Rabbit (Photo: Laurie Campbell)
One of the commonest animals in Harris, rabbits can be seen in all almost all the machair areas. It is easy to spot where they live as they dig out piles of sand when they make their holes, or burrows.
Most young rabbits are born in the summer months, and you can often see groups of young rabbits at the entrance to the burrows. They don’t go far away from the safety of the burrow as they need to be able to get into the hole quickly if a buzzard or a cat comes. The adult rabbits can be seen a bit further away from the burrow nibbling on grass.
The feeding of the rabbits on the machair can help to keep the grass short, and this in turn helps the wild flowers to grow.
If a rabbit sees danger (for example a buzzard) it will stamp its back legs to warn the other rabbits, and they will all run for the burrow.
Rabbit Droppings (Photo: Laurie Campbell)
Sometimes there are so many rabbits on the machair, that it is covered in their droppings, which look like small brown balls. When the numbers of rabbits gets very high, they can sometimes get diseases, and then they disappear from that area for a while.
by Alison Tyler