Medieval Easter Bunnies That Want To Kill You

Medieval margin illustrations of killer rabbits

Before we get to the Medieval Easter Bunnies that want to kill you and your dog, a quick story. Many years ago, I owned a share in a racing greyhound. Before a race, the trainer came over to me and the rest of the consortium and said one word: “Rabbits!” The hound had tasted rabbit. The theory went that now he’d eaten one – and liked it – come the race Princey would try that bit harder to catch that motorised bunny. But what if the dog was petrified of bunnies and hares?



BL Yates Thompson 8 f. 294r

The British Library’s Royal MS 10 E iv, aka the Smithfield Decretals, is a late fourteenth-century law book containing many illuminations, including images of rabbits trying a captured hound for crimes unspecified.



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Did the hound escape the above trial by bunny? Find out what happened to Fido later on.

In the meanhile, get a load of the rabbit in Pontifical of Guillaume Durand, Avignon, produced before 1390:


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And there’s the Ormesby Psalter (Bodleian Library MS. Douce 366), “a psalter, a collection of Psalms meant for contemplative reading”:


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Terrifying stuff. And it gets worse. The armed rabbits have allies. Like the snails:


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Fido was hanged from the neck until dead. He was then, most likely, soaked in gravy and canned.


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Paris, Bibl. de la Sorbonne, ms. 0121, f. 023

Paris, Bibl. de la Sorbonne, ms. 0121, f. 023


Monty Python were right – rabbits are natural born killers:



Bonus: here are some fowl avenging the murder of their kin by a fox.


duck hanging dog The Smithfield Decretals

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