If you think you are seeing more rabbits around Downbeach lately, you aren't having a rabbit hallucination. There really is a bunny boom going on in much of Longport, Margate, Ventnor and Atlantic City.

The rabbit population on Absecon Island has grown significantly over the past few years.

This situation has apparently led to some local homeowners resorting to using poison around their properties to try to kill the rabbits.

A change.org petition started by one Margate resident says the use of poison is responsible for the death of her dog, Harley.

The petition, which has been signed by close to 1500 people, calls for ending the use of animal poison to control the rabbit population. One of the people signing the petition explains it this way...

Putting deadly poison impacts the natural food chain and can result in unintended consequences for instance the demise of your pets and predatory birds like hawks and owls. Ignorance is no longer an accepted reason.

Last week, Nick Russo, the Mayor of Longport, issued a letter on the city's website addressing the attempted poisoning of rabbits.

"The Borough of Longport would like to remind residents that using poison to control rabbit populations can have deadly consequences beyond that of rabbits.  The Borough recently had a report of a dog dying and another becoming seriously ill from what is believed to be poison used for rabbits....We understand that the rabbits are a nuisance. Although rabbit poison is not the answer."

Increased rabbit populations is a common situation in residential neighborhoods around the U.S., according to the Humane Society of the United States. They point out that cottontail rabbits like to live at the edges of open areas. This love of edges means they love our suburbs.

The Humane Society also says that the rabbit population can rise and fall dramatically over the course of a year. Sometimes, by doing nothing and letting nature take its own course, you will see the same result as you might from trying to "control" rabbits.

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