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Really Bad Hare Day

March 24, 2007 - Amy Jo Hanna-Eckenrode

Today’s word: Coprophagia

I know, it’s a biggie, but, hey, here's your chance to dazzle (or horrify) family, friends and strangers at your next gathering.

Coprophagia [kop-ruh-fey-jee-uh, -juh]

It’s a term, or condition rather, that you may have actually wondered/worried about and didn‘t know it had a name. I’ve been trying to put a stop to it for years only my definition is a little less technical: "Jesse! Mazey! Stop it! Stop eating that rabbit poop!"

By true definition, Coprophagia deals with an animal eating feces from another species (dog eating cat, deer, rabbit, etc feces). There is a more technical term associated with dog eating doggy poo, dog eating own poo…. Not kidding.

If you’d like to read more about this condition/behavior (I’m not sure the medical world is ready to determine which it is) include your email address and I can point you to a great study published by a Vet but written in easy-to-understand, non-doctorese. And, don’t let the non-animal lovers in your world try to poke a hole in your balloon over this discussion. There is a variation of this condition that pertains to humans. That's right... Let me know if you need back-up...

Now, back to you helping me with my bad hare day (and, don't tell me to try changing my shampoo or conditioner):

Rabbits loooooove my back yard. This year there seems to be more than ever. Without much exaggeration it looks as if Cocoa Puffs have rained from heaven.

Somewhat amusing perhaps until you remember that each day I watch helplessly as two 70 pound balls of fur charge out my back door, tripping over themselves and each other in the quest for their prized wascally wabbit.

Aside from how disgusting it is to see my dogs happily ingest this “stuff”, my biggest concern is the possibility they could pick up a parasite. The study I mention above also discusses possible parasites, diseases, symptoms, etc. If you’d like to read more, just me know.

I ask everyone I encounter for advice (usually embarrassing the person I‘m with). I’ve been told to try dried blood meal (gross), fox urine (grosser), catch-and-release traps (I like that they are humane but I would be guaranteed to injure myself), chicken-wire fencing (the self-injury thing again), electric fencing (self-mutilation), or commercial rabbit repellents (don't want to use around my girls).

By far, my favorite advice was “Scare them away with bigger animals. If you have a cat or dog, let them chase the rabbits away. After a few times, the rabbits won't be so eager to come back.” ha. ha. ha. My resident rabbits can almost be heard chuckling when my big, bad geriatric mutant ninja hounds charge out the door. My girls lack not only speed, but sadly, the instinctual memory of what to do if they ever did catch up to Bugs.

So I welcome any advice, input, remedies, stories. You will be helping to save my sanity and that of all CoCoa Puff-eating canine owners!

Note to Parents: Gone are the days of simple nostalgic references, such as Cuckoo for CoCoa Puffs simply referring to one of our favorite childhood cereals. Just to ‘keep you in the know’, the term "Cocoa Puffs" is now used, often in mainstream rap/hip hop, sadly referring to a light sprinkling of cocaine over marijuana typically smoked through a pipe. "Cocoa" refers to Cocaine; "Puffs" refers to the act of smoking the mix. Gone are the days….

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