The Case of the Midnight Rabbit

5 Aug

Bunty and I have been exploring the joys and agonies of detective work, using an undercover camera. It came about because our rabbit Broccles suddenly started peeing about four times more than usual. The vets thought he may have a kidney infection. (Bear with me; this is relevant.)

“How much is he drinking?” asked Alasdair (of Rabbit Hypnotist fame).

I had no idea. Alasdair explained that if he’s not drinking lots, his urinary system is likely fine and he is probably eating more juicy food than usual. I was instructed to measure the water level drop in his drinking bottle. I explained that Broccles shares a water fountain with the cats, making it hard to judge how much he drinks. I said I’d keep him indoors and watch his drinking habits closely.

Bunty had a better idea. He stuck an infra-red webcam near the fountain, and set it to email us a series of snapshots every time its motion detector was triggered. The computer also sounded a noisy alarm every time the fountain was approached by an animal. This meant we could check the screen and watch the animal without having to walk through to the living room.

Broccles and the cats snoozed the long day away without having any drinks. In the evening, the alarm blared frantically over our TV show as a cat turned up for a drink. Ten minutes later, the other cat set it off. We couldn’t turn the sound off without muting our TV, which is Bunty’s computer. Ten minutes later, HOOONK! HOOONK! HOOONK! HOOONK! HOOONK! Broccles turned up, took a few sips of water and groomed his bib for a while. We paused our show and watched him benevolently.

Ten minutes later, HOOONK! HOOONK! HOOONK! HOOONK! HOOONK! He set it off again. We carried on watching TV. We knew what a drinking rabbit looked like by now.


Every ten minutes through the evening and night, he set the damn thing off. I felt sure his kidneys must be disintegrating.

It took a long time to trawl through the emails the next morning. The vast majority were of him taunting us:

Most of the rest showed him taking the odd sip of water and then grooming his bib:

Turns out he really likes to groom his bib. I called Alasdair and gave him the run-down. Alasdair said that, from my description, it sounds like he’s fine. He referred to the sipping and bib-licking as “wetting his cloth to use it”. We will continue to keep an eye on his drinking habits, but this time with less of the whole HOOONK! HOOONK! HOOONK! HOOONK! HOOONK! I have had it with sleuthing.


19 Responses to “The Case of the Midnight Rabbit”

  1. Bella Remy Photography August 5, 2012 at 12:46 am #

    Such a funny story! Thanks for sharing.

  2. murfomurf August 5, 2012 at 3:19 am #

    I’m glad Broccles is OK! The detection system sounded good but the notification method needs some mods! Can the movement sensor be rigged to send a bleep to your mobile or something- Skype line not paid??

    • Chris August 5, 2012 at 9:30 am #

      Emails should be seen and not heard! Glad he’s a healthy and fastidious rabbit.

    • Snailquake August 5, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

      I’m thinking of downloading the software to my laptop so in future it can run muted on that while we watch TV.

  3. LaVagabonde August 5, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Ok, I’m neurotic about my bunny’s health – what bunny owner isn’t – but I’ve never thought of putting an infared bunny cam. What a great idea! Good to hear that he’s okay. :)

  4. Impybat August 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    Broccles is adorable and hilarious :)

  5. macrocritters August 6, 2012 at 4:41 am #

    Hahahaha! This is a great story, and you have a wonderful blog. I’ll be following with great interest! It’s nice to meet a fellow animal nut!!!!!


    • Snailquake August 6, 2012 at 9:43 am #

      Thank you very much! I expect you’ve noticed I’m following your beautiful blog too. Invertebrates hold a special place in my heart, and your photos are lovely.

  6. Peter August 6, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    Just leaving a test comment, feel free to delete.

    • Bunty August 6, 2012 at 3:48 pm #

      Test too.

      • Anonymous August 7, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

        Test three!

  7. The Smile Scavenger August 7, 2012 at 5:56 pm #

    You know, I have a confession: I look at the pictures in your post first. Then, I go back and read it. But that bunny is addicting-ly cute!!!

    • Snailquake August 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm #

      I have a confession: that’s how I read most blogs.

      • The Smile Scavenger August 7, 2012 at 7:40 pm #

        Oh, good! I’m not the only one. :) I do love the reading, but when you taunt me with cute pictures of fuzzy things… it’s hard to maintain self-control.

        • Snailquake August 7, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

          Heehee! Well, I think my next entry will be less fuzzy and more exoskeletony, so… maybe that will help with the focus.

          • Snailquake August 8, 2012 at 11:49 pm #

            I was wrong about the exoskeletons after all.

  8. andavane August 8, 2012 at 6:15 pm #

    I’ve totally forgotten what comment I as going to add as I’m über-surprised at being able to comment here at last.

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