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Bunnies are wreaking havoc on a California city: 'We all thought it was pretty cute at first'

Susanna Heller , Business Insider US
 Aug 19, 2019, 09:23 AM
Don't be fooled.
Wikimedia Commons
  • The city of Antioch, California, is down a rabbit hole - so to speak.
  • That's because it's literally been overrun with rabbits. It's not great, according to several local outlets.
  • According to KPIX, residents believe the bunnies are descendants of escaped pets, which got loose in December.
  • It might sound cute, but it's quite a nuisance.
  • Some residents are trying to take manners into their own hands, but rabbits are fearless, the East Bay Times reported.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider South Africa.

Things are getting hare-y in Antioch, California. The city is apparently being overrun by rabbits - and has been for some time now.

CNN-affiliated KPIX reports that the trouble began in December when some residents spotted a few bunnies on a cul-de-sac. At the time, they thought nothing of it.

"We all thought it was pretty cute at first," said resident Mike Christopher.

By March, attitudes soured as the rabbit population had ballooned.

"There are rabbits all over the street, all over the sidewalks, all over the grass and it slowly went from - actually pretty fast - it went from seven to 10 to about 50 rabbits just all over the neighborhood," Christopher said. "And then from there, it started to not be cute anymore."

So what makes a rabbit not cute? In short: Poop.

"It was so bad all the way down the block there'd be rabbit poop on the sidewalks. It was bad on both sides about a month ago," Christopher told the East Bay Times. "There was nothing but rabbit poop on everybody's sidewalks, all over their gutters and alongside their driveways if you had grass. You had to take your shoes off to go inside your house."

And it's not just that. Christopher told KPIX that the rabbits are just everywhere in the neighborhood - hopping in the streets, hiding under cars, and eating the plants in residential lawns.

"They're taking over. They are destructive," Antioch resident Darrell Stovall told KTVU. "They dig into the yard. And they dig for the roots. So they dig down deep."

Stovall told KTVU that he believes that the rabbits are coming from a neighbor's house. He believes the neighbor had two pets that bred, and when their spawn got loose they continued to have babies, and so on.

According to KTVI, some rabbits have been seen up to one mile from Antioch in neighboring towns, but it's unclear how they got there.

There are so many animals now that some, like Christopher and Stovall, are trying to catch the animals themselves. But they can't do it on their own. One man, Roger Boots of Country Manor, where the rabbits have traveled, told the East Bay Times the rabbits are "not really afraid" of humans.

According to the East Bay Times, residents have asked animal services for support. In a statement to the outlet, George Harding, the head of Antioch Animal Services, called the rabbit situation "unusual."

"The problem with rabbits is that it's not safe for them to be running around," Harding said. "It's not a good situation to release a tame animal out into the wild because they do become preyed upon. They are usually colorful, not like the wild rabbit that blends into the background. They are bigger and they are not equipped to be out in that situation."

He hopes to adopt out any caught animals. As for Stovall, he told KTVU that he's taking matters into his own hands for now.

"Call me Elmer Fudd!" he said. "I've been trapping them."

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