• American Camp parade ground looking west

    San Juan Island

    National Historical Park Washington

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • English Camp Visitor Contact Station on Winter Schedule

    The English Camp visitor contact station in the Royal Marine Barracks is closed for the season, starting September 2. Grounds are open daily from dawn to 11 p.m.

  • American Camp Visitor Center on Winter Schedule

    The American Camp visitor center is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from September 2 to June 6, 2015. Grounds remain open daily from dawn to 11 p.m. Telephone 360-378-2240, ext. 2227 or 2226 for information. More »

European Rabbit

rabbit_fox
European rabbit warrens on the American Camp prairie.
 

European Rabbit
(Oryctolagus cunuculus)

Have you noticed the barren "moonscape' along Pickett's Lane, the stretch with no grasses or wildflowers in sight? This is an example of how destructive the European rabbit can be. A nonnative species brought to the island in the late 1800s, they are destroying the prairie by digging extensive burrow systems. Fencing constructed in recent years prevents them from entering certain areas targeted for restoration, and additional ways to control them are currently under discussion.

One common misconception is that eagles and foxes will starve if rabbits are removed. While it's true that bald eagles and nonnative red foxes occasionally feed on park rabbits—particularly those killed by cars or farm equipment—studies show that up to 97 percent of the eagle's diet is composed of fish and birds, and the red fox diet ranges from berries and insects to birds and small mammals. In general, both are opportunistic feeders and frequently feed on available and abundant foods. Voles, for instance, are a delicacy for the red fox, yet studies show that the barren landscape created by the European rabbit is not suitable for small native mammals such as Townsend's vole. Removing rabbits would allow the habitat to regenerate and be home again to voles, mice, and other native mammals.

 
Fast Facts_rabbit
 

Did You Know?

Belle Vue Sheep Farm in 1859

Belle Vue Sheep Farm, founded in 1853 on San Juan Island, was a classic HBC sheep station with two rows of tidy log houses, heavy-duty fencing for sheep pens and an English-style, double-bay barn. Its establishment created tensions that nearly brought war with the United States. More...