It’s that time of the year for Easter eggs and chocolate bunnies and baskets stuffed with goodies. My wife, Cindy, and I are too old for finding Easter eggs and our nest has been empty for a quite a while now.
But Chocolate Easter Bunnies?
Yeah, we got that.
Okay, they’re not really chocolate and not really bunnies. They’re rabbits, marsh rabbits to be exact, and we consider it a treat whenever one hops into our backyard and nibbles away at the weeds. We didn’t always have a family of chocolate-colored Easter-Bunnies mowing the backyard grass, no. Strangely, it all began with a hurricane and a tornado.
Remember Hurricane Dorian back in 2019? Cindy and I worked the Pet Friendly Animal Shelter during that storm because this is just one of the many services that the Flagler Humane Society provides for our community of pets.
When we returned home after the storm, we realized that a twister had touched down behind our house, toppling a significantly sized pine tree, root-ball and all. A large pit gaped where the tree used to stand, overhung now by the snaggle roots of the sidelong tree. I marveled at what a magnificent warren this would make for one of our neighborhood critters and a certain Marsh Rabbit concurred.
We were rocking in our Adirondacks out on the Lanai one early evening when Cindy pointed out the screen towards a little furball in the yard.
“Look, it’s a bunny!”
Sure enough, the little critter tugged green things out of our lawn and nibbled incessantly, leafy foliage dangling from furry lips.
In her usual spontaneity, Cindy dubbed her with a moniker.
"She looks like a little Chocolate Easter Bunny so I’ll call her Bon-Bon.”
Marsh rabbits live near freshwater marshes as they’re avid swimmers always ready to dive into the water to escape predators. They have cottontails plus short, rounded ears and small feet.
Mama-Kazi, our daredevil squirrel from a previous story, gaped at this huge beast in obvious disbelief, wondering how this particular squirrel managed to grow so large. She tip-toed toward the super-sized squirrel but, unfazed, Bon-Bon kept chewing.
The stare-down lasted a good five minutes, neither one yielding. Finally, Bon-Bon darted off, bounded around the end of our backyard lattice and disappeared into the preserve. We thought that was the end but no, Bon-Bon appeared the next day at dusk, nibbling away at whatever was delectable back there.
“We need to make a doorway for her,” my wife announced.
And when she says we she really means me and the next thing I know, I’m saw-cutting a rabbit hole for our little chocolate bunny to come and go.
Bon-Bon has become a fixture in our yard and it tickles us whenever she makes an appearance. She does not like the grass mowed too short nor too high because then our marsh grass loses its appeal. Eventually, I found the sweet spot on the lawnmower that keeps the grassy weeds at just the right chew-height.
A few months later, another rabbit showed up quite unexpectedly. This one was a fraction of the size of Bon-Bon, sort of Mama-Kazi sized, obviously a juvenile, and more earth-toned in coloring.
You see, breeding can occur at any time with these promiscuous little cottontails.
And, yes, Cindy immediately dubbed a name for this one, too.
“Look, it’s Won-Ton!”
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