Can You Capture and Keep Adorable Wild Bunnies or Rabbits as Pets in Idaho?
Wild animals making their way into town are not uncommon in the Magic Valley. Mountain lions, deer, moose, coyotes. and smaller animals like raccoons and foxes are spotted in town throughout the year. While most of these nobody would be tempted to capture as a pet, there is one animal in the area that is tempting to do, but is it illegal to do so?
Wild Bunnies in the Magic Valley
Last year I wrote a story about wild bunnies in Buhl, and they disappeared for a long time, but they are back and make for a great time sitting by the window and watching. While many in these parts would likely want to capture them and eat them, they aren't like your typical cottontails or hares. They look more like domestic bunnies that may have gotten out and started populating all over the neighborhood. They come in different colors, such as orange, white, black, and maybe a combination of black and brown, and most of the residents of Buhl enjoy watching them. It isn't uncommon to see a car stop and watch them graze for a few minutes or for neighbors to throw carrots out for them. They are so cute that it is often tempting to try and capture one as a pet, but is it legal to do so?
Is it Legal to Capture a Wild Bunny?
First off, do NOT try to capture these bunnies, as they are wild. The word wild is used loosely here and they do look like domestic bunnies that escaped. Some of these animals are adorable and the temptation is there to make one a pet. The law is murky on if you can legally capture them though. Wild rabbits such as hares and cottontails are illegal to capture and own as pets, but because of the nature of these animals, there is no official rule, since they are neither hare nor cottontail. My wife and I saved a baby one from being attacked last year by a cat, and after helping it heal, realized it would not survive in the wild, so we have a pet bunny now. In a circumstance like that, it was in the animal's best interest, but to capture a cute adult one would be different. You likely would not be fined if found with one, since they look like normal bunnies from a pet store, but capturing them and keeping them may not be best for them since they are used to living in the wild.
While it technically is not against the law, it is best to resist temptation and instead enjoy them grazing in your yard or your neighbor's yard. This way the entire community can enjoy them and they are free to roam, eat, and grow as they please. I have been tempted to let mine go with the amount of poop and destruction it causes, but for his sake, we can't. My wife and I struggle to not want them all, but we will resist and enjoy watching them. If you need a dose of cuteness, drive through the neighborhoods of Buhl and watch these adorable creatures hop, play, and graze. It is guaranteed to make you smile and say, 'awwww.'