Sunday, July 10, 2011

Ban the bunny.

You may not know that in Australia the rabbit is a declared noxious pest. For much of the last century rabbits have been in plague proportions in many country areas. Lacking a natural predator, they multiplied like, well, rabbits. During the Great Depression in the 1930's many people survived on rabbit meat which was cheap and easy to obtain. City streets reverberated to the cries of "Rabbito" and housewives ran out with their sixpences to buy. The irony here is that rabbits were introduced to give the ordinary man the opportunity to hunt them and eat the meat, a luxury enjoyed only by the landed gentry in England.  In fact many original settlers in Australia were convicts transported for the crime of poaching.
 It was only with the introduction of a disease called myxomatosis that any kind of control was possible, as rabbits became immune to this virus, another one called the Callici virus was introduced and we wait to see if this is the answer to the rabbit problem.

(photo; National Archives of Australia)

This is an image taken during the worst time, the rabbits having totally denuded the land.
It is quite odd then that bunnies feature so much in our Easter celebrations. A number of determined people would really like to use an indigenous animal in place of the rabbit and they have nominated the Bilby. The Bilby is  shy nocturnal creature  with a pouch in which it carries it's young, obviously designed for carrying Easter eggs as well! Interestingly the pouch faces backwards so that it does not fill up with dirt when the animal digs for food.
All of this information is to introduce this etegami, one of my series on Australian animals.

Don't you just love those big ears?


  1. This is terribly politically incorrect of me, but I like rabbits. Are they part of Easter because of old fertility rites (there's the business of the eggs, too)? I love your animal series, keep it coming.

  2. ps I am also Elinor Dashwood. I knew that, and the quiz confirmed it! I like the BBC version of Sense and Sensibility made in 2009 best - have you seen it?

  3. Thanks Gay, Have to confess I love rabbits too but you can't spoil a good story with too many facts lol.
    Yeah, Elinor Dashwood, doomed to be sensible!
    I did like the 2009 version, no 'stars' in it just the story. I was struck though how many of the characters looked uncannily like those in the earlier Kate Winslet / Hugh Grant version.

  4. By any chance, did you come in France for the Japan Expo ? I met someone there selling things in the stand named ORIGA-ME. I know that person lives in Sydney.

  5. Sorry Johnny, not me, hope you stay awhile and let me know if you enjoy my blog. :)

  6. I have just looked at your blog quickly. Its presentation seems to be very clean. You give your opinions about animals. When I've some time, I'll take some of it to read it. Keep up the good work.

  7. Ah, oui, merci Johnny, j'espere que vous pouvez visiter a nouveau!