Heron Eats Rabbit

Wildlife photographer Ad Sprang snapped these shots while shooting in Vianen, Holland as seen in the Telegraph.

Due to Andrew’s irrational yet understandable love of fuzzy little rabbits, all the pics can be found below the fold…

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Shoutout to Nick “Cop-Killer” Van Der Horst for bringing these pics to our attention!


  1. #1 Jason Brunet
    October 31, 2008

    That poor bun is terrified! Please don’t let Mr. Foofy see this!

  2. #2 NoAstronomer
    October 31, 2008

    I think the most impressive, or scary (?), part of that story is that the heron *knew* it had to drown the the rabbit.

  3. #3 natural cynic
    October 31, 2008


  4. #4 ym
    October 31, 2008

    I once watched a black-crowned night heron eat a pretty big fish. The fish was alive going in and you could see it flopping inside the heron’s neck as it went down his throat.

  5. #5 Jason
    October 31, 2008

    Almost as squickish as the pigeon eating pelican.

  6. #6 Rogue Epidemiologist
    October 31, 2008

    I used to raise rabbits when I was a kid. That series of photos was like a trainwreck. Couldn’t stop looking at it, despite the horror. I kinda hate you for posting that.

  7. #7 John P
    November 1, 2008

    Damn rabbits have been destroying my garden. How can I encourage this kind of bird to eat my rabbits?

  8. #8 y
    November 1, 2008

    note to self: read post titles before clicking around for pictures.

    note to self: don’t assume all bunny pictures are cute.


  9. #9 eric
    November 1, 2008

    That was an awesome series of shots!!
    I’ve seen a blue heron around here chasing a muskrat, but didn’t catch it. Hopefully the day it does I’ll be around to watch!

  10. #10 Size
    November 1, 2008

    How does a heron catch a rabbit anyway? Was this rabbit unusually slow and/or “special”?

  11. #11 phisrow
    November 1, 2008

    The drowning bit impresses me. Do we have any idea about the intelligence level of herons? Do they have a general instinctive mechanism for making land animals stop moving by holding them under water?

  12. #12 Myles
    November 2, 2008

    I’m not sure how much intelligence that takes. ‘Being underwater too long = death’ is something that most airbreathing animals have hopefully got a handle on by now, and any animal that lives near the water will likely have seen various species drown before. The connection isn’t difficult to make.

  13. #13 LuxyLyx
    November 2, 2008

    I don’t know any wild rabbits that are that color. I have a feeling that this rabbit was stunned and thrown in the heron’s general area.

  14. #14 hikaye
    November 3, 2008

    I love wildlife. It is quite interesting that Heron first drowns rabbit.

  15. #15 Zelly
    November 3, 2008

    Ugh…all I could think about was in 5th grade when we disected owl pellets for shrew bones….and this is just large scale…

  16. #16 Paul Clapham
    November 3, 2008

    John P: “Damn rabbits have been destroying my garden. How can I encourage this kind of bird to eat my rabbits?”

    Put a pond into your garden and stock it with goldfish. Or koi or something like that. After the herons have been by and eaten all your fish, perhaps they might go after your rabbits.

  17. #17 Frits B
    November 4, 2008

    I doubt the drowning bit. A wet rabbit would go down easier than a dry one, so it seems to me the heron simply made its prey more slippery. Or it might just have dropped the rabbit in the water and picked it up again. They’re not that intelligent.

  18. #18 Jason R
    November 9, 2008

    Take a look at this:
    Rat kebab makes a change from fish for hungry heron

    Seems the European herons have learned to dine on rat kebabs. Perhaps the bunny was a case of mistaken identity. This behavior may not be that uncommon.

  19. #19 hikaye
    November 10, 2008

    Thanks a lot Yes Thats is a good idea

  20. #20 neon
    April 11, 2009

    ı don’t know any wild rabbits that are that color. I have a feeling that this rabbit was stunned and thrown in the heron’s general area.

  21. #21 bilgisayar teknik servis
    November 22, 2009

    Thanks for your share sure ..

  22. #22 josh dent
    November 29, 2009

    I agree with mr 20, this looks like a domestic rabbit…

  23. #23 Virginia Aspinwall
    May 18, 2010

    I, too, have experienced the heron’s interest in young rabbits, about 8 years ago whilst walking along the North Esk in Angus, Scotland. In that spring there was an absolute carpet of rabbits along the river bank and I heard the familiar scream of a baby rabbit. On looking across the river I saw a heron with rabbit in beak just taking off. The heron was only a couple of feet off the ground when the rabbit fell to earth, hopped a few times and resumed grazing! I had thought it unusual and imagined that the heron was just fed-up with the little pests disturbing him and wanted to make a point!

  24. #24 Tim
    December 10, 2010

    I would have shot it. Hate those damn birds, I see them trying to get koi from my pond during the summer.

  25. #25 fue
    December 29, 2010

    How does a heron catch a rabbit, ı couldnt understand.

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