Rural Reading: Rare sight of a black rabbitBy Adrian Lawson
July 20, 2012
I was surprised last week to see a black rabbit nibbling the grass near Grazeley.
The cheeky little fellow was sitting completely unaware of my presence having emerged from his burrow under some brambles. I have seen black rabbits before, but they are unusual, so I stopped to watch him for a moment.
My dog saw him, and was keen to chase him. She barked excitedly but curbed her natural chasing instinct and the rabbit hopped back under the brambles and out of sight.
The very next day I headed up on to the Downs for a change of scenery and as I walked along a track overlooking vast open fields I surprised a small group of fallow deer, nestling in a fold in the hedge.
Once again my dog got really excited, but the deer ran through a field of rape seed, before stopping some distance away, where they turned and stared at us. Curiously among them was a completely black male, complete with an impressive set of black antlers.
We watched them for a while as they made their way through the crop, all the while keeping us in view. Not outside of the Highlands of Scotland have I seen such a magnificent animal.
Eventually they moved out of sight beyond a ridge and we carried on with our walk. We didn’t see much more wildlife, although we did hear quail calling, which was really nice as they are increasingly rare now.
Later that day I drove towards Theale on the back roads, and spotted a movement in the verge ahead of me. It was dusk, I half expected something to run out in the road so I slowed right down. I have never run over an animal before, and I don’t want to now.
As a frequent cyclist I come across far too many animals run down by cars.
As if waiting for someone to let them cross a family of badgers, a sow and three little youngsters, trotted across the road in a line as I came to a halt. It was a lovely thing to see, but the really curious thing was that they were all jet black. I have never seen a black badger before, let alone a family of them.
They say things come in threes, but to see a black rabbit, a black deer and four black badgers in the space of two days was quite remarkable!