Sunday, June 14, 2015

What would happen if mankind disappeared, would our domestic animals survive without us?

Few domestic animals would survive and the less adapt would not.

Survival would depend on various factors. 

  • ·         their ability to adjust to their environment, (capability of adaptation)

  • ·         size, race, specie

  • ·         the capability of avoiding or protecting themselves from lurking danger

  • ·         problems they would need to solve to survive and reproduce

  • ·         the struggle to survive and thrive – from predation, competition, parasitism, and climate change

I do believe that some of our domestic animals would survive well in Italy, perhaps because of the climate; I wouldn’t be too sure about Alaska if I had a Toy poodle.

For instance, I received a tiny rabbit as a gift, Holly, a female. She arrived in a big cage where she ate, slept and did just everything poor thing. I couldn’t stand for that, therefore the first two years she lived on our spacious tiled bathroom, because she would chew the furniture and any wires hanging around the house, which is normal for a rabbit. Please bear in mind that,

  •        Rodents are animals with front teeth that grow all the time.

·         Therefore, our pet rabbits must always have something to chew on. If not, their front teeth will grow too long for them to chew food normally.

In the evening, I would pick her up and pet her, then settle her on the couch in the living room. She would play by jumping up and down from the couch, or thump her hind legs on the rug when she was face to face with our kitten. She was so sweet when she ran in circles on the rug, leaping in the air while contorting and twisting her body like an acrobat.

To make a long story short, I built Holly a three-story condominium outdoors and laid it on the lawn in the shade. I added some of her litter in a corner so she would feel safer. When I put her in the cage, she investigated her new habitat. Soon she started digging holes in the bottom of the cage, and then the next day she would cover the hole up with hay. 

Soon after, my husband and son brought home Biru, a Lionhead rabbit they found wandering the busy streets in town. It was a male but it seemed to us that he had been sterilized. 


We decided to put him in the cage along with Holly. Well, in no time at all they mated. After a few months I couldn’t find Biru in the cage, he had disappeared, I panicked, had the children left the cage door open?

 No, a few days later, I saw Biru coming out of a hole in the ground and…three little rabbits were hopping around on the first floor.

Biru and Holly had been very clever in hiding their nest. She had three litters during that summer before I even realized they had a litter. It had seemed strange to me that Biru and Holly were eating so much, I guess - with all the little ones they had to feed.

That summer the kids did leave the cage door open one evening and the next morning the rabbits were roaming the grounds, jumping and twisting their bodies in joy. I didn’t have the courage to put them back in the cage. Besides the fact I couldn’t catch them, only Holly was tame enough to approach but she didn’t appreciate being back in the cage, she chewed her way through the floor and stayed outdoors free once again. 

I had cut out a door for them on the ground floor so they could go back inside to eat and have a safe place to go back to in case of predators. 

Now we have quite a few rabbits hopping around the grounds, digging holes here and there then covering the entrance with debris. Biru disappeared; he probably migrated to another area in the woods nearby. He was a runaway when we found him so it’s possible that he likes to wander around. 

They all survived the winter and snow, they adapted very easily to their new environment. A few little rabbits are missing, but there are predators out there in the wilderness. The worst are cats, we occasionally have a fox in the spring that does come around, but the rabbits are very swift. 

I know that to some people it may seem unfair to free the rabbits but if you ever happen to have a chance to observe these beautiful animals in the wilderness, you wouldn’t think twice in freeing yours. 

You could take into consideration of fencing up an area and free your rabbits now and then, so they could dig up their little domain. It would make them very happy I assure you.

Therefore, this is one example, in case we humans disappear from the globe, which could prove that our little domestic animals could surely survive without us.

 I am writing a book on animal behavior and more precisely on my domestic and rescued wild animals.

 Over the years, I have been able to observe animal behaviors, which in some cases are very similar to human behavior.

Now, try to imagine what would happen if we were all to disappear.

 Give me your opinion on the subject; do you think your Doberman could survive without you? How about you’re Chihuahua?

 For more information on animal instinct and behavior check out the links below.

I love Darwin and read most of his books on the subject.

RECORD: Darwin, C. R. 1859. On the origin of species by means of natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life. London: John Murray. [1st edition]

I will not attempt any definition of instinct. It would be easy to show that several distinct mental actions are commonly embraced by this term; but everyone understands what is meant, when it is said that instinct impels the cuckoo to migrate and to lay her eggs in other birds' nests. An action, which we ourselves should require experience to enable us to perform, when performed by an animal, more especially by a very young one, without any experience, and when performed by many individuals in the same way, without their knowing for what purpose it is performed, is usually said to be instinctive.

For more information about Rabbit behavior check out the following website.

 Binkies, Nose Bonks and Flops: Rabbit BehaviorExplained.

Abi Cushman is an expert on the subject.