CHAPTER 3: SURVIVAL OF THE SKITTISH
Abigail relaxed in her loaf position, legs tucked under her, surveying her new territory. “I need a good ‘bolt-to’ spot,” she thought, “A place where I can run and hide in case there is danger.” Just then, the man entered the room and Abigail instinctively sat up, ready to bolt. “It’s just me, Abigail. There’s nothing to be afraid of,” he assured her. But she couldn’t help it. Even though she was beginning to trust the man, she didn’t know who else might suddenly appear.
To pretty much anything that moves, a rabbit looks like a good snack. Their only defense is to run and hide. After hundreds of years and countless generations, the rabbits who survived were the ones who were always on guard and ran and hid from their predators. So, the rabbits that are around today are programmed to be cautious. Abigail liked to call it “survival of the skittish”.
She took a walk-about around the living room, searching for a good hiding place. First, she checked behind the couch. “Nope. Too open,” she thought. Then, she hopped into the dining room and looked behind the bar. “Nope. Only one entrance,” she observed. But as she came back into the living room, she noticed a little gap between the bookcase and the wall, just barely as wide as her head. “Hmmm, I wonder what’s back there?” she pondered.
She stuck her nose into the crack and sniffed. Not sensing anything threatening, she made herself skinny and squeezed her furry little body into the crevice. It was tight, but she could manage. As she rounded the corner, she could see light at the other end of the tunnel. She pushed on through, and popped her head out the other side. The exit was in the corner of the room, hidden from sight. “This is perfect.” she thought, “Two entrances, completely hidden, and just big enough for a bunny.”
There were a couple of “roots” growing in the way of the entrances, but she could fix that. She set about chewing on the roots to get them out of the way, when the man came over to investigate. “What are you doing, sweetheart?” he asked. “Just clearing the entrance,” thought Abigail, as she paused and looked up at him with her big brown eyes. She continued chewing and tugging at the root. It was very stubborn. “Um, sweetie, you probably shouldn’t chew on those cords,” said the man. Abigail stopped. “Why not?” she wondered.
The man disappeared for a few minutes and came back with some tools. With one tug (he made it look so easy) he lifted the root off the ground and hung it on a nail, so it was no longer in the way. “That works,” thought Abigail. Now she didn’t need to chew the root herself. It didn’t really taste very good anyway.
It was time for a test run. Abigail bolted around the living room to build up speed and then made a beeline for the sliver of an entrance. Without even slowing down, she disappeared into the crevice. The man stood there, dumbfounded. He couldn’t believe she’d fit through the opening, let alone at full speed. She stuck her head out the other side and looked at him. “What do you think?” she asked. “I’m impressed!” said the man. From then on, the man was careful never to block the entrances to her bolt-to spot.
Now, when Abigail played out in the open, she felt more secure, knowing that she had a safe place to hide.