A photo on social media of a rabbit with an arrow piercing its skin turned heads this week.
Residents of the Brookhaven apartments in Langley were horrified to find a bunny of the local colony with a wickedly sharp, steel arrow lodged in its body.
Although the missile’s placement near the shoulder looked gruesome, the lucky rabbit — an adult female now known as Cupid — will live to tell the tale.
Hydee Garman, an Oak Harbor resident who is a volunteer for two rabbit rescue organizations, immediately hopped into action when she saw the post of the injured rabbit on the Facebook page for the “Whidbey Island Community” group.
After a fruitless attempt to capture the bunny Tuesday, Garman and her boyfriend returned to the Fourth Street location the next day and were able to entice Cupid under a net with a banana.
The couple brought the hare to David Parent, a veterinarian at Useless Bay Animal Clinic in Freeland.
An X-ray determined that the arrow had entered the skin above the shoulders, straight across the back, and nicked some muscle tissue, but nothing more.
“There was nothing life-threatening about this,” Parent said. “A few inches lower, it would have gone through the heart.”
The puncture wound looked as if it had been healing, which indicated to Parent that the arrow was shot a week or two ago.
The arrow measured nearly six inches long, with a bright orange suction cup on one end. It looked to be similar in style to a blow dart.
“Whoever did this knew what they were doing,” Parent said.
He used wire cutters to snip the arrow and pull it out of Cupid while she was sedated. There was hardly any bleeding during the process.
Parent said he has never had a case like this before. The closest thing he could remember was when a pet turkey was hit nearly a decade ago with an arrow that grazed its breast muscle and breast bone. The hen survived, an article from the South Whidbey Record reported.
Garman took Cupid home, where the bunny is currently resting until her spay appointment on Monday.
“She’s very scared, but she does show a lot of potential to be recoverable,” Garman said. “She wants to trust.”
Bunanza Rabbit Rescue Ranch and Adoption Center in Lynden will be taking over her care starting next week.
Garman said it’s not likely that Cupid will be returned to her colony. Once removed from their warren, rabbits start to smell different to their colony mates and will not be recognizable upon their return, which may lead to violence among the fluffle.
“The fact that she was shot, it’s not a safe situation for her to even try to go back,” Garman said.
Over the years, she and other rescuers have been keeping an eye on the famous Langley colony, responding to several injured and sick rabbits. Her pet rabbit, Riley, was rescued from there two years ago and took about a year to warm up to humans.
“A lot of bunnies that tend to come from this colony have PTSD where they freak out over the littlest things,” she said. “I have a feeling that Cupid’s going to kind of be the same.”
The community in Langley has had mixed feelings about the proliferation of the floppy-eared creatures in town limits.
Over the years, officials explored ways to control the population — even considering hiring a falconer — while others have rallied to keep them safe.
The town created the Bunny Daze event to celebrate rabbit fever.
“It’s just crazy how people are 100% against them, or 100% for them,” Garman said.
A human-inflicted wound to a rabbit such as this one was a rare sight for her to see. Usually, she said, the colony rabbits are injured from fighting with each other.
“This is the worst I’ve ever seen. And I hope I never see it again,” Garman said. “I’m sure there’s been others, we just have not seen them.”
Luckily, there’s a happy ending in store for Cupid, who will eventually be adopted to a loving home.