Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Lessons from a Killer Rabbit

Thought for the dayThe Energizer Bunny was arrested. He was charged with battery,

Got an early wake-up call of the wild this morning.

You're nobody 'til somebody loves you.
 It was a woodpecker,  imitating a miniature jack hammer on the tree outside our bedroom window. His serenade only lasted for about fifteen minutes, but his presence reminded me of another wacky woodpecker who spent the entire summer here some years back. In fact, he was here so much we gave him a name. We called him Clem.

Now, I've been told that male woodpeckers pound out their jazzy rhythms in the early hours of the morning in order to attract a mate. Don't know it that's entirely true or not, but let's say that it is. And if it is, poor old Clem was sorrowfully unlucky in love.

Because he didn't just show up and rat-a-tat for fifteen minutes just before the sun came up. Oh, no. Clem was an industious and rather desperate suitor, and showed up several hours before daybreak, and rat-a-tatted his heart out for one or two hours every morning. On trees. On the gutters. On a fiberglass canoe. If it wasn't moving, our little visitor took a whack at it. If nothing else, he was persistent. But, alas,  I don't think he ever found love. He eventually stopped coming around, but  I fear the crumpled zig-zag beak he must have had held little appeal for the fairer sex.

Back to this morning. After the woodpecker finished his drum solo, the cats took over. If you have cats, I'm sure you're familiar with the routine. There's the piling-on game, the nose-rubbing and purring-in-your-ear game, the patty-cake game, and let us not forget the rousing round of king of the mountain, where you, of course, are the mountain. All designed, of course, to get their staff out of bed and into the kitchen.

I took all of this as an omen that it was time to write another blog about lessons I've learned from our pets. We've already talked a little bit about cats in the past, and about fish, but today, we're going to talk about rabbits.

Let me preface the lessons learned with a lesson of a different kind, a history lesson. About Jimmy Carter and the killer rabbit.

In 1979, President Jimmy Carter went fishing in Plains, Georgia. While out in his row boat, enjoying a peaceful respite from the White House, his serenity was shattered by a rabbit and a pack of dogs. The dogs were doing what dogs do. They were chasing the rabbit. But this rabbit didn't do what one would expect a rabbit to do. This rabbit jumped into the water, hissing and gnashing its teeth, and swam towards the president's boat. Though the president said he didn't have any experience with out-of-control animals, he successfully shooed it away by splashing water at it with a paddle. As you can imagine, if you don't already remember the incident, the media had a field day. "President Attacked by Killer Rabbit" was a common headline around the country. Late night comics took the story and ran with it, and poor President Carter became a laughing stock. If you do a google search now, you can actually find pictures of the rabbit, and of President Carter shooing it away from his boat, but they weren't made available at the time. But I, for one, didn't need to see any pictures to believe the president's story, because I'm pretty sure we ended up with the spawn of that killer rabbit.

My daughter had a pet rabbit. It was a precious little bit of fur with a tiny pink nose when we first brought it home, but here are some of the lessons we learned from owning that rabbit:

  • Precious little bits of fur with tiny pink noses grow up to be big fat rabbits. With sharp claws.
  • All big fat rabbits do is eat and generate a big fat ton of hoodles.
  • Little girls don't like to clean up hoodles.
  • I don't like to clean them up, either.
  • Rabbits don't like you to put halters and leashes on them.
  • Rabbits have very sharp claws.
  • Once the halter and leash are attached, rabbits are lousy at taking walks. They hop. Very leisurely. Because they have to eat every green thing in sight. And, of course, drop hoodles.
  • Rabbits don't like you to take halters and leashes off of them.
  • Did I mention they have very sharp claws?
  • If he ever hopped away from home, (no such luck!) we would have been able to find him quite easily. Hansel and Gretel had nothing on him. He could leave a steady two-mile trail of turds.
  • Here's the funny part. The mountain of rabbit poop that critter generated was useless as fertilizer.

I don't remember what our daughter called that rabbit. Something cutesie like Fluffy. But after a few weeks of shoveling his poop, I started calling him Hoodles, and that stuck. Oh, and on second thought, maybe he wasn't related to President Carter's rabbit, after all. When we tossed him into the lake, he didn't swim.

Just kidding. We ended up donating him to the Yellow River Game Ranch, where he lived out the rest of his life with a bunch of other rabbits, eating, generating hoodles, and ... um... multiplying.

Until next time, take care of yourselves. And each other. Oh, and I know some people have rabbits that make wonderful pets. My sister-in-law had one. Ours, however,  wasn't the cuddly type. And I might have mentioned? He had very sharp claws.

No trees were killed in the sending of this message. However, a large number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.


  1. I don't remember the Jimmy Carter incident -- but I DO recall the killer rabbit from Monty Python's Holy Grail.

    I'm not fond of rabbits. Any time I have ever picked one up, it has peed on me. In case you're wondering, I only ever picked up two rabbits. Two was the number needed for me to learn my lesson forevermore!

  2. Hi, Dianne. Poor Jimmy Carter took a lot of guff over that incident. There are a couple of cool pictures of it on the internet, if you do a search on Jimmy Carter's killer rabbit.

    Well, I still like rabbits. Especially with gravy and mashed potatoes. (ooh! I didn't really say that, did I?)

  3. Poor Clem. No love life. I never knew they pecked to attract a lover. I thought they were just looking for bugs. Thanks for the woodpecker lesson.
    I like your profile. Optimism always pays off.

  4. I got some crazy woodpeckers here too. Good thing my dogs hate birds as much as they hate squirrels.

    Love that Hoodles story. Never heard about the Killer Rabbit incident. Where were the Secret Service that they couldn't just shoot the dern thing? Jimmy's from GA, he could've ate 'im for dinner. (and yes I did just say that.)

  5. Giggling at the thought of you tossing Hoodles in the lake. Hee!

    I had a pet rabbit when I was six. It was named...Fluffy. Of course. Is there a little girl who didn't name her pet rabbit Fluffy? I doubt it.

    Thanks for the laugh! :)

  6. Hi, Manzanita. Welcome aboard! You're right about woodpeckers looking for bugs, but after I was told they also do it to find a mate, I glommed onto that, because it kinda grabbed my imagination. I figured if those funny-looking beetles in the desert tap to find a mate, Clem could peck for the same reason!


    Hi, Anne. From what I remember of the killer rabbit story, the SS men were there, too, but in another boat. One of them took the pictures that you can find on the internet. Guess they didn't kill the critter because the prez took care of it himself. And hey, nothing wrong with eating 'em. Good stuff. Like my hubby likes to say, we're card-carrying members of P.E.T.A. (People Eating Tasty Animals!)


    Hey, Linda. Glad to have provided you with a giggle today. Your post cracked me up, too.

    Take care, y'all.

  7. Thanks for reading my posts. I am truly complimented.

    We had Lop-eared rabbits for many years while my children were growing up. We thought they were great pets as we did not have to walk them or worry about being away for a day or two. First there was Geraldine who was not a real nice pet. Later on I figured out that she was a Jerome. They will tell you that male rabbits are not as nice as females. Next we had Annabelle, a beautiful redhead. That rabbit loved everybody and as soon as we let her out of her cage she would run to you. If you were laying down she would lick you face and fall asleep on your chest. She would always run to the door when the bell rang to greet visitors. She was wonderful and everybody loved her. Unfortunately she got a scratch on her face (probably from one of the left behind "can you take care of my cat" pets from my about to leave home children") into and infection and then cancer. After seven years and 3 or 4 operations that were quite expensive, we lost this dear pet. She was followed by Chloe who ate a poison berry that fell from a plant I had and left us after a less than a year. We found out when we took her to a vet (mucho bucks) that she was really Clarance. The next one was Louie who wanted to make love to the neutered cats. They were annoyed at first, but became used to it after a while. He always had free roam of the house and if he was not near his cage, he used the litter box. What a gentleman he was! When he got very sick (about 8 yrs old), one of our cats (who was always annoyed at Louie's romantic illusions) sat outside his cage all day - maybe to make sure he died, but I rather think he had an affection for him. I loved my bunnies, but they did make a lot of turds. I did use tht as fertilizer though and the flowers did grow well. Now I just have cats (actually 2 out of 3 are hubby's)and I do find them good company.

  8. I really enjoyed your story, especially the Jimmy Carter part! Thanks for visiting and following me. I will gladly do the same. Julie

  9. Hi, Starting Over. Thanks for stopping by. I really am enjoying your blog about adjusting to retirement. (For my husband, it was, Ye HAAAA! Adjustment complete.)

    Maybe the lop-eared bunnies are naturally more sweet. That's the kind my sister-in-law had, and they were very loving and well-mannered, too. Even though our Hoodles never got very friendly, we did enjoy him at times. Like the time my mother tried to take him for a walk on the leash. PMP funny! Take care.


    Hi, Julie. Welcome aboard! I'm surprised at how many people forgot the saga of Jimmy Carter and the killer rabbit. Then again, I have a knack for remembering totally weird things. Guess that's why I'm so good at trivia games: I have a head full of useless knowledge!

    Take care.

  10. Hi Susan,
    Just wanted to tell you I've enjoyed your comments on my blog so much. Thank you. Tried to include your blog on my blogroll but it won't let me. I'll keep trying.

  11. Hi, Karen. Thanks. I do enjoy your blog. It takes genuine courage and a certain sense of selflessness to be that open with your life and emotions. Believe me, your readers respect you for it.

  12. This is an absolutely delightful post! Hoodles and claws. This may keep me smiling the rest of the day.

    I say rabbits should definitely hang out with each other. And now I'm curious to look up the Jimmy Carter Killer Rabbit story. Don't know where I was when that happened. Probably where I always was: lost in my own world of personal traumas! I always enjoy history after the fact, it seems.

    I enjoy your comments very much on my blog. Thanks for your well wishes for my little daughter's recovery from neck surgery.
    Ann Carbine Best’s Long Journey Home

  13. hahaha That was such a fun post. I have laughed out loud. I searched for Jimmy Carter and the killer rabbit photos...and found them...hehehe Hilarious!


  14. Hi, Ann. I'm so happy this story made you smile. Since no one seemed to remember the killer rabbit story, I'll have to see what other weird memories I can pull out of the back of my mind. Take care, dear lady, and thank you for stopping by.


    Hi, Doris. Glad you found the story amusing, too. And even checked it out on the internet. Like Larry the Cable Guy says, "I don't care who you are ... that there's funny!"

    Take care.