Watching rabbits run is incredible. Tigger ran like the wind. She was just so fast and so light. No one could catch her until she would tire out. When she ran up the stairs, it looked like she was sailing over some steps, not touching them all as she flew up or down them. Looking at a rabbit sitting still, it is hard to imagine them so fast. The build of front legs to back legs looks so out of sync and balance. It would seem that a funny hopping motion would be all you might expect.
But when I watched Tigger sitting as she is in this first picture, I noticed how very long and straight her front legs were. They were so light and slim in comparison to the rest of her body. It made me think of race horses with the very slender legs that look like they shouldn’t be able to support all the body weight and yet the horses are pure poetry in motion. I realized watching Tigger that she would often have the same way of holding her head and front legs as I had seen in horses right before they would leap into a full run. She also had the same way of straightening her head out level with her body that you see in horses when they race.
Tigger’s Bunny 500 racing was so regulated, we would say that the Tigger Train was running. We tried to make sure that there were always easy open running areas around the full perimeter of rooms, because she would run around and around just like a horse running a racetrack.
We also kept those running areas clear of things. Tigger like a horse was also easily freaked. A weird sound or movement and she would be off like a shot. We often said her motto was, “Run first, look later”. Sometimes her freakazoid runs would start Shadow running and we would have an out of control bunny stampede with them banging into things and each other at high-speed. Their cage at one point was six feet long with a door at each end. They stampeded into opposite ends of the cage meeting head on in the middle. They stunned each other a bit, but fortunately were not hurt. As time went on though, when something would send Tigger into stampede mode, Shadow learned to be in sync with her. You would see the two of them running full speed side by side as close together as two race horses running in tandem shoulder to shoulder to make that finish line first.
There was one time that her mini horse racer speed saved her. We would always look at any sofa or chair before sitting down and look for where the rabbits were too as a safety measure. One evening, Tigger wasn’t as far away as I had judged. I started to sit down and Tigger decided to jump up and race across the sofa as I was coming down. I had no ability to catch myself and literally felt her brush underneath across my lower back as she raced through. I am not sure who was more scared with that one.
We had a couple open-ended boxes with a sheet draped over them as a tunnel for the bunnies. Something set Tigger off once while she was in the tunnel and she took off top speed. Somehow, she got wrapped up in the sheet, pulling the boxes down so that she couldn’t run through them. She kept running pulling everything with her as she then barreled sideways into a hay bowl overturning that, before she ran free of everything and then sat there blinking all the hay dust out of her eyes. We were sitting there within four feet and this took about 30 seconds. We couldn’t even stand up to help her before it was all over. Well, except for the call to the vet to find out what we should look for if the hay in the eyes had caused a problem. Fortunately, she was fine again within 24 hours.
Like a race horse that would become agitated, at the vet we often helped to calm Tigger a bit during exams by covering her eyes. There was one time the vet told us that the rabbit digestive system was closest to that of a horse. Watching Tigger, I thought there were many similarities and that we often had a high-spirited mini race horse in our home.
The one regret I have is that we didn’t have an opportunity to catch lots of Tigger and Shadow on video. With my first family bunny Thumper, I was just learning how to take photos with point and shoot cameras. So there aren’t many photos of him. With Tigger and Shadow, we were making the switch from film to digital cameras. So we got a lot of images (lots of bad ones during the learning), but never had the chance to really start learning how to capture them on video. Something to learn with bunnies of the future …
On Friday, Ballerina in Jammies …