Woolly jumpers: rabbits ride on sheep to stay dry in flood

Rabbits catch a ride on the back of sheep during floods in New Zealand Photograph: Richard Horne

A New Zealand farmer has a newfound respect for the ingenuity of rabbits after he photographed them riding on the backs of sheep to escape a flood.

Ferg Horne, from Mosgiel in the South Island, was checking on his neighbour’s sheep on Saturday morning after a near-record breaking flood tore through Otago, prompting evacuations and forcing authorities to declare a state of emergency.

Expecting the sheep to be drowned, Horne was relieved to discover the mob perched on a high spot of the paddock standing in about three inches of water.

And they weren’t the only animals who had acted fast to avoid a watery death. Perched on the sheep’s backs were three wild rabbits, drenched and shivering but alive.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, they were just sitting there keeping out of the water, they must have got to the high spot and then jumped up on to the back of the sheep to stay dry,” said Horne.

“It shows you how resilient they are and why they survive so well.”

“When I moved the sheep the rabbits fell off, but they ran to a hedge and climbed into the branches. Later when I went back to check the rabbits were gone so they must have survived.”

Read the complete article on The Guardian web site.

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