Rabbits bunny hop on sheep to flee flood

The rabbits and their woolly saviours. (Richard Horne)

The rabbits and their woolly saviours. (Richard Horne)

Have you heard the one about the rabbits who jumped onto the back of sheep to stay dry?

No, that’s not a tale from Aesop’s Fables, but rather the story of three plucky rabbits that sought safety from floods in New Zealand. Farmer Ferg Horne, from Mosgiel, Otago, captured the moment as the critters jumped onto the backs of his neighbour’s flock and surfed their way to safety.

Near record-breaking floods had swept through the region, forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency. But when Horne went to go check on his neighbour’s livestock, he was relieved to see the sheep had found a section of high ground in their paddock to avoid drowning – with passengers in tow.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, they were just sitting there keeping out of the water, they must have got to the high spot and then jumped up on to the back of the sheep to stay dry,” the Guardian quoted Horne as saying.

“It shows you how resilient they are and why they survive so well.”

The state of emergency has since lifted and most of the flooding in the area has drained.

Like any good fable material, there were moral lessons to be learned all round. Horne, who had spent 40 years hunting rabbits, a national pest in New Zealand, said he had no intention of shooting these enterprising jumpers.

“I thought those guys deserved to live, so I left them alone.”

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