Rabbits ride on sheep to escape flood in New Zealand

Ivan Pentchoukov
By Ivan Pentchoukov
July 25, 2017News
Rabbits ride on sheep to escape flood in New Zealand
A rare site: rabbits ride sheep to safety during a flood in New Zealand. (Courtesy of Ferg Horne)

“When the going gets tough, hop on a wooly sheep.”

That seems to be the advice that a few rabbits followed amidst widespread floods in Otago and Canterbury regions in New Zealand.

The furry creatures can be seen perched atop wooly sheep as they walk through flood waters. The rabbits rode their way out of disaster and onto a Taieri Plains farm.

Ferg Horne, a local farmer, recorded a video of the smart rabbits while checking in on his neighbor’s farm the morning of July 22. The neighbor was in Russia for vacation.

“They were standing in the middle of the paddock on a high spot in about three inches of water,” Horne told Stuff.

(Photo: Ferg Horne)
(Courtesy of Ferg Horne)

Horne thought that the sheep had dirt on their backs because they had been under water. But when he got closer he realized that the dark spots were actually dirt-covered rabbits sitting atop the sheep.

Horne said he had never seen rabbits do anything like that in his 50 years of farming.

“They must’ve jumped up onto their backs to get out of the flood. There was two on one sheep and one on another,” Horne said.

“They were as happy as can be those rabbits; they were warm and dry, snuggled up.”

Before herding the sheep to safety, Horne decided to film the scene, because he thought no one would believe him.

As the sheep began to move, the rabbits hung on for their lives.

“Those rabbits, they weren’t very good jockeys because they fell off halfway across,” Horne said.

“There was a wee hedgerow there and I looked back and there they were climbing up into the trees.”

Rabbits are considered pests by farmers. Horne had spent an entire summer ridding his farm of them.

But these sheep riding bunnies “showed so much initiative they deserved to live,” Horne said.

By the time Horne’s neighbor returned, the waters had subsided.

“Further down the plain is a different story,” Horne said. “But where we are we are good; we lost no stock, didn’t even lose a rabbit.”

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