Do Black Bears Eat Rabbits? (7 Things You Should Know!)

Black bears eat a wide range of food including fruits and animals. Perhaps you noticed a black bear moving around your neighborhood, and you have rabbit pets. 

One of the questions that will likely be going through your mind is, do black bears eat rabbits?

Yes, black bears do eat rabbits only if they become available to them. Typically, a black bear will prefer to eat berries, nuts, and other vegetation rather than hunt down rabbits. 

However, if a black bear comes across a group of rabbits moving freely outdoors, it may attack and kill them. 

Since black bears feel content feeding on different vegetation and insects, why do they eat rabbits? 

In this article, we will provide answers to this question and more about black bears and rabbit predation. 

Get comfortable and continue reading!

Table of Contents

Why Do Black Bears Eat Rabbits?

A rabbit hiding from predators in the wild

Black bears hunt down and eat rabbits mainly for the nutrients they provide. During the winter months, the black bears are always inactive. 

So they have to eat fatty diets in the late summer and fall to build up their fat reserves for the cold months. 

This allows the bears to survive in the winter when they go into hibernation. Also, the fat reserve provides the black bears with enough energy to search for food in the spring. 

As the winter months approach, the bears begin to search for small animals to eat, including rabbits. Not only are rabbits a rich source of fat and protein, but they also provide enough energy. 

Since black bears feed primarily on plants and rabbits do the same, both animals come into contact regularly. Even though rabbits are fast animals, they can fall prey to black bears.

Where Do Black Bears Hunt Rabbits?

Usually, black bears hunt rabbits in places where they all come into contact. In the wild, these environments include forest clearings, woodlands, fields, and grasslands. 

Also, the bears can attack rabbits near water sources such as streams and rivers where they drink water. 

Food availability, a comfortable habitat, and access to water are the benefits these places offer both animals. When there’s food scarcity in the wild, black bears tend to move into human settlements to look for food. 

Residential areas also provide food, water, and shelter to the bears, just like their natural habitats. They go from the garden to lawns, and berry bushes to fruit trees in search of food, including rabbits. 

Black bears also look into garbage cans for leftovers and drink from water sources where rabbits may be present.

How Do Black Bears Prey On Rabbits?

Black bears prey on rabbits the same way they hunt other animals. Once a bear notices a rabbit in its habitat, it begins to move slowly and quietly toward the prey. 

Doing this will allow the black bears to get near the rabbit without calling its attention. As soon as the black bear gets close to the rabbit, it may grab the prey quickly with its big, sharp claws. 

On the other hand, the bear may use its front paws to knock the rabbit down, making the prey unconscious. This allows the black bear to grab and kill the rabbit before eating it. 

In some cases, the rabbit may be lucky to escape the black bear attack, thereby running far away. Even if the bear runs after the rabbit, it may not go far before turning back. 

Generally, black bears do not chase after their prey for a long time before losing interest. 

How Not To Get Your Rabbits Eaten

Here are some simple ways to prevent black bears from eating your rabbits:

  • Use materials such as metal and strong wire for your rabbits’ cage.
  • Always keep the cage locked if they’re outside.
  • Keep the cage in a high place where the bears will not be able to reach it.
  • Get rid of anything that can attract bears to your home, such as leftover foods, fruits, or pet food.
  • Install scare devices that make noise near the rabbit cages to ward off the bears when they come around.
  • Build a strong, tall fence around the rabbits’ enclosure to discourage the black bears from coming near them.
  • Mow your lawn regularly and avoid dense vegetation around your home, as it can be a hiding place for bears.
  • Reach out to the wildlife authorities if a black bear poses a threat to humans and animals in your neighborhood.
  • Spray natural deterrents such as ammonia, and bleach around your rabbits’ cages to keep bears away. 
  • If possible, keep your rabbits indoors.

What Other Animals Do Black Bears Eat Besides Rabbits?

A Black Bear Looking For Prey in the Wild

Apart from rabbits, black bears occasionally feed on other animals they find in their habitat. Here are a few of them:

  • Beavers
  • Bobcats
  • Coyotes 
  • Wolves 
  • Fish 
  • Sheep
  • Fawns 
  • Snakes 
  • Squirrels 
  • Bird 

Do Black Bears Eat Bunnies?

Yes, black bears do eat bunnies since their diet includes plants and animals. Usually, these bears feed mainly on plant matter such as fruits, nuts, and berries. 

But being opportunistic omnivores, black bears will eat small animals, including bunnies if there’s a chance to do so. 

These large animals hunt and eat bunnies to get enough protein, fat, and energy. Sometimes, they feed on the carcasses of bunnies, babies, or weak ones. 

Do Black Bears Eat Hares?

Yes, black bears do eat hares if the opportunity arises. Most of the time, these animals consume the food that is available in their habitat at a particular time. 

During the season when plants are beginning to wither, black bears hunt small animals, including hares. 


All we’ve said so far is that black bears do eat rabbits if the opportunity arises. However, a bear will prefer to feed on honey, fruits, and insects rather than run after a group of rabbits. 

Nevertheless, if you have rabbit pets, keep them safe from predators such as black bears. 

Just because bears love eating vegetation doesn’t mean they can’t snack on your bunnies. Follow the few tips we listed in this article to ensure your rabbits stay safe. 

Did you notice black bears recently in your neighborhood? If yes, you may want to know if they’re dangerous to dogs. 

Check out this article – Are Black Bears Dangerous To Dogs? to find out!