With the rabbit world bursting with new life, predators around the globe are about to find a lot more prey hopping and darting about. By the time they would have been 12 weeks old, 75% of wild rabbits will have given their lives to feed predators on the wing and predators on paws.
There’s another predator that stalks through the rabbit barn...you and me.
Some of us 'human predators' dedicate a lot of time and tender love to our herds and flocks. This is exactly what makes the relationship between humans and our barnyard animals a symbiotic one.
Humans need to eat animals as critically as do the eagles, coyotes, and feral feline predators. We’re omnivores, which does NOT mean we can do without a certain amount of animal protein. A quick look at a human and carnivore digestive system makes this very clear. Yep, only one stomach, and the digestion occurs in the stomach, not in subsequent segments of the digestive system such as the 4th stomach in cows or the large cecum in rabbits.
Survival instincts drive humans into the mutually beneficial symbiotic relationships we have formed with our domestic animals.
Symbiosis is when two dissimilar species gain mutual benefit from a relationship.
We were amazed to discover a myriad of symbiotic relationships between dissimilar species, all obtaining mutual benefits from the relationships, so we wrote a whole article on Animal Symbiotic Relationships.
Symbiosis between dissimilar species
It is unbelievingly amazing how many instances of symbiosis exist across the global ecosystem. Here’s just a few:
Cows and bacteria.
Fungi and ambrosia beetles.
The acacia ant and the Bulls’ Eye Acacia tree.
Fungi and Algae uniting to form lichens.
Sharks and remora fish.
Humans and domestic animals. We have domesticated a range of animals. In return for protection, shelter, and food, we utilize their products, such as wool and milk. The protection they gain from humans results in a herd population surge, at which point the herd’s sole predator - man - thins the herd, which improves its overall health. Domestic animals give humans meat, fur and leather, in addition to wool, milk, butter, and cheese. The entire human history is filled with symbiotic relationships with domestic animals. We need them...and they need us.
Additionally, we enjoy symbiotic relationships with our dogs. They shepherd our flocks and herds, pull sleds, catch vermin, guard persons and property, and perform seeing eye and other services for us. In return, they get our affection, a place in our homes...they get the bed while we get the couch. How is that NOT a symbiotic relationship?! The luckiest of them are served raw meat pet food - a species-appropriate diet for both dogs and cats.
Exploitation?? Not if the sheer joy on the face of the working dog is any indication.
Dogs have so demonstrated their love of human company that they are called man’s best friend.
Literally thousands of similar symbiotic relationships between two different species of animals and/or plants exist around the world. Even this list of symbiotic relationships doesn't scratch the surface of them all.
Is there anything immoral about using animals and animal products? Not at all. Must humans become vegans? Absolutely not.
It is very difficult to prevent a death that comes without any preceding symptoms.
In this case, a little bit of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure. It's always a good idea to feed grass hay regularly to all your rabbits, which may help to keep your rabbit's intestinal flora well balanced, its intestines operating smoothly, and therefore the immune system optimized.
Rabbits in the News
A sheep-herding rabbit?? Yep, especially if you live in Sweden!