Cute Infestation: Discover How Las Vegas Became Overrun with Bunny Rabbits

Cute Infestation: Discover How Las Vegas Became Overrun with Bunny Rabbits

Children adore bunny rabbits. When one notices, the response is usually a string of “ohs” and “awws.” And, inevitably, the request to get a bunny rabbit for a pet follows. Sometimes, the cute bunnies at the pet store are too much of a temptation to resist. So families collect the cute furry creatures and bring them home. Unfortunately, the glow often fades quickly. And that means Americans abandon their pet rabbit more than any other animal.

Sometimes, bunnies end up in shelters, but not always. Pet bunny rabbits are released into public spaces more often than many think. And that creates a problem. So much so that rabbits may begin to invade cities and towns. A great example is Las Vegas, now filled with bunny rabbits. Below, we’ll examine how this happened and what the city is doing to solve the problem.

Bunny Rabbit Basics

First, we need to look at some basic information about rabbits to understand why it is a problem to let them out in public.

The main issue is the rapid pace of their reproduction. A female rabbit’s pregnancy is short, usually only about 30 days. And when they give birth, the litter can be up to 14. In addition, the same female can become pregnant again almost immediately. So the proverb “breed like rabbits” speaks the truth.

Many predators, such as coyotes and birds of prey, prey on jackrabbits. So they hide in underground burrows during the day to avoid detection and escape the heat of the day.

Rabbits reproduce at a very rapid rate.


When did the bunnies take over Las Vegas?

No one is quite sure when the problem started. However, it became visible around 2012. Then, by 2017, there were an estimated 800 to 1,200 roaming around the city. Rabbit problems likely started with the abandonment of pet bunnies. And because of their rapid reproduction, the problem quickly became complicated.

However, reproduction rate is not the only factor contributing to the problem. Las Vegas residents continue to abandon their pet bunnies on a regular basis. Rabbit advocates and shelter workers know of at least two popular “drop off” areas in the city. So without a solution to pet abandonment problems, the city will continue to fight an uphill battle against bunnies.

Rabbits are the most abandoned pets.


How is Las Vegas trying to solve the problem?

Las Vegas and the state of Nevada have taken significant steps over the years to combat rabbit infestations. In 2015, the state awarded a contract to a local animal shelter to limit explosive population growth. And they managed to make a significant dent in the rabbit population. Unfortunately, it was short-lived. The rabbit population in Las Vegas returned to previous levels in less than six months.

An organization called Bunnies Matter is working hard to catch the bunnies that roam the city. They partner with individuals to care for the bunnies, pay vet bills and feed them. In addition, they are trying to find homes for the rabbits. However, there are not enough qualified adoptive owners to handle the large volume of bunny rabbits in Las Vegas.

The problem is compounded by the fact that Animal Control will not help without complaints from the public. And rabbits are outside the jurisdiction of the Department of Wildlife. So various Las Vegas companies and organizations are partnering with Bunnies Matter to try and find solutions.

An innovative, albeit disturbing, solution comes from South Summerlin Golf Course. Bunnies in Las Vegas have caused devastating damage to the greens. So the golf course hired falcons (handlers for birds of prey). Falcons use a technique called predator reduction. They began bringing their hawks and falcons to the South Summerlin Golf Course in early 2022 to help control the rabbit population.

Las Vegas has taken many steps to reduce the rabbit problem, but none of them are long-term solutions.

©Jeroen Mikkers/

Does Las Vegas still have a bunny problem today?

Yes, the city is still occupied. But there is no official estimate for the total number. Bunnies Matter is still working hard to help mitigate the problem. They are placing bunny rabbits in adoptive homes as soon as possible. However, they are working at capacity. As of October 2022, they could no longer take rabbits inside.

Bunnies Matter is working hard to find as many adoptive homes as possible.


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