Lionhead rabbits invading Wilton Manors may have a chance if rescue organization gets help, activists say

East Coast Rabbit Rescue responds to Jenata Isles neighborhood

WILTON MANORS, Fla. – More exotic pets are turning into invasive species in South Florida. This time the domesticated lionhead rabbit has taken over a Wilton Manors community.

Alicia Griggs said there is a growing population of rabbits with heavy wool manes around their heads hopping around in her Jenata Isles neighborhood.

Griggs, a real estate agent, said a careless neighbor left some behind.

“She dumped the rabbits in the streets without being fixed and they’re multiplying,” Griggs said.

There is an effort to rescue the rabbits. Monica Mitchell, of East Coast Rabbit Rescue, a nonprofit organization, is ready to help, but Griggs needs to raise thousands.

“This location is not an ideal place for them,” Mitchell said. “We caught like 19 bunnies today and some have injuries in their heads.”

Mitchell worries that some of the rabbits may have diseases that can be contagious to humans and pets.

“They are eating grass that people put pesticide on, there is no source of water for them maybe just the rain,” Mitchell said. “The organization’s plan is to neuter, vaccinate and microchip the bunnies, and rehome several of the bunnies that were rescued.”

The rabbits were also digging holes in people’s yards and damaging wires. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which responds to nonnative species did not find a threat, so Wilton Manors commissioners decided to hire a trapper.

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About the Author:

Joseph Ojo joined Local 10 in April 2021. Born and raised in New York City, he previously worked in Buffalo, North Dakota, Fort Myers and Baltimore.