This Florida Neighborhood Has Been Overrun by Bunnies

A local nonprofit is working to find foster homes for the adorable, domestic rabbits.

cute baby rabbit outside in garden
Photo: Getty Images / K_Thalhofer

Easter may still be a month away, but one Florida neighborhood has more than enough Peter Cottontails to celebrate the holiday for years to come. In Azalea Park, Florida, a suburb of Orlando, bunnies abound—and it's becoming a bit of a problem.

Alicia Branoff, adoption and foster coordinator for Orlando Rabbit Care & Adoptions, said the neighborhood's bunny invasion likely started back in November with someone dumping a couple of domestic rabbits. Since then, the numbers have skyrocketed, and now there are around 50 bunnies living in the Orange County neighborhood.

"Their gestation period is 20 to 30 days to give birth," Branoff said in an interview with WESH. "So, they're giving birth, and then they can get pregnant the same day they give birth. So very, very quickly you're going to see those numbers increase."

While the bunnies—some white, some black, some brown, and some adorably spotted—are undeniably cute, their presence in the neighborhood puts them at great risk. Because they're domestic, they don't know how to feed or protect themselves in the wild. They're in desperate need of rescuing or adoption.

"I came in person, when I was driving down the blocks of the street, there were bunnies everywhere. In every yard ... it's just a sad situation for the community because these people have to come outside and see animals that need rescue, and no one can do anything about it at this point," Stephanie Gallino, an Orlando Rabbit Care volunteer, said in an interview with Click Orlando.

Alicia, Stephanie, and the folks at Orlando Rabbit Care & Adoptions are doing everything they can to save these bunnies, but they face considerable challenges. Local animal rescues and shelters don't take rabbits, and all 11 of the state's rabbit shelters are at full capacity. Their best option is to try to place the bunnies into foster homes, but even that is difficult because they can only take so many at a time and the rabbits continue to reproduce.

"We would have to come in and get all of the rabbits or none," Branoff said. "We can't just pull three or four rabbits at a time if we have three or four openings and then come back in two or four weeks and start getting more. Because, like I said, with them reproducing so quickly we would never get ahead of that number."

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Last year alone, Orlando Rabbit Care & Adoptions rescued 575 rabbits. So far in 2022, they've been asked to rescue 130 more. The organization is already at capacity with 80 rabbits in their care, so their only hope for these rabbits is to find foster homes.

"We need volunteers. We need money donations. The biggest thing we need is a climate-controlled location to put all of these rabbits," Branoff said.

We hope these floppy-eared friends find their forever homes soon!

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