Savvy Rabbits Use Sheep as Surfboards to Escape Flood

A farmer in New Zealand has witnessed three smart rabbits escaping floods on the back of his neighbours' sheep.

Savvy Rabbits (Image Source: The Guardian),,, crowd ink, crowdink
Savvy Rabbits (Image Source: The Guardian)

Rabbits are often dismissed as pests to farmers. Typically they are hunted and shot, as they destroy fields and crops. However, some wild rabbits on a farm at Mosgiel in South Island of New Zealand have shown a particular savviness that even farmer Ferg Horn, 64, cannot dismiss.

During heavy rain and flooding throughout Otago, Horn found three rabbits escaping the floods by riding on the back of his neighbours’ sheep.

The herd gathered on a high spot of the farm standing in about three inches of water. On their backs, three black rabbits were perched, gripping the wool.

Horn moved the sheep about 50 metres to a safer, drier area, and the rabbits clung on for their lives as the sheep jostled around.

“They’d showed so much initiative, I thought they deserved to live, those rabbits,’’ he said.

Eventually the rabbits scampered off to dry safety behind a hedge. However, it may not be the last time Horn sees the rabbits.

According to RSPCA Victoria, Rabbits can recognise humans by shape, smell and voice. The House Rabbit Society even says that rabbits who have been saved by humans will often show signs of gratefulness, such as passiveness and licking.

Maybe these rabbits will come back to the farm to thank Horn… We only hope he shows the same sympathy for their savviness!



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Lucy Andrews is a media and communications student and freelance journalist from Melbourne. She is interested in writing news and feature articles, and is passionate about travel. She is currently pursuing a career in writing and editing, both fiction and non-fiction.