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What would eat just the bunnies head and leave the body at night?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

My friend is just getting into this and she unknowingly let her big standard chinchilla rabbit roam in the chain linked fence (about 4 ft tall) free range chicken area at night. She came out yesterday morning to find her bunny dead with just the head gone. Any ideas what it could have been? a sad day!

Love one another- give someone a chicken.
Florange of Phil, greatest guy in the world, my zoo includes 13 Arabian horses, ringneck pheasants, turkeys, bobwhites, gambel quail, about 40 chickens, a beautiful Doberman, an entertaining Westie, and a strange unplanned half Doberman half Westie puppy (Biopet DNA testing!)
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Love one another- give someone a chicken.
Florange of Phil, greatest guy in the world, my zoo includes 13 Arabian horses, ringneck pheasants, turkeys, bobwhites, gambel quail, about 40 chickens, a beautiful Doberman, an entertaining Westie, and a strange unplanned half Doberman half Westie puppy (Biopet DNA testing!)
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post #2 of 15

I've seen owls do this as well as hawks.  They don't do it on purpose (I don't think)  I think it is a strike they cannot come back to finish for some reason.

Does they head look like it was cut off or torn?

post #3 of 15

it was an owl, hawks won't hunt at night.  That is classic owl, I have no idea why they just eat the head though?

Steve in NC

 Midget White, Standard Bronze turkeys, Muscovy ducks, India Blue, White & Spaulding peafowl, Buff Orpington, Copper Black Marans Chickens, Corturnix quail and Ringneck Pheasants

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 Midget White, Standard Bronze turkeys, Muscovy ducks, India Blue, White & Spaulding peafowl, Buff Orpington, Copper Black Marans Chickens, Corturnix quail and Ringneck Pheasants

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post #4 of 15

I would say it was a owl.  I had one get one of my silkies and all he ate was the head and neck.  There wasn't even any blood around.  I know it was an owl because he couldn't find his way out of the pen.  We saw him that morning still in there. 
Chris

post #5 of 15

Friend of mine just lost several to this same thng, he caught the culprit as it ran off with just the head.
It was a coon.

post #6 of 15

coon or fox or owl..
a fox or coon will sometimes kill 2 or more birds and chew off the heads and then carry one off.  they will come back laer and carry off the headless ones..   

the owl might have been frightened off before he could shred the carcass..

also, did you find the bunny with his headless neck tight to a hole in the fence??   then I would start to look for a weasel..

post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 

thanks for your help! I'll ask her for more info. Lisa

Love one another- give someone a chicken.
Florange of Phil, greatest guy in the world, my zoo includes 13 Arabian horses, ringneck pheasants, turkeys, bobwhites, gambel quail, about 40 chickens, a beautiful Doberman, an entertaining Westie, and a strange unplanned half Doberman half Westie puppy (Biopet DNA testing!)
Reply
Love one another- give someone a chicken.
Florange of Phil, greatest guy in the world, my zoo includes 13 Arabian horses, ringneck pheasants, turkeys, bobwhites, gambel quail, about 40 chickens, a beautiful Doberman, an entertaining Westie, and a strange unplanned half Doberman half Westie puppy (Biopet DNA testing!)
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post #8 of 15

My dog...:S she came home with a rabbit head the other day :S

They are right, that is typical owl hunting behaviour.
Sorry about your friends bunny, its never a good day when a loved pet dies sad

Wife to a GREAT husband and mother of 2 boxers, 1 little River, 1 cat, 13 ISO browns and 1 BarredRock Rooster.
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Wife to a GREAT husband and mother of 2 boxers, 1 little River, 1 cat, 13 ISO browns and 1 BarredRock Rooster.
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post #9 of 15

We had a family of wild mallards nesting in our front yard last year and a raccoon came and pulled the heads off all the babies and the mama.  Left all the pieces behind.  Just murdered them all and left the bodies and heads lying around on the ground.

So, I would say Raccoon... or perhaps an owl as others have suggested.  Probably a great horned owl if so.  They'll eat anything, even small dogs and cats.

First time chicken owner, blogging about the experience with lots of cute pics!  Updated regularly.  Please check it out and follow our progress!

http://lisahaschickens.wordpress.com
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First time chicken owner, blogging about the experience with lots of cute pics!  Updated regularly.  Please check it out and follow our progress!

http://lisahaschickens.wordpress.com
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post #10 of 15

I don't know if this is the case here, but bears that are preparing for hybernation gorges so much on salmon that they will start taking just one bite out of the fish and leave the rest.  They bite a chunk out of the top of the head that includes the brain and eyes.  Supposedly these are the most nutrious, higher protein/calories, part of the fish.

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BackYard Chickens › BYC Forum › Raising BackYard Chickens › Predators and Pests › What would eat just the bunnies head and leave the body at night?