I was riding my mountain bike in a wildlife research area in October 2005 when I saw both a gray and white rabbit and a smaller black rabbit near the parking lot. Wild rabbits are usually brown, and domestic rabbits don’t last long in the wild. So, I went home, grabbed Mark, and returned to find my friend, Brenda, and some other people with nets in hand, trying to catch domestic rabbits of all sizes and colors. Over the course of several evenings, we rescued over 15 rabbits.
I knew nothing about rabbits except that they hop and eat carrots, but I am also stubborn in thinking I can figure animals out. I took five rabbits home, found new homes for four of them and kept the rabbit that was hardest to catch. I named him Magic.
I took a few photos of the very young Magic, and didn’t think much about them until recently, when I was organizing my photos. As I looked through each photo, I began to wonder if I’d ever seen Magic relax. I know he’s not relaxed while playing with Purrkins, but when is he relaxed? And what does a relaxed rabbit really looks like? I called Brenda. She owned rabbits for a long time, and told me that when a rabbit’s ears are up, it’s not relaxed, and that generally, when its ears are down, it is relaxed.
I began looking through my photos. In the photo below, I had thought Magic looked relaxed while sprawled out on a cedar chest, his ears are up, so he’s not.
In fact, except for the photo of me holding Magic–where he was actually hyperventilating because he hates being held–I couldn’t find a single photo where Magic really looked relaxed. I soon exhausted my old photos of Magic, and decided to sneak into Magic’s room, a.k.a., the “Bunny Bedroom,” to try to capture Magic in a relaxed state. Surely, he’s relaxed in the photo below.
But is that as relaxed as a rabbit gets, I wondered? Still not satisfied, I snuck in on Magic in the middle of a sunny, warm Saturday afternoon and quickly snapped a photo.
I’m pretty sure a rabbit does not get any more relaxed than this. In fact, because I hadn’t seen him like this before, I was worried he was dead. I slowly petted him on the head, and as I did, his tongue retracted back into his face, his nose wiggled, his eyes opened, and he slowly came back from wherever rabbits go when they are fully relaxed. Wherever that is.