Friday, 21 September 2012

TRICKING THE TRICKSTER.

Farley Mowatt certainly said it well. The best way to learn about animals is to live with them. Gideon, my first house bunny, proved all the long-held stereotypes wrong during his seven and a half years with me.

Much of my when a Man Loves a Rabbit memoir related the mischief Gideon caused and the things I learned about rabbits. On occasion, I played pranks on him. Here is one example of how I had fun fooling my little fur friend.

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I played a lot of pranks on poor Gideon in those early days―partly to get even with him, but mostly for fun. I’d noticed that strange noises tended to freak him out. There were many occasions where he thumped, then stood with his ears straight up and his eyes wide open. One time, he even emitted a skunk-like odor because something outside had frightened him.

Years earlier, I had purchased a stuffed toy seal with a microchip and tiny speaker in its body. When you squeezed the sides, it made the barking sound of a seal.

One day, Gideon hopped into my bedroom, suspecting nothing. As soon as I squeezed the seal that was hidden behind my back, he froze. In fact, he looked like he was going to lunge at me or attack whatever had made the noise.

I later learned that bunnies instinctively freeze to make it harder for predators to notice them. The poor guy remained as still as a statue for a couple of minutes before he hopped around in search of the source of the strange sound. I finally took pity on him and let him sniff the toy. He never fell for that joke again―proving that he could learn which sounds were normal and therefore to be ignored.

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When a Man Loves a Rabbit (Learning and Living
with Bunnies)
contains many more charming vignettes of rabbit mischief. Please click on my books link at the top left of this page and check it out.