A Florida Suburb Is Being Overrun by Lionhead Bunnies

Cute but destructive, the formerly domesticated bunnies are causing chaos.

Rabbits are invading Florida.
Rabbits are invading Florida. / Black Lollipop/E+ via Getty Images

Residents of the Jenada Isles community in Florida are having a storybook experience. Dozens of domesticated, friendly rabbits are populating their streets, driveways, and yards. But it may not come with a storybook ending.

According to the Associated Press, the unusual rabbit occupation in the tony Fort Lauderdale suburb of Wilton Manors is the result of a breeder who illegally released the reproducing rabbits into the community. The lionhead bunnies—known for a tuft of hair around their heads—are approaching 100 in number. They hop up to residents, loiter in the neighborhood, and generally present as a pleasant nuisance.

But the adorable problem is only fleetingly charming. The rabbits are vulnerable to predators and could suffer in extreme heat. They can also be destructive, digging holes in yards and chewing on wires. With that many rabbits also comes a lot of rabbit droppings.

Efforts are underway to corral and home the animals, but it’s not easy. Resident Alicia Griggs is estimating it could cost between $20,000 to $40,000 to relocate the rabbits. If the money can’t be raised, it is possible that Wilton Manors could move forward with allowing exterminators to come in and resolve the problem. (In April, the city commission voted in favor of pest control but is giving Griggs and others time to find alternative solutions.)

For now, Griggs is caring for a few of the rabbits and has set up a GoFundMe to try and get them off the streets. As of Tuesday, July 18, the campaign has raised more than half of its $15,000 goal.