I’m the proud owner of two rabbits – Ron and Harry. A few years ago I bought them for my oldest daughter who loves Harry Potter – hence their names. She moved out not that long after and it’s been my job to look after them ever since.
They live in a relatively palatial two-story hutch surrounded by a large run that I built to enclose the cage giving them outdoor access day and night.
To be honest the run is a ramshackle affair – and they’ve managed to escape from it on a number of occasions creating many memorable comedy moments at my expense – but it’s been relatively secure for 18 months now.
Like all pets they have their own personalities, Ron is friendly and inquisitive and often greets you at feeding time. He’s the one who did most of the escaping and seems to want more from life.
Harry, by contrast, is nervy and often runs off when you get near him. A few years ago he grew a beard and I wondered for a while if it was some sort of statement. I often think he hates me.
They seem happy enough together, some mornings when they don’t know I’m watching I catch Harry with a small piece of newspaper in his mouth being chased by Ron. I imagine they think the newspaper looks hilarious as they career round the run perhaps humming their version of The Crystals classic, Da Doo Run Ron!
They’ve got their cute little bunny ways, the little skips they do and how they stand up on their back legs meerkat-like from time to time.
Somewhat disconcertingly over the last year or so they’ve started digging this huge hole. At first I used to fill it in worried that it was a potential means of escape but they just determinedly dig the soil out again and burrow round the barricade bricks.
I try not to take it personally and just leave it be thinking that’s what rabbits do plus it keeps them cool in the summer, somewhere else to go, a cellar to add to their high-rise hutch. With all the excavated earth – there is a bit more every day – their run looks like a scene from the Battle of the Somme but it’s their world, so live and let live I think.
Yesterday I was talking about them to my neighbour who is first reserve feeder when both myself and my daughter are away. He said, with the casual exaggeration we all use from time-to-time, that rabbit burrows are sometimes miles long.
It made me think what if they really were miles long and what do they get up to down there? Maybe they’ve been popping up all over the country in other people’s gardens, the next village, some urban park, abroad even. If I could get them to make the hole bigger it could be how I evade the latest quarantine arrangements.
Maybe there’s a network of rabbit holes all around the country and perhaps they meet up with lady rabbits at some burrowed out underground nightspot.
Or maybe there’s the rabbit version of FightClub going on, after all Bunny is a boxer name, maybe they’re down in some rabbit ring sparring as Bunny Ron and Bunny Harry.
I’ve often felt a bit sorry for them forever stuck in their small world of just a hutch, run and now a hole but after 11 weeks of lockdown I’m thinking maybe they’ve got the right idea. Are they tunneling for freedom, perhaps they know more than they’re letting on.