4 MARCH 1949, Page 20

A Vanished Prey A surprising disappearance in some districts of

the north-west is of the rabbits. In several farms known to me they were numerous enough to be a nuisance three years ago. Today, though no measures have been taken against them, they have completely disappeared. Doubtless they have had active enemies in the buzzards, which are peculiarly addicted to rabbits, and in foxes which are desperately numerous to the despair of the shepherds. The cultivator of one very small farm, for example, has recently killed fourteen on his premises, yet I doubt whether these enemies could exterminate the rabbit, unless helped by disease. -To con- tinue comparison with the south, rabbits in my neighbourhood had quite vanished at the end of the war. Today they are legion. They scratch nightly holes in flower-beds and cabbage-patches and skin the bark of most young hollies, sapling ashes and thorns, their three favourite dishes. Fortunately they do not share the preference, shown by hares, for the shoots of the carnation, though they will eat young juicy rose shoots ; and in such regards young rabbits are much more destructive than old.