I have not posted about this for various reasons but can no longer be silent; my heart will never stop hurting from the unnecessary loss of my beloved rabbit I miss every day.
Last July, a Small Pet Select Hay order was delivered on the floor of my porch, the hay comes laying directly in the box with no bag of protection enclosing the hay and the boxes are not sealed on all edges with tape. There was grease in parts of one of the boxes and they were all full of fire ants, some more than others. There is no way to know if the fire ants were already in the box went sent, during delivery or from my yard, however the boxes were not on the porch long before I brought them inside.
Sadly, before I noticed the ants on one of the boxes I left on the couch, some got inside my home and one in particular was a brazilian fire ant that was found in my bedroom laying on the floor under the window dying on a Saturday night when I found my precious 3 1/2 year old wild cottie (non releasable) not wanting her treat sitting on her table in front of that window seal. She was nibbling and drinking for awhile after and I fed her through the night, she later no longer wanted to eat and started having breathing problems on the front of her chest under her head, symptoms I had not seen before in a rabbit, she was gone in 15 hours.
There is no ER after midnight where I live to take a wild bunny and at that time I did not know what was actually happening to her or know how serious it was. I later spoke with the Vet that took care of her in Orlando and he stated it was a longshot a fireant would have killed her however, a local necropsy was done and she was found with her throat swelled almost shut from what appeared to be an allergic reaction and the that Vet felt she may have been bitten on the mouth by the ant.
Later when calling a professional exterminator of fireants to make sure they were all removed from the front of the house, he explained the brazilian ants are very toxic to wildlife and ag animals, highly attracted to hay and just one can take down a squirrel or rabbit. I contacted the SPS Hay company who seemed sorry this happend but I am unaware if they cared enough to change their packaging policy.
I had changed from Oxbow because the hay had not been as nice as in the past, big mistake as the Oxbow hay never had ants in the box or the bags and was packaged safely. Please check your hay before bringing it inside your home for the safety of your rabbits or other animals. The mess was hard to clean up without being bitten but is nothing compared to what I lost. I hope you are in peace my precious baby Binka, I am deeply sorry forever.
Please note: I am Not Encouraging people to keep wild rabbits as pets, they are meant to be free, they have very special needs and do not tame. I rehabbed them for over 35 years and in that time only 3 were non releasable.