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So there is this rabbit that lives under my shed, and I've been watching it through my window for the past few days. It comes out in the mornings, and sits next to its hole crouched in a tight ball, and stays there until you approach. It lets you get within like 4 feet before it moves. I have never seen it eat or move more than about 2 feet from the shed. I've left carrots, spinach, apple slices and such out next to its entrance, and those are untouched. Is it ill? should I try to catch it to take it to a rehab? Should I euthanize it?

  • 4
    This was different, because it was originally a pet, but we had a rabbit escape and take up residence under our shed when I was a kid. It lived under there for years, no feeding or anything. I suspect this wild one can take care of itself.
    – Eric G
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 4:23
  • Try seeds, especially oily seeds, I'd say a rabbit that doesnt'eat carrots and seeds on it's doorstep is acting weird. Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 10:56
  • We had a young wild rabbit spending some time on the lawn and surrounding properties. The only times I saw it eating was when a flock of birds landed to munch on seeds and stuff. Then it would relax and hop around among them eating. The birds always had watchers that told them when any person or animal approached, and when the birds took off the rabbit would head for the bushes. Commented Apr 7, 2020 at 22:31
  • if someone left food on your doorstep would you eat it?
    – Nate W
    Commented Apr 9, 2020 at 23:28

4 Answers 4


The fact that you've never seen it eat doesn't mean it's not eating. That just means it doesn't eat while you're watching. Don't feed it. It's not a pet. It's a wild animal and will take care of itself.

Stop approaching it. When it knows you're watching it, and especially when you get close to it, you're causing it a lot of stress, because it thinks you're going to try to kill it.

Normally rabbits will graze near the entrance to their burrow so they can escape to safety if danger threatens. As they feel safer, they will venture further from the burrow entrance. If you are constantly watching it, you may be preventing it from feeding because it doesn't feel safe.

If you back off and leave the rabbit to its own devices, it may start grazing in your yard, which will allow you to enjoy watching it from a distance.

  • 17
    Of course "enjoy watching it" really depends on how much you like having a garden that's not gnawed bare :--(
    – jamesqf
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 2:12
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    The rabbits I used to keep as pets weren't actually fond of carrots at all
    – muddyfish
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 12:35
  • 11
    @com.prehensible Despite popular myth, they don't actually care about the carrot at all, they care about the green leaves on top of the carrot (the plant, since the carrot is just the root of the plant).
    – Davidw
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 19:41
  • 21
    It seems a lot of people are basing their ideas of rabbit behaviour on watching Bugs Bunny. Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 10:41
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    "you cause it a lot of stress, because it thinks you're going to try to kill it." - Well, that is exactly what "Should I euthanize it?" seems to be getting at. If the rabbit thinks that, it clearly isn't far wrong.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 14:11

Rabbits are crepuscular coprophages. That means they're most active at dawn and dusk so they're most likely to be eating their fresh greens when you're probably not looking because it's dark and when you do see them during the day, they'll probably be relaxing and chewing pellets.

The one in the picture looks like it's chewing pellets. They don't need to move much because they, uh, "produce" the pellets themselves.

I'd guess everything is normal here. If you're really interested, set up a wildlife cam to try to catch its movements when you're not actively watching.


The rabbit doesn't look like it's going hungry, so it's probably just not interested in what you're giving it. Rabbits favor grasses and leafy plants, so if you insist on feeding it, try something leafy like cabbage.

  • 5
    Having had pet rabbits, lettuce is really bad for their digestion (they get the runs). Cabbage and other brassica would be much better.
    – IanF1
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 13:26
  • 1
    @IanF1, Thanks. Updated.
    – Mark
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 21:24
  • 1
    Actually, cabbage is not the best choice. Are there specific vegetables I should not be feeding a rabbit? Romaine or Green leaf are best. Commented Apr 6, 2020 at 16:43

Rabbits are social creatures.

  • Wild rabbits live in colonies/warrens, not alone.
  • Where is the rest of the family?

So is this a pet that has escaped from a neighbour?

I have been watching it for a few days.
Should I euthanize it?

How? and Why?
Just imagine, some kid gets to hear you used their pet for target practice.


  • Ask around: has anyone has lost a rabbit?
  • 17
    This one appears to be an Eastern Cottontail, which is wild.
    – Davidw
    Commented Apr 5, 2020 at 2:33

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