Mon, Jan 01, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Netizen sparks fury with video of lizard stalking baby rabbit

By Huang Chien-hao and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

One Taipei man on Thursday drew ire from other netizens when he posted a photograph of his pet lizard stalking a baby rabbit and threatened to let it eat it.

“If nobody wants [the rabbit], I’ll feed it to a boa constrictor!” he said.

Another netizen then recovered the rabbit from the man, surnamed Lee (李), and notified officials, claiming that Lee had committed cruelty to animals.

Rabbits are considered a commercial animal, the Taipei Animal Protection Office said, adding that Lee’s behavior does not constitute a violation of any animal protection laws.

Lee had posted to a community page on Facebook, said another netizen, surnamed Hsu (徐).

The photograph of the two-month-old rabbit included with the post was then shared to a Facebook page for pet-rabbit enthusiasts, Hsu said.

Lee’s post included a video clip showing the rabbit being hunted by the lizard and being bitten by it, as the rabbit shrieked, Hsu said.

A netizen from the rabbit enthusiast page said that she met Lee in a public place to secure the rabbit, which she then took to a veterinary hospital.

Despite its condition, the rabbit had not been badly injured, the vet said, adding that he released the rabbit back into the woman’s care.

A monitor lizard is shown in Lee’s posts, a reptile pet store owner said, adding that they typically eat crickets or superworms.

While a rabbit being hunted by a reptile might appear cruel to rabbit enthusiasts, if it occurred in the wild, it would just be a normal part of nature, Animal Shelter and Adoption head Hua Hsin-hui (華心惠) said.

Feeding the rabbit to the lizard is legal under Article 12.1 of the Animal Protection Act (動物保護法), Hua said, adding that Lee’s filming of the feeding does not constitute cruelty to animals.

Nevertheless, Lee responded to the netizens’ criticism by apologizing and saying that he would not feed rabbits to his lizard anymore.

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