Frame To Frame – Bob and Jean

A White and Grey Rabbit in Toronto’s Milliken Park – Native, Tame or Feral?

A White and Grey Rabbit in Toronto’s Milliken Park – Native, Tame or Feral?

White and grey rabbit - looks at me - Milliken Park - Toronto - Ontario

On a recent walkabout in Milliken Park, in Toronto,  Bob and I were surprised to see, hopping about the lawns and gardens, an unusual looking rabbit.  Unlike our common Cottontail Rabbit, this rabbit was white with a smokey grey snout and a grey wash on its hind quarters.  Could it be that someone’s pet escaped and is now making the park its home?  Or is it possible that someone released their pet for no longer wanting to care for it?

White and grey rabbit - profile right side - Milliken Park - Toronto - Ontario

The sleek, elegant rabbit was leery of our presence, like any wild rabbit would be, suggesting that it had been in the wild for sometime.  We had to move cautiously to avoid scaring it away now that the rabbit has become feral.

White and grey rabbit - tail and back - Milliken Park - Toronto - Ontario

Confident in its camouflage there on the wood chips and in amongst the dried grass, the rabbit lazily stretched out and relaxed.

White and grey rabbit at Milliken Park - Toronto - Ontario

It was an unusually hot afternoon, so the heat of the sun was making the  rabbit drowsy.

White and grey rabbit - profile right side - Milliken Park - Toronto - Ontario

We surmise that this white and grey rabbit will now remain one of Milliken Park’s residents.  I wonder if we’ll see the results of cross-breeding with the Cottontails that populate this city’s green space.  I’m sure it won’t take too long to tell.  In the meantime, it seems that this tame rabbit gone wild is surviving quite well.

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6 comments

  • The bunny is a domestic rabbit and is very distantly related to our native cottontails so there is no chance of hybridizing. The colour of this guy is called sable point, his coat is darker than normally seen because he’s been living outside.

    • thanks for the input. I have seen similar rabbits when visiting the Markham Fair so was pretty sure it was a domestic rabbit. I’m glad there is no chance of hybridizing because it might weaken the native species.

  • It looks like a chinchilla rabbit. How many times people will dump their pet Burmese pythons out into the Everglades, people will also dump their pet rabbits. It was done on the islands in the Pacific Ocean. Sometimes they escape, but most of the time they are dumped. Like pregnant dogs and cats.

    • You are right, Tim. It is a shame that irresponsible citizens, by their actions, compromise the existence of so many native species.

      • Australia really has it bad. I went looking for wombat burrows in Victoria, and just found one. But the rabbit burrows were everywhere. Also, I was up in the Atherton Tablelands of Queensland one night, and the cane toads were just shoulder to shoulder. They are breeding the spotted-tailed quolls on offshore islands now, because on mainland Queensland they will eat the toads and be poisoned by them. Pray for Australia.