The problem is deeper than rabbits eating my favorite plants and limited discretionary income. The problem is that they’re cockier than Bugs Bunny.
I sprinkled scads of cayenne pepper on the leaves of my snappy orange Asiatic lilies, nestled in a 2-foot-high pot on my patio. Lined the soil with thorny branches cut from nearby rose bushes. It was Cottontail’s turn to feel a pain in the butt.
But I happened by a back window of my Ballantyne home one evening and saw my lilies were becoming dinner, a furry scavenger sitting comfortably in the dirt. My response was quick, calculated, decisive. “Hey!” I shouted. “Hey!” The rabbit casually glanced over his shoulder. If there was a cartoon bubble coming over his head, it would say, “I’m eating supper right now. Call back in a half-hour.” I bolted out the screen door and ran toward the pot. He stared at me the whole time and didn’t budge until I got within swinging distance, finally bouncing away with a “Dude! Chill!” expression. I surveyed the damage. My lush patio adornments were now Slim Jims in dirt. Pellet presents included.
When I relayed my story to the garden expert at the neighborhood hardware compound, he laughed. I swear I saw his nose twitching. So, no more Asiatic lilies unless they’re perched as high as the head of an NBA forward.
On a recent evening, one of our hoppy little terrorists was sitting in the middle of the backyard again, staring at me through the window with the usual arrogant indifference. Light bulb over my head. I’ve been meaning to turn on the sprinklers at night anyway – the daily 100-degree temperatures seem to agree – so I ran out to the garage to unleash a surprise. I’m not ashamed to say I was a little excited. The sound of the sprinklers coming on didn’t budge him, but the water hadn’t reached him yet. I stood and waited for the scurrying of little bunny feet. When the jet stream reached him, he looked up briefly, twitched ever so slightly – but stayed right there, calmly letting the mist envelop him.
Surely this would become uncomfortable very quickly. Five minutes passed. Ten. Fifteen. I thought I heard him say, “Pass the soap.”
Everything I’ve heard and read says this simply is not supposed to happen. They even make motion-detection sprinklers to keep rabbits away. If it wasn’t official before, it is now: I am Wile E. Coyote.
I called to my wife to take a look. We stood there, stunned. Of course, she mentioned how cute the rabbit looked and moved on. I reached for my sole remaining defense, yelling out the window. “Care for a massage?”