Sunday, May 26, 2013

rabbits & fences

I saw a dead rabbit on the side of the road while walking into town with my companion today.  The rabbit looked pretty stone dead.  It was stretched out on its side.  Front legs forward, rear legs backward, it looked like it was in mid-stride, and indeed it probably was in mid-stride when a car struck it and bloodied its blunt nose.  I did not point out the rabbit to my companion, and if she saw it, she did not point it out to me.  There have been times when I've thoughtlessly pointed out dead animals, but this time I thought better of it and counted my concealment as a personal victory.  I didn't think more about the rabbit until I got home and noticed that somebody had been nibbling on the collards I transplanted the other day.  

Rabbits are prey and as such they generally avoid vulnerable situations.  Humans are not generally prey, but we also avoid vulnerable situations.  Rabbits avoid being out in the open, and nervous people also avoid being out in the open.  When a nervous person enters an open field, that nervous person looks around to make sure that the eyes upon them are not the eyes of hawks.  We all know what hawks do to rabbits.  If I write about this, it's not because I am particularly interested in rabbits but because my gut tells me that by understanding rabbit psychology I can build more effective rabbit deterrents.  When a rabbit comes into my open garden, she is putting herself into an unsafe situation.  The thought behind this rather minimal rabbit fence is to make a situation that is already unsafe appear to be a touch more unsafe.  There are other sources of food nearby, namely alfalfa.  The hope is that the rabbit will choose the safer option.  I will know soon enough if I have outsmarted my rabbit with this fence.  I am not holding my breath.  

Speaking of fences, I helped build a fence behind Flying Object this week.  The purpose of that fence was to make the back patio more private.  A computer nerd company moved into the adjacent building recently, and they brought a squadron of dorky, black Mini Coopers with them, all of them bespangled with the nerd squad's logo.  So we erected a privacy fence.  The privacy fence will not make the dork mobiles on the other side disappear.  It will simply conceal them.  My rabbit fence will not actually conceal my collards from the rabbits, but sometimes the gesture toward concealment is enough.  How many times have you been walking and come to a fence and thought to yourself, "Well, I guess I'll turn around and head back now"?  It is possible that I am overestimating my rabbit's capacity for thought. 


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