Friday, February 5, 2010

The Feral Rabbits of the U.P.

Christmas 2009,
City Park in Iron Mountain, MI

While visiting Iron Mountain, MI over Christmas, we went over to the City Park to go sledding at the old Myron ski jump site. Along with bocce courts and ski trails, this park has a fenced in herd of deer. I assume that is for showing the seven people in the area that don’t deer hunt, hike, or snowmobile just what these beautiful animals look like up close. Actually, it is pretty cool – it is a VERY large, natural enclosure, and they even have a rare white buck. But more importantly, this park is home to a pack of feral rabbits! Rumors are that this rabbit herd has been there for decades. It was news to me…

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If you’ve ever been to the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, I don’t have to explain that is area is truly The Great White North. Winters are long, cold, dark, and snowy. Summers are mild and very pleasant, with long days. On clear nights you can see LOTS of stars. Beautiful country. (One downside is that Novembers last forever.) Although elusive, they do have moose and wolves. This is NOT the kind of climate where you would expect to see ex-domestic rabbits out roughing it outside on their own. We had a good foot of snow on the ground, and winter was just starting. Nighttime temps are routinely below zero. A daytime high in the single digits doesn’t even stir up chat at the local diner. These critters seem to live under a cabin, and I’m guessing they have some substantial burrows dug. There doesn’t seem to be evidence of official feeding or watering. Talk about big, tough Yooper bunnies!

The rabbits seem to come in three flavors: Black, grey, and brown. We brought them some old lettuce and a fresh bag of carrots. Most entertainment I ever got from $0.79.

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I did a little searching, and there is a similar pack of rabbits that inhabit Victoria University in British Columbia.



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