Never before have I associated rabbits with any sort of danger. There always seems to be one or more rabbits living in my yard, or at least foraging there. But somehow I never feel threatened when working in the yard. I can honestly say that no rabbit has ever caused me to experience a fight or flight response. Rabbits just don't get my adrenaline going.
So I was surprised to find on page 127 of the "SAS Survival Handbook" (A fun survival read from a former British Special Forces Survival Instructor - John "Lofty" Wiseman) the word, "DANGER!" next to the word "Rabbit".
To be fair, the word "DANGER!" was actually next to the words "Rabbit Starvation". With that section title, I then quickly wondered why starving rabbits would pose any danger in a survival situation? So, Lofty had my attention and I read the following:
"Rabbits can provide the easiest of meals but their flesh lacks fat and vitamins essential to man. The Hudson Bay Company recorded cases of trappers dying of starvation although eating well on easily available diet of rabbit.
The body uses its own vitamins and minerals to digest the rabbit... If they are not replaced, weakness and other symptoms of vitamin deficiency appear. If more rabbit is eaten, the condition becomes worse. Trappers literally ate themselves to death when eating vegetation would have ensured their survival. This situation often occurs when vegetation has been buried by snow and survivors rely on rabbits for food."
I then investigated this survival hazard further and found the following in Wikipedia:
"Rabbit starvation, also referred to as protein poisoning or mal de caribou, is a form of acute malnutrition caused by excess consumption of any lean meat (e.g., rabbit) coupled with a lack of other sources of nutrients usually in combination with other stressors, such as severe cold or dry environment. Symptoms include diarrhea, headache, fatigue, low blood pressure and heart rate, and a vague discomfort and hunger (very similar to a food craving) that can only be satisfied by consumption of fat or carbohydrates."
So there is one more thing to be careful of should you find yourself in an extreme survival situation. Though it may sound funny or even absurd, a few words to the wise... DANGER - RABBIT STARVATION!.
Every Life Secure