SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Whether you live in the country or in town we all have seen cute little bunnies roaming around, but in one Sioux falls neighborhood, cute is not the word that comes to mind.
It looks like something out of a movie.
This poor Cottontail’s face is deformed by growths, mostly on its head and face. We found him roaming the neighborhood near 12th and Bahnson.
Dennis Schorr walks his dog in the neighborhood and saw the Cottontail in front of a shed Thursday morning.
“I’ve never seen nothing like that before, I walk my dogs every day and I see lots of rabbits but today was very unusual,” said Schorr.
Turns out the growths are caused by a form of the Papilloma Virus found only in Cottontail rabbits.
Game Fish and Parks Biologist Josh Delger says the condition in rabbits is more common than we might think, but it rarely progresses to this stage.
“It’s not something you see spread real easily and the most common way it is spread is say like through ticks and mosquitoes,” said Delger.
This is Bear, in her 12 years, she’s been known to catch a bunny or two trespassing in her yard. The good news is even if she caught the rabbit all indications are she would not catch the virus.
“It’s not a disease you would have to worry about getting spread from a rabbit to a dog or but it could get spread from a wild rabbit to a domestic rabbit,” said Delger.
Delger says we see a case this bad every 5 to 6 years.
The average life span of a Cottontail is 3 years. This rabbit will likely die of natural causes unless the growth interferes with its feeding or makes it more vulnerable to predators.