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Watership Down

Looking toward the rabbit patch at the abbey

I first read Watership Down back in the 1970s, soon after the book first came out. Wikipedia says the book was turned down by 13 publishers before it was finally accepted by a small publisher. It was an instant classic and has sold more than 30 million copies.

After I saw rabbits kicking up their heels near Acorn Abbey’s rabbit patch this spring, I decided to read the book again. It completely stands the test of time and totally deserves to be a classic. Not only is the story compelling, it’s also a wonderful nature book, with descriptions of terrain and habitat that sometimes remind one of Tolkien. The story is about some rabbits who think outside the box and make a new home after Fiver, a rabbit who has visions, foresees that their warren will soon be destroyed by a bulldozer.

I suspect that reading Watership Down back in the ’70s made me much more sensitive to wild animals’ need for habitat and the destruction of that habitat by carelessness and suburbanization. One of the things I’ve tried to do at Acorn Abbey is create as much animal habitat as possible on my little five acres, even though I’ve learned that if the gentle little vegetarian animals move in, the predators will come too.

Watership Down can be ordered from Amazon.

Rabbit on the doorstep at Acorn Abbey, summer 2010. Photo by Ken Ilgunas.

One Comment

  1. dcs1964 wrote:

    Wonderful posts lately, David. I’m enjoying them.

    I love the wildlife, too, y’know. But please take my warning seriously: Keep the wildlife at arms-length from the house. Do not let birds or small animals nest in the eves or in other places that are structurally part of the house. Be merciless about it. Rabbits are cute, but rabbits and birds and gophers need to live in their proper places — not in your house — unless you’d like to live with the vermin and parasites that come with them.

    Sorry to be such a downer, but I’ve had to learn the hard way about the birds. The phrase “too close for comfort” applies. 😉


    Monday, May 30, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

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