The Web is awash with dog pictures and cat photos. I’m not certain what animal weighs in after those two category-killers for volume of cute photos, but rabbits must be high on the list.
I like rabbits, and always scan the brush for them when we hike. I’ve seen the common cottontail just about everywhere, and photographed more than a few.
Given enough opportunity, as we have hiking in the brushy, dry land atop the bluffs above the Pacific here, you eventually see rabbits in unusual poses.
You might even catch one silhouetted against the ocean.
I’ve seen my share of jackrabbits in the deserts of the American West, but I haven’t been so lucky at photographing them. They’re skittish, and one barely gets a glimpse before they’re gone, especially since I see them most often when I’m out for an early morning or late evening run, the light is poor, and I’m not carrying a camera.
I may have caught sight of one snowshoe hare in Denali National Park, but it was from a moving vehicle. We were looking for bears, caribou, moose and wolves, and I’d probably have been the laughingstock of the company if I’d called out, “Stop the bus! I see a rabbit!”
Rabbits and hares are Lagomorphs, not rodents, just to get that straight. Also in the order Lagomorpha are pikas, which live at high altitudes. Here’s one Dad and I spotted in North Cascades National Park in Washington. I wrote more about pikas HERE.
Rabbits have a prominent place in legends, tales, fables and stories throughout the ages. An artist of the Mimbres culture in southwestern New Mexico painted this jackrabbit on a piece of pottery about a thousand years ago.
One day of rabbit photography stands out. I was in Scottsdale, Arizona, producing one of my corporation’s large events at a resort. There aren’t many free minutes in my schedule at those events, and I take advantage of whatever slices of time I can grab to leave the darkened, over-air conditioned ballroom and step outside. Adjacent to the ballroom at that particular venue was a wide expanse of green grass: a croquet lawn.
The temperature was well over 100 degrees. The cool, green grass attracted some local residents, panting in the dry heat.
Isn’t that a pitiful sight? Little rabbit, prostrated in the heat, legs splayed out to get as cool as possible. There were more than half a dozen of them.
I checked on them every day, and every day they were there. Later in the afternoon, as the temperature sank below 100, they recovered, and resumed lolloping around, eating the grass instead of merely sacking out on it.
I’ve worked at a lot of resorts where I’ve spotted a fair amount of local wildlife, including lizards, deer, even a bear, not to mention any number of rabbits. Here, at the same Scottsdale resort, is a Chuckwalla.
Those Scottsdale rabs definitely had the thing figured out. It was a resort, after all; they were chilling out. Another round of carrot juice, please. More ice this time.
© Brad Nixon 2016, 2017
The title plays on the opening line of a poem by Gertrude Stein, from Four Saints in Three Acts, “Pigeons on the grass, alas.”