Rabbit Kits Eaten by Fire Ants

by Emily
(Richland, MS)

Fire ants got on my baby kits and killed them. I had to remove everything from their cage and ever since she has acted mad at me - she'll pull away from me she doesn't want "me" to touch her so she acts this way as if she thinks I feed them to the ants. I cried and cried but all ten died. This was her second litter. She's eating well, I think she is pregnant again.


***** Karen Sez *****
How horrible, and traumatic for you! So sorry. Your doe's unwillingness to be handled may be due to pregnancy, rather than connecting the fire ants to you, would be my guess.

One thing is certain: If you want bunnies in your current situation, you'll have to maintain a fire-ant-free zone around the doe's cage. And since I don't advocate poisons, what about placing the legs of the cage in buckets of water? A 5 gallon bucket with enough water that it doesn't completely evaporate within the time frame between feedings might do it, especially if fire ants cannot swim. (And if they're not one of those talented ant species that make living bridges out of their bodies!)

Another option might be to remove the nest box from the cage every day, returning it to the doe once or twice a day for the time it takes the doe to feed her kits (10 minutes or so). This necessitates that you know when the doe kindles the bunnies, so they don't stay in the cage overnight, giving the ants an opportunity to smell the birthing blood and come running.

Do other breeders have experience protecting newly kindled kits from ants? Please speak up....

Good luck with the next litter, Emily!

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May 24, 2016
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Old timer's remedy
by: Anonymous

I was told to place the legs in a little bit of kerosene using something like the large tin cans that vegetables come in. That way you do not actually have to poison the area and the kerosene smell isn't as strong as other options. I too was looking for other options but this has been the best one I've found for now.

Sep 25, 2014
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Fire Ants and Water
by: Anonymous

I read an article recently about how fire ants have learned how to avoid water/flooding by forming a mat of ants. It seemed odd to scientists as this appears to be learned behavior since being introduced to flood-prone Texas. I would bring the babies and mama inside because the ants now know there is a food source there and may kill the adult rabbits while they are sleeping.

Nov 30, 2013
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Fire Ants
by: Marlene

In Texas we have those nasty creatures. My first question would be: Is your rabbit caged on the ground? We have found that the fire ants will kill wild rabbit litters, baby calves, and wild deer. We have even noticed decreasing number of armadillos and other wild life. They climb trees and are even wreaking havoc with the neighbor's bee hives (that are off the ground and water in pails doesn't help)

I would suggest that you bring doe inside to have her litter. Build a cage off the ground. We also use Orthene to kill the fire ant mounds. It is a constant battle to get rid of them and even that is temporary. A fire ant sting feels like a wasp sting. They attack in groups and all sting at once. I know Karen didn't recommend poison, but know of no other way to deal with them. Fire ants are tiny, but vicious. If all ten babies were killed by ants, no doubt the doe is being plagued with them as well. I have been stung many times and it hurts. You have to rid her area of ants and watch for mounds daily.


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