Influx of rabbits in Lake Tahoe brings more bobcats


By Cheryl Millham

The first babies of the 2012 wildlife season arrived on April 17 when Lake Tahoe Wildlife Care received five mountain cottontail bunnies, which were dug up by a dog.

It is sad to say one of the bunnies did not make it. However, the other four are doing very well.

If you would like to see these little ones, go to our website, click on “photos and videos” and you will see their first feeding.

During the past two years, more and more bunnies – mostly mountain cottontails – have been spotted in the Lake Tahoe Basin. People have told us that they have lived here for 25 years (and longer) and have never seen a rabbit.

Now the bunnies are living under wood piles and decks. At the end of February, we saw some rabbit tracks in the snow in the wildlife compound area, but did not see one until the middle of March. By the end of April, we were seeing the one in our yard on a regular basis, especially in the evening.

Many baby squirrels arrive at LTWC still in the nest that was in a hole in a tree which was cut down. Photos/LTWC

Why am I telling you about the abundance of rabbits? Because in nature when you have prey, you will have predators.

Until their eyes open -- normally at 3 to 4 weeks of age -- baby squirrels must be fed a special formula via a syringe.

Can you guess what animal likes to eat rabbit more than anything else? Bobcats!

Last summer we had numerous sightings of bobcats on the South Shore.

Have they been seen before? Yes. But, we heard of more sightings last year than any other year.

Let me assure you of this fact. Bobcats do not eat dogs and cats. They do not attack people of any size or age. But they do love rabbits.

So, here is another chance to observe wildlife in the wild, co-existing around us and living a normal life. Enjoy them, do not put out any food for them and be happy we can all live together.

Cheryl Millham is executive director of Lake Tahoe Wildlife Careon the outskirts of South Lake Tahoe.

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Comments (8)
  1. 4-mer-usmc says - Posted: May 5, 2012

    Ms. Millham:

    Thank you for sharing this information. The rabbit population near my residence is booming and I’m now apprised of what to expect regarding bobcats.

  2. Steven says - Posted: May 5, 2012

    Really cool, would love to see them.

  3. Marcia says - Posted: May 5, 2012

    We have had rabbits in our yard in Meyers for the last 6 or 7 years, after 35 years of never seeing a single one.

  4. Daniel says - Posted: July 2, 2012

    I was surprised to see a full grown Cotton tail at Skylandia Park today (on North Shore)

    I have live here 20 years and had never seen one. This one wasn’t bothered by me at all.

  5. Old Long Skiis says - Posted: July 3, 2012

    Saw a cottontail in my vegtable garden twice now, nibbeling at my lettuce and carrot tops. As Elmer Fudd would say “you wascally wabbit!”.
    I could fence off the garden as I bought some chicken wire, but I like to watch the little guy as he hops around my yard.
    Take care, Old Long Skiis (aka, Bob the gardener)

  6. Trish says - Posted: August 13, 2012

    I have seen 2 cottontails in the Al Tahoe area in the last 2 weeks. Good to know about the bobcats. thanks for the info.

  7. 30yrlocal says - Posted: August 13, 2012

    We have a had a lot of neighborhood rabbits over the last several years. They are out all winter and summer and it was during winter that I first saw the wabbits….saw their prints and droppings leading to under my car. Now they dart across streets like squirrels. Love having them around but hate to think they’re not safe out there.

  8. Lia says - Posted: October 2, 2012

    So the question I have is who got sick of their bunnies and let them outside? Someone must have as I assume they are not native to our city since I have never seen them in 18 years and then BAM bunnies everywhere!