Animals In Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Rabbits

My life in appalachia - Rabbits

Chitter snapped this picture out her bedroom window. Mr. Cottontail stayed there for so long, prancing back and forth, that we decided he must have been posing for her.

I tried to remember all the rabbit folklore I knew to share with you, but only two things came to mind: the obvious lucky rabbit foot; and you shouldn’t kill rabbits to eat until after the first few heavy frosts in fall to make sure any wolves (parasites) on the rabbit are gone.

I checked with Frank C. Brown to see if he had any good ones to add:

  • A rabbit cannot be trapped in a new box trap you must use old boards to make the box
  • If a rabbit being chased by dogs stops and licks his paws the dogs will never find him (I know a beagle down the hill who would disagree with this one)
  • Seeing a rabbit while fishing is bad luck
  • On the first day of the month say Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit and you’ll get a present before you know it (I hope all of you will be saying Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit with me this the first of next month)

Last summer the rabbits ate my sugar snap peas before they could even get big enough to bloom. This year they’ve totally turned their noses up at them. I mean they haven’t even nibbled on the peas-weird uh?

As more people are trying their hand at sustainable living, raising rabbits for meat is becoming popular. In fact the backyard rabbit is giving the backyard chicken a run for its money.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    June 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    We don’t see many rabbits around here. Could be the wild dogs that run unchecked in our county (Harnett), or could be the chemicals that the farmers use on the bean, corn, cotton and tobacco fields. Not sure!
    First time I’ve ever lived where there were few to no bunnies.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    June 5, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    Some of the best sausage I’ve ever eaten was rabbit sausage. I sure wish I had that recipe!

  • Reply
    Stephen Ammons
    May 31, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Ed. I did some research about rabbit tobacco and the real name for it is Gnaphalium Obtusifolium.Common names for it are sweet or wild balsam,sweet cudweed,cat’s foot,indian posy,and life everlasting.I is or was thought that smoking it is good for sinusitis,head cold,congestion,mild nerve sedative,antispasmedic and is said to good for many more conditions. I will note i am not an expert or doctor so smoke at your own risk. This is just a polite way of saying if you try it and grow some extra body parts or get large green spots on your body don’t come looking for me.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    May 30, 2012 at 11:15 pm

    sure love all the lore about the rabbits.. as for myself. i have never eaten any.. and probably never will.. but i adore them and we have quite a few of them here… along with some naughty squirrels.. lol so anyone who wants to have something exotic for dinner.. come on over and go shopping …its been really hot here.. 90 for may. ughhh and hope all of you are keeping cool
    sending big hugs and lots of love

  • Reply
    Tammy Flectcher
    May 30, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    My Daddy always said never eat a rabbit till a hard frost occurred to kill the parasites. He never mentioned warbles or wolves as the problem. I guess he did not know why that was the ‘hunting guideline.’ It was just something he was firm you did not do. I wonder that these old guidelines don’t involve a lot of common sense in that you do not shoot animals during breeding season so that the species could be perpetuated?

  • Reply
    May 30, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    Paul-I’ve always heard it called wolves down here-instead of warbles. I wondered if anyone would ask about the wolves-so I’m glad you did : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 30, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Paul Certo-There are red wolves in the Smoky Mountains of Western NC and Eastern TN. Check it out on the GSMNP website. When the population recovers they will probably be moving toward Ohio. They are not supposed to be a threat to humans but you’d better put all your little pigs in the brick house.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    Haven’t eaten rabbit in a long time but do remember how good fried tame rabbit tasted. The way grocery prices keep going up, we may need to all start raising them,except I couldn’t stand to kill one. Them and other varmits aren’t good on gardens tho.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Rabbits are really cute, but also really delicious, and easy to make, just brown them with garlic and rosemary, and after browned add some white wine, water, and chicken stock, then simmer for about an hour or so. Delish!

  • Reply
    May 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    Rabbits are a real problem for me
    just when the White Runner Beans
    get about 3″ high. They love those
    tender shoots, but if I get them
    sprayed in time, they leave them
    Like Jim Casada rabbit hunting was
    my boyhood passion. I had some
    dogs that understood what we were
    doing. Hunt rabbits of the morning, squirrels of the evenings, and posseums at night.
    Once in a while they’d tree a
    groung hog, making supper extra
    special that day…Ken

  • Reply
    May 30, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    We used to see wild rabbits when we lived in the country but I rarely see them now. I’ve only seen rabbit on the dinner table once and I was quite young – It’s highly likely I didn’t eat it as I loved rabbits as a child. My Dad wasn’t keen on them and he obviously didn’t know anything about the folklore because he was worried about parasites in them.

  • Reply
    Paul Certo
    May 30, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    Wolves? Rabbits around here get a parasite we call Warbles-it’s the larva of the Dobson’s fly. A good hard frost kills the warbles, and if the rabbit doesn’t die in a few days, it’s safe to eat. But the only wolves in Ohio the past 120 or so years are in zoos!

  • Reply
    B f
    May 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    i am not a rabbits best friend right now altho they are cute and smart , and the reason i am put out with them,they have completely ruined my beans so that i had to pull them up and from the tracks i assume the deer had a snack with them , weve got rabbits/squirrels/ground hogs/ etc
    so i am not a happy person right now with the little nibblers and would you believe they didnt touch the tender leaf lettuce? does it ever endwith these critters?

  • Reply
    Darlene LaRoche
    May 30, 2012 at 11:48 am

    Growing up Dad would hunt rabbits to help supplement our meals..they were tasty… 🙂

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    May 30, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Rabbits do dance and fun to watch…We sat on our sons deck one evening and watched two hopping back and running at each other. Then they were joined by another, and then another until a whole line dancing group set up dancing about…so cute…His yard is fenced in on two sides in a neighborhood…they must’ve felt safe there as our son doesn’t have a dog and only a small raised bed garden…LOL
    All of a sudden the fun stopped when the neighbors next door let their little Pappions (sic) out to play, with their small yipping bark, only about as big as the rabbits they were barking at…LOL
    Our rabbits are scarce..coyotes…but we have a few..that dance..I catch them on the night camera at times….
    Back when I wanted to be a farmer of sorts, we had started to raise rabbits for meat….No way, I got to attached to them…and couldn’t kill them…
    I loved your pun….a backyard chicken run! You know chicken run…Oh well…LOL Was that on purpose?
    Thanks Tipper..

  • Reply
    May 30, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Maybe I need to get a Beagle to assist my German Shepherd in the rabbit chase. I let rabbit hunters come in all winter with their promise to thin the herd, instead, they must have fed them fertility drugs. I don’t know any folklore, but their foot won’t be so lucky if I could only get the nerve…
    Sweet potato vines must be the tastiest of all plants.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 30, 2012 at 9:36 am

    When I was a little girl my dad decided to raise some rabbits to eat. He built a nice big rabbit hutch for them to live in. We got them as little rabbits feed them and took care of them.
    When it came time to “process” the grown rabbits my dad killed them and hung them up on the clothes line to clean.
    He killed our pets! No one would eat them, not my mother, my sister, or me.
    My dad was not happy but at least he didn’t raise any more rabbits. LOL

  • Reply
    Susan C
    May 30, 2012 at 9:06 am

    June 1 is also National Doughnut Day:
    “National Doughnut Day was established 75 years ago as a way to commemorate the work of The Salvation Army “doughnut ladies” who served the treat to soldiers during WW I.”
    So Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit and free doughnut at Krispy Kreme on Friday.

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    May 30, 2012 at 8:44 am

    I have a beagle in the neighborhood that keeps them on the trot..They usually nibble on my flowers but this year they haven’t had the chance…Marigolds are the only thing they won’t eat..

  • Reply
    May 30, 2012 at 8:41 am

    We let several tame rabbits loose to live in our barn but they disappeared I’m afraid the coyotes got them. I should have cooked them up with dumplings and ate them myself. I loved Ethelene Dyer-Jones’ post about the place where she grew up. My paternal great -great Grandmother was Cherokee. It sounds like a place I would love to visit.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2012 at 8:29 am

    all i like about rabbits is they are soooo cute. i do know they eat gardens and flowers, but i love the little guys

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    May 30, 2012 at 8:06 am

    as with most everything “wild” I am missing rabbits –we used to see them in the yard but so much development around us has moved them farther and farther away. We still have squirrels who provide entertainment (my dad would have said they sure are good with dumplings).

  • Reply
    Bill Burnett
    May 30, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I’ve never been able to determine why anyone would think a Rabbit’s Foot conveys good luck on the holder there-of. Anytime I see someone with a Rabbit’s Foot I know that somewhere there is a Rabbit who had four and at best is now running around on a Peg-Leg. at worst the original owner of the “Lucky?” foot lost all four feet when it was skinned for consumption. I think I’ll just stick with my Lucky Buckeye.

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    May 30, 2012 at 7:44 am

    This posting reminds me of one of my favorite stories – The Velveteen Rabbit. My children still remember that story. I have passed the book down to my granddaughter. She loves her bunnies that she sleeps with every night, even the one that I sent her for her garden.

  • Reply
    Karen Larsen
    May 30, 2012 at 7:32 am

    We are overrun with rabbits this year. One of our tomato plants has been eaten, along with flowers, etc. I don’t know any rabbit lore, but will try to remember to say” Rabbit” three times on June 1!

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    May 30, 2012 at 7:27 am

    What if you had grown up in a place named Choestoe which means, in Cherokee, “The Place Where Rabbits Dance?” That’s exactly where I grew up, the district (and community) in Union County, GA with that name–Choestoe. Just let the four syllables lilt over your tongue: Cho-e-sto-e (and be sure you sound long o and long e, give almost equal accent to the Cho and the sto–and there you have it: Cho-e-sto-e, “the place where rabbits dance”! Legend, song, poems and much love for place grew up about it, and we thought, on a moonlit night, if we watched closely enough, rabbits would come out of their burrows and dance for us!
    “We could believe they danced,
    And wish them dancing,” wrote our native poet, Byron Herbert Reece.
    The Indians left this name, definitely, which the Scots-Irish settlers changed slightly to fit their own pronunciation. But were they “naming a country after what was found there,
    and gave it it’s name, ‘a dancing place of rabbits,'” –or was the tribe of Cherokee who lived there maybe the ‘Rabbit Clan” (or tribe)? Regardless, it is a place I love and go back to as often as I can! Choetoe will always be home to me!

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    May 30, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Our yard has many rabbits this year. Almost any time you go out you will see two or three of them eating clover. They range from tiny little ones just out of the nest to grown ones. We have many shrubs and rose bushes, so they are always close to cover, but most of the time they just watch us and move over a little if we walk too close. Some one once told me that when we hunted rabbits that they would hide and wait for you to pass, but you could often see it’s eye as it watched you. Granny could make the best fried rabbit and gravy. Besides being good eating, this saved a frying chicken for another day.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 30, 2012 at 7:18 am

    We used to gather and dry out “Rabbit Tobbacer” then roll it up and smoke it. Does anyone know the scientific name for the plant?
    Bet that bunny would look cool with a cigarette hanging out of the side of it’s mouth.

  • Reply
    Eva Nell Mull Wike, Ph.D.
    May 30, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Tipper: I’ll bet you know already about ‘where the rabbits play’ over in Georgia! I just love that place.
    I also love the rabbits and will allow them to eat the blossoms of the pansies growing in the ‘flower’ garden at my back door. Rabbits are so much better than the DEER! The deer usually pull the pansy plants OUT OF THE GROUND and carry them out of the garden! THAT DOES NOT SET WELL WITH ME!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    May 30, 2012 at 6:46 am

    We were lucky this year; rabbits didn’t bother our garden. Last year they tried to eat up all my snap beans.

  • Reply
    May 30, 2012 at 6:10 am

    Does anyone know of the “Rabbit Dance”?
    My daddy (now age 93) would entertain us by rabbit dancing. The Rabbit Dance was named for the happy movements a rabbit makes boucing back and forth and frisking about. The dance is best described as a mix of “Hambone” and “Break Dancing.”
    Was this something Daddy made up or are there other Rabbit Dancers out there?

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 30, 2012 at 5:10 am

    You should only eat rabbit in months that have an R in them.
    Those sudden shivers we get even when it’s hot happen when a rabbit runs across the place your grave is going to be.
    Brother Harold and I built a rabbit box and trapped a skunk. We snuck up and opened it but Mr. Skunk stayed put. We ended up shooting the new rabbit box to pieces.

  • Leave a Reply