Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mxyomatosis – or – The Explanation for Flattened Rabbits

Mxyomatosis  - Rabbit (Whitcliffe Wood)
It took a while for it to dawn on me and my tour mates that something was amiss with the number of rabbits we kept walking past, dead and deflated, like flattened pancakes. Finally, we asked and learned that the rabbits likely succumbed to mxyomatosis – a disease which affects rabbits and is caused by the Myxoma virus, a kind of pox virus. The virus was discovered over a hundred years ago in South America, used in Australia in the 1930s to control rabbit populations, and then unintentionally introduced to France in the 1950s where it eventually spread to the UK. The photo shown here was taken just west of Richmond, near Whitcliffe Wood. This was day 8, July 31 when we walked from Reeth to Richmond on the Wainwright Coast to Coast. The second photo was day 11, Aug 3 when we walked from Blakey Ridge to Grosmont. The dead rabbit was found up on Glaisdale Moor.
Mxyomatosis  - Rabbit (Glaisdale Moor)

1 comment:

  1. Why didn't they just introduce Siberians to control the rabbit population? Then you wouldn't have to be subjected to such unpleasantries on your walk. stupid south americans...

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