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!