Posted in Mixed Nuts on March 23rd, 2009 by MadDog
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When I got home from work the other day the neighbours had something unusual in their small haus win* near the water:

A floppy-eared Papua New Guinean bunny

Yes, one does not see rabbits every day in Madang. I learned that they had purchased two rabbits at the Mt. Hagen market for K6.00 each. They looked quite healthy to me. They were very tame. The kids were mauling them without mercy. Here is the pair of them, a male and a female having a light snack:

Bunnies having their dinner

I came across a couple of items on the web about raising rabbits in PNG. One concerns taking pressure off of tree kangaroos by assisting villagers to raise rabbits for food. The other is from the Tenkile Conservation Alliance. It also discussed rabbit farming as a way to conserve native wildlife.

Their gigantic floppy ears remind me of the huge White-tailed Jackrabbits that Eunie and I hunted for food when we lived for a summer in Montana. We were dirt-poor. We couldn’t afford to buy meat, but we could afford to buy .22 Magnum cartridges for my Marlin rifle with the big ‘scope. I don’t know how many of these Lepus townsendii ** we shot that summer, but they were getting pretty scarce in our hunting range by the time the leaves were turning:

Lepus townsendii - the White-tailed Jackrabbit (summer coat)
That was the summer (1963) that I learned that Eunie, at least for stationary targets, was a much better shot than I. It was humiliating. We practised at the landfill, shooting rats. She got bored and started pot-shooting seemingly at random. I asked her what she was doing. “Shooting flies.” she mumbled as she squinted through the scope. “Sure you are, babe.” said I. We walked up to a cardboard box. She said, “They were right there and I shot them. They disappeared when I shot.” Thinking that the recoil was preventing her from seeing the fly fly, I examined the three holes in the box. Around each one there were splatters of fly goo – pretty as you please.

I didn’t know whether to be proud that I had taught her to shoot or terrified that I had created a monster. I qualified expert on every weapon that I was given when I was in military service. But I could never beat Eunie on stationary targets. I did get to the point that I could drop one out of two of these stringy lop-ears on the run up to about 50 metres. It kept us alive.

I love bunnies, they are so soft and cuddly – and delicious!

* A haus win is a small shelter with a wooden floor set off the ground on posts. It usually has a thatched roof, but no walls. It keeps the sun off, but lets the wind flow through.

** Credit: photo by R. B. Forbes, © American Society of Mammalogists

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