If you think this photo is disturbing, imagine this vile creature EATING its way through your beloved bunny.
This is one of the many reasons why pet rabbits should always always always be kept indoors.
All across the United States, the Rabbit Botfly can be found. They mate in flight and then the female botfly (2cm in length) will deposit her eggs in the openings of rabbit burrows or near vegetation. All that is needed is for your sweet bunny to go frolicking in the yard and inhale these eggs and your little cottonball will get infested with the botfly larvae.
If you’ve ever seen the movie Alien, you get the concept. Critter deposits egg in unsuspecting crewman. Critter grows, critter chews way out to freedom.
When your bun inhales the eggs of the botfly, the eggs respond to the sudden increase in body temperature and mature into larvae – which are sometimes called “warbles.”
The warbles will march through your bunny to a place they find comfortable so they can grow to maturity… at which point they eat their way out of the bunny, now at the size of a child’s little finger, the excrutiating pain is enough to kill most rabbits.
A brief romp outside could introduce the botfly eggs into your rabbit’s system, where they will reside, dormant sometimes for weeks. Even if you frequently hold and pet your bunny, you may not notice the infestation until it is too late.
I let my rabbit, Weber, outside only once. My dogs, who were already friendly toward him, acted as though they had never seen him before (another reason to not let your rabbit outside), which is why I never took him outside again. It was only a few months ago, during one of my frequent trips with Weber to the vet that I heard about Warbles. A client had written an article in a rabbit rescue journal about the experience she had – and while my vet was able to save her bunny – it cost thousands of dollars and nearly a year to recover from the injuries.