Are Wild Rabbits a Threat to Public Health?

In case you’ve seen a whole lot of rabbits in your neighborhood, you could be anxious concerning the impression they’ll have in your well being and security. In any case, if small animals like wild rats and mice are identified for spreading illness, possibly rabbits are too. 

Wild rabbit populations will not be thought of a public well being hazard and will not be harmful to people. Nevertheless, they’ll carry a illness known as tularemia that spreads if you happen to straight deal with an contaminated rabbit or eat undercooked meat. Rabbits don’t unfold illness to people by means of their urine or feces.

That being mentioned, tularemia is a comparatively uncommon illness, with solely about 200 circumstances per 12 months in your entire United States. Most of those circumstances don’t even come from rabbits however are as a substitute unfold by ticks, flies, and rodents. In case you keep away from touching wild rabbits (and train your children to do the identical) there’s little likelihood you’ll be contaminated with the illness even while you dwell in a neighborhood with a thriving rabbit inhabitants.

Are wild rabbits harmful to people?

Wild rabbits is usually a large hazard to your backyard, however to not folks. In contrast to rodents, rabbits don’t carry many zoonotic ailments that may be unfold to human populations. It’s extremely unlikely that you simply or your youngsters will get sick from having a whole lot of wild rabbits in your yard.

The one illness that rabbits can actually unfold to people is one thing known as tularemia (or rabbit fever), however you would wish to return into contact with a lifeless or dying rabbit to catch it from them.

Tularemia is most typical within the central southern states (Arkansas, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma particularly), however circumstances have occurred in each US state besides Hawaii. The unfold of the illness can also be extra frequent in the summertime months. 

That being mentioned, it isn’t a standard illness and it’s uncommon for there to be even 300 whole circumstances in your entire USA in a 12 months. Until your occupation leads you to return into contact with sick or lifeless wild rabbits, it’s unlikely that a big wild rabbit inhabitants in your neighborhood goes to steer you to be contaminated with the illness.

Can pet canines get tularemia in the event that they catch a rabbit?

If in case you have a pet canine, they can be contaminated with tularemia if the canine manages to catch a rabbit. In case your canine has sturdy rabbit-hunting instincts, you could need to preserve them on a leash in areas the place there are giant rabbit populations, particularly in areas the place tularemia is extra frequent, resembling Arkansas and Missouri.

Nevertheless, although canines can catch tularemia from wild rabbits, it’s unlikely to trigger severe sickness in them. The truth is, most canines that come into contact with the illness may have no signs in any respect. Nevertheless, very younger canines or canines with prior well being problems can develop some signs that can often be extreme, so it’s greatest to contact your vet in case your canine is exhibiting any indicators of sickness after coming into contact with a rabbit.

A canine that contracts tularemia from a rabbit may also unfold it to people, however that is additionally very uncommon. It is going to typically solely be unfold by means of bites and scratches that break the pores and skin, so most canines are well-behaved and received’t unfold the illness to their people.

Is it protected to the touch wild bunnies?

Keep away from touching wild rabbits every time potential. Tularemia will be unfold by touching an contaminated animal. Since rabbits can get the illness, it’s greatest to keep away from touching them.

The excellent news is, you’re not going to unintentionally contact a wild rabbit. Most rabbits, even sick rabbits, will run earlier than anybody can get inside 10 toes of them, so even when there are a whole lot of wild rabbits in your neighborhood, there’s little likelihood you’ll ever contact one. Tularemia tends to be extra of a hazard for hunters or anybody who handles lifeless rabbits.

a hidden wild rabbit nest
Wild rabbits will dig shallow holes for nests and camouflage them with grass, fur, and leaves. In case you see one, it’s greatest to go away it alone and keep away from touching any wild animals.

What to do if you happen to touched a wild rabbit

In case you touched a wild rabbit, it in all probability implies that both the rabbit was a child that you simply occurred throughout (possibly whereas mowing your garden) or the rabbit was sick. Both approach, you need to be sure you totally wash your palms. It’s uncommon to catch something from a rabbit, however since there’s the danger of tularemia, it’s greatest to take frequent sense precautions and wash your palms.

You additionally ought to preserve an eye fixed out for signs of tularemia so you possibly can catch the unfold of the illness early. The CDC has extra info on the indicators and signs of tularemia so you possibly can contact your physician if you happen to discover something and consider you’ve gotten contracted the illness.

Do rabbits carry rabies?

Whereas it’s technically potential for wild rabbits to get rabies, it’s extremely uncommon. Most rabbits who’re contaminated with the illness die earlier than ever having the prospect to unfold it. The truth is, there are not any identified circumstances of a rabbit spreading rabies to a human even in areas the place rabies has been widespread amongst raccoon populations.

Will a wild rabbit attempt to assault folks?

Wild rabbits will not be aggressive. They haven’t any predator instincts and are usually extraordinarily anxious and timid. As a substitute, they’re much extra more likely to run and conceal if anybody ever will get too near them.

Will rabbits assault youngsters?

This goes for kids too. Whereas it’s vital to maintain infants and kids protected in areas the place you may discover wild wolverines, foxes, or different predators, rabbits will not be going to attempt to assault a child. Whether or not you’re a toddler or an grownup, wild rabbits will see you as a menace and run away if you happen to attempt to go close to them.

On common a rabbit will produce 200-300 fecal pellets per day. That’s a whole lot of poop!

Does wild rabbit poop or urine unfold illness

Wild rabbits are pretty clear in comparison with many different wild animals. Neither their poop nor their urine is thought to unfold any ailments to people. It’s additionally okay in case your pet canine occurs throughout the rabbit poo within the yard because it doesn’t unfold illness to canines both.

Is rabbit poop dangerous to your garden?

If in case you have plenty of rabbits in your neighborhood, you’ll doubtless discover their poop in your garden often. Imagine it or not, that is truly good for the well being of the vegetation and soil. Rabbit poop incorporates a whole lot of hint vitamins which are useful to plant development. It acts as a pure fertilizer. 

Since rabbit poop doesn’t unfold any ailments to people, it’s even okay if you happen to discover their poop round meals vegetation you might be rising and intend to eat. In fact, that’s assuming the rabbit didn’t have a great time munching in your backyard. People will not be in peril from a rabbit assault, however rabbits love chomping on gardens.


  1. “Different Wild Animals.” CDC. January 2021. https://www.cdc.gov/rabies/publicity/animals/different.html
  2. “Tularemia.” CDC. December 2018. https://www.cdc.gov/tularemia/index.html
  3. “Tularemia ‘Rabbit Fever’ in Canine.” Lake Norman Animal Hospital. https://www.mooresvilleanimalhospital.com/web site/weblog/2020/08/31/tularemia-rabbit-fever-in-dogs
  4. “What to do About Wild Rabbits.” The Humane Society. https://www.humanesociety.org/assets/what-do-about-wild-rabbits

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