I don't think that was the culprit. There are lots of hawks around but I was in the yard and didn't see any swoop down. There is a chipmunk hole right near where they were killed and I think that is what got the babies. I found this article stating this.


http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1955&dat=19240308&id=wa8hAAAAIBAJ&sjid=spoFAAAAIBAJ&pg=2462,1517130

Anonymous said...

Hi Found my two rabbits headless this morning. They were big rabbits and had the freedom of the fenced garden. One rabbit was found lying near the fence looked like it had just been dropped there.
I couldn't find the other one, then spotted a leg sticking out of the ground. It had been buried under loose soil in a ditch previously dug by the rabbits. The head less end furthest in. Rules out a bird for me and at night. Don't think a owl would do that. No blood, no fur about possble scratching marks round the body. Cat or fox. garden dog prrof we have one.
Steve Leics UK

Anonymous said...

Add me to the long list of headless rabbit finders who have googled their way to this blog.

I cycle to work near a railway line with rabbits living in the earth bank. Coming home this evening I could see something big laying in the path. It was a rabbit with no head. The head had been cleanly bitten off and was nowhere to be seen. Whatever did it it was a very neat job!

Matt said...

Just googled this after I had a headless young (about 7-8 inch long)rabbit drop from a tree onto my shoulder. Looked up and a massive crow had the head wedged in a spot where the branch met the trunk,eating what looked to be the brains. Clean cut from the body. I also saw this before with a pack of crows trapping baby bunnies. The crows in NJ love these small rabbits, they eat the eyes and brains.

Anonymous said...

Startlingly similar tale to previous ones: two rabbits that usually roamed free, one [medium-sized] found decapitated near the garden fence and the other [very large] was blood-covered and shocked (of which it later died). We have cats but, as in many earlier posts, the cats have grown up with these rabbits and generally have seemed afraid of them. I have once seen a large owl in a tree in our garden during the day. I live in Adlington, Lancashire, North West England. (John Foley)

Meghan said...

The two cats I've had for the majority of my adult life ALWAYS eat the heads off of everything they catch. Always just the head. Sometimes, they just sort of open up the head and eat the brain out. From what I understand, that's common cat behavior. Because they don't spend much time with their moma cat, they never learn to eat their prey. That's why they have a tendency to prolong the prey's death as well: They mother cat will capture a prey and bring it back alive for her kittens to practice their hunting tactics on. Adult cats are still stuck in that kitten mentality.

Just this morning, I found a dead baby rabbit outside my front window. A few days ago, I scared the babies out of their nest by accident while I was weeding the garden. I had a feeling that my cat was going to get to them-- she seems to love killing adorable baby rabbits more than anything. Anyway, the head wasn't completely off this time-- it was sort of dangling. The neck was torn open and the ribs were cracked. Some kind of yellow organ was partially nommed on. It was still soft when I picked it up to throw it away. Last night,a round 1, my cat was looking out the window and started going crazy, demanding to be let out. I guess that's when she spotted the little guy.

So yeah, to reassure anyone who'd worried about budding serial killers in the neighborhood-- It was probably a cat. I've seen more than my share of headless creatures in my lawn, and sometimes in my house. My cats once left a pile of brown frog guts behind my computer desk. JUST THE GUTS! Weird, but that's cats for you.

Anonymous said...

From Oswego, Il. My dog was whining to go out yesterday around 11am but he just came in 10 minutes before. So to quiet him I went to the door and saw something in the yard that was not there before. It was a headless rabbit. Once again, no blood. No bugs or flies yet and I hate to say I know this, but it was still warm. It was like it dropped from the sky. When I disposed of it, I let my dog out (He's a coonhound) he found no trail to make me think it did drop out of the sky. We have owls, Coyote, fox, you name it. But we have a 6ft fence.

Anonymous said...

I just found a headless rabbit in Llorenç del Penedés in Catalonia, Spain. magnusaronson@hotmail.com

Kathryn Speed said...

I live in Guelph, ON. I found my poor bunny (a dwarf Rex) headless inside her hutch last Wednesday about noon.

A bird couldn't have gotten inside the hutch, which was attached to a run that had a top to it. I suspect that the culprit was a cat, raccoon, weasel or fox -- a small animal that could climb a small fence and get inside the small opening in the bottom of the hutch. Since it was daylight, a cat seems the likeliest culprit.

The neck was cleaning cut and not bleeding, with no seeming damage to the rest of her body, which seemed newly dead.

There was little blood and just a few bits of fur, bone and tissue. I found no sign of the head. She had a large head.

My own cats were inside at the time, and they both liked her. One would sleep on top of her hutch. A couple of neighbourhood cats had been watching the rabbit from afar, but my cats usually ran them off. I thought she was safe.

Christy Weezer said...

Bloomington, Indiana- Found a decapitated rabbit on our land. We have some enemies, so my hope is not a spell like someone suggest. I have not seen many stray cats- the land is really isolated. This points to possible owl, hawk, eagle, coyote, or bobcat. Narrows it down, eh?

Anonymous said...

I live in rural Norfolk in the UK and this morning found a headless rabbit in the middle of our paddock. There are a lot of rabbits around here and I am used to seeing rabbit corpses dotted around but have never seen a headless one before. The cat doesn't hunt adult wild rabbits larger than him and has never decapitated smaller ones. Maybe an owl, yet only little owls appear around here. An ongoing mystery....

Anonymous said...

One of our rabbits was missing from a double hutch kept in our backyard. The metal door was open and the top floor of the hutch had been pushed down through to the second floor. No blood, or fur and no sign of the rabbit. We put our second bunny in an all-wire hutch since our wooden hutch was damaged. Two days later, that hutch had been opened and that bunny went mysteriously missing. Later that day, our next door neighbor asked if we were missing a rabbit or two. I went to their backyard and there was one of our rabbits. No head! Part of the face and the body remained on their back lawn. No blood or fur. They said that our other rabbit was found in the same spot two days ago, also with a missing head. Our neighbor said that 6 months ago she saw a bobcat run through their backyard. I can only assume that would be strong enough to open two hutches and jump over a fully fenced yard. Central Coast, CA

Anonymous said...

More headless rabbits here in NJ USA. Last night I found three rabbits all pretty young headless outside my backdoor. At first I was filled with joy and congratualated my cat on her succesfull hunt. However i noticed that the necks seems to have been cleanly sliced as if it was getting preped at a butcher shop. I began to get a little worried that my cat was simply taking credit for someone else's handy work. Upon investigating i found several drops of blood leading away from the scene, with the flashlight dimming i decided to check back tomorow morning. Sadley it rained early morning and washed away all evidence leaving my untrained detective skills untested.

Sunny-D said...

Romeo, Mi. USA. Found a cottontail minus head and one leg. Clean cut. Freaked me out. I guess it was a cat or owl.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the beheaded rabbit saga still goes on. Last night there was a high-pitched scream(rabbit scream) coming from the backyard. I immediately rushed to the scene, only to find the wired door to the rabbit hutch fully opened--with no bunny. We all searched the perimeter of the house with flash lights--still, no bunny. The next morning, we discovered the gruesome sight. Our beautiful Norwegian black and white rabbit was lying in the frontyard, headless. Clean cut--no blood. Could it have been a sick human, a opossum that sometimes hangs out in my backyard, or the neighbor's large cat? Later that night, I saw the neighbors cat sniffing around the area where the dead rabbit was(we took his body to the local animal rescue to be cremated). I'm pretty sure the cat is the guilty culprit. Poor, Pippa the rabbit.

Take Aim said...

I live in Wisconsin, Midweatern United States. Yesterday I went out to take care of our bunnies Watson and Sherlock only to find one (or NOT find one) missing and the other headless. Mink are commonly known around here for decapitating their prey. Poor Watson and Sherlock, case closed.

Anonymous said...

I live in Melbourne, Australia and recently found a fluffy white rabbit beheaded in our front garden. At first I thought it might be someone being "funny", then I thought it might be a curse or something and started Googling it and found this page. I think the cat is the most likely explanation considering... if it had been a bird (or possum) I wouldn't have thought twice about it... except that I think cat owners should be locked up at night (along with their cats).

Anonymous said...

Rural upstate New York. Found a large decap'd jack rabbit in the yard. We have coyotes, bobcats, and most everything else. The owl theory covers a lot of bases -- these reports are from everywhere. The rabbit was as big as a cat -- but maybe a bobcat?

Anonymous said...

My poor bunny beheaded also. Dearly loved and sorely missed. He had been allowed to play in the fenced in yard for years. All my rabbits have. There are cats in the neighborhood but they don't come here because I have a cat as well. My cat was friends with Scamper and she misses him. She saw his body first and I know by her reaction she did not hurt him. I had a necropsy done. Vet said owl will not leave a rabbit wholly intact and headless. He said it was a "crushing" injury. I firmly believe weasels are doing this to our rabbits. You never see weasels. You do not know you "have" them. They are everywhere. Ferrets set free are also weasels! I live in Western NC. Weasels eat heads, leave bodies, can get through anything tthe size of your thumb. No cage is safe. They bite through a rabbit's skull. They are vicious blood thirsty fearless killers.

Anonymous said...

Footnote to previous posting about my rabbit Scamper. He was huge. I do not believe any cat would have seen him as prey, even if he weren't in the same yard as my cat. I am the poster who believes weasels are to blame for these beheadings.

Anonymous said...

This past week I have found rabbit feet, a whole dead rabbit and the back half of a rabbit with the front half missing every morning in my back yard. I am sick of cleaning up rabbit parts, there is no evidence of any blood like others have said - Yesterday I blocked off the space underneath my gates to keep them out of the yard. Since they couldn't get in last night I found a couple of rabbit feet outside of my gate this morning - what could be killing them? Sometimes there's a white sort of foamy glob (like styrofoam) substance close by. I live in the city - I have never seen a live bunny in my yard nor have I seen evidence of them - they must have been coming in to forage at night, there are rabbits in the neighborhood. I am stumped and don't have a clue what is killing/hunting them and eating them. I have never seen a cat in the neighborhood. Does anyone have any ideas??? I also don't know why they keep coming back to my yard! Whatever is killing them here must be smart to come back every night.

FiftyQuid said...

Found our 8th headless rabbit of the summer today. It was just outside the front door of our house. No blood, clean cut just like all the previous ones I've found. I usually find them in the backyard, but I have found a couple in the front yard now. There were no bits of fur around it, or blood trail. Whatever happened, happened right were I found it. Typically I find the rabbits on our cobblestone walkway or on the stone patio in the back yard. We have lived in our house for 3 years. Never found a single headless rabbit the first year, but year 2 I did find a few. This year it seems like an epidemic. I'm on the verge of putting up a night-vision camera to find out what is doing it. I originally suspected a raccoon, but now I'm thinking it is one of our two house cats. One is a Tabby and the other is a Maine Coon. I'm thinking it'sthe Maine Coon. The reason I'm leaning towards it being one of the cats is because neither of my neighbours have found any dead animals on their property. The carnage only seems to be at my house. Also, one of the headless rabbits I found was in the window-well of the house. That's a pretty cramped space for an owl/hawk or large raccoon to be in. I'm thinking it's also a little too close to the house to be a fox, or coyote. Plus the window-well is pretty exposed. I can't see an animal other than a cat being comfortable in a window-well.

Anonymous said...

Wow!! I am so glad that I am not the only one to be freaked out by the discovery of decapitated rabbit! Only I think I may have one up on everyone. This afternoon I had just made it home form work and just about shit myself when I discovered a medium sized rabbit with it's head missing in the middle of my OFFICE!!!
Yes my office is in inside my house (in the basement). I was the only one home and I no one had been in the house since that morning. I live in a city and initially I was very freaked out to say the least.
Then my tabby cat came prancing into my office followed closely by our two other cats. Our house was built in the early 50's and I assume the rabbit got in through a window we had open while doing some remodeling. My cats never go outside so I really cat see how else the damn bunny got in the house in the first place.
Cat's are very strange animals and as evident, very ruthless instinctual killers!! I am with D.B.!! I am going figure out how to manufacture rabbit brain cat treats! I am sitting here and I have seen my cats more content and relaxed. This has to be an untapped market just waiting!

Anonymous said...

Found a clean cut/headless full grown rabbit outside our front door today pretty freaky! Last week found a dead red hawk he was huge in our back yard at the bottom of our deck.Too weird!the hawk had a small feather/ruffle injury to neck but the head was not removed.scary~~~

Anonymous said...

Buffalo Tom...

I found a headless rabbit in my driveway the other day around 11 AM
When my wife left for work at 8:30 it wasn't there.. We have a red tail hawn hanging around.. he landed on my deck a few weeks agoand I snaped a pic of it... Could it be the killer? Crows came later and tried to drag it away, they
left marks in the snow, but only picked at it.

Anonymous said...

Add me to the list of the perplexed from Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Found a good sized cottontail just a few feet from his den with his head cleanly removed and the rest of his body intact. We have too many coyote and mountain lions here for tame cats to survive in the wild, however, we do have bobcat. I also heard an owl nearby and today a huge raven swooped down near the rabbit until my Scottie, Watson, barked at him from the other side of the fence. I bump into our Vet every now and then and look forward to hearing his response.

teagantimes said...

OMD I was just wanting to know why cats only eat the heads of rabbits - my fursis Pickle catches the baby bunnies and then proceeds to eat the head. It takes her quite a while... a lot of gnawing and slurping and other disgusting noises. She makes a neat job of it leaving a nice straight cut across the neck. The humans remove the leftover bodies and put them in the field where they can be taken by birds of prey or finished off by the local fox.