Martock, Somerset is a small English village. Not much goes on here, so it was big news when a little black terrier named Lincoln decided to see what was on the other end of a rabbit hole near Gaston Road. Little Lincoln didn’t find a rabbit or yet the path to Wonderland. Lincoln’s tale reads more like Winnie the Pooh than Alice in Wonderland. On March 16, Lincoln got trapped in a rabbit hole for seven hours. A crew from Martock and the Urban Search & Rescue Team worked hard with some specialist listening equipment to get Lincoln out of his predicament and returned the dog to his owner. According to firefighter Paul Cregan who posted the event to social media “He is absolutely fine and apart from being a little grubby and hungry was ready to go again!” He further described the rescue as “just one of the fire and rescue service’s many roles, along with safety education to keep communities safe.” and thanked his colleagues for their dedication and teamwork.
The Terrors that are Terriers!
They can be terrors, but they’re lovable terrors. Terriers are defined by the American Kennel Club as a group of breeds that are feisty and energetic, somewhat on the small side and bred specifically to hunt and kill vermin such as rats, rabbits and mice. Slightly larger terriers, such as the Airedale, may have gone after foxes and badgers. A very brave terrier may go after a snake. Terriers as a whole have a reputation for being destructive due to their high energy levels and instict to shake “prey” to death. An owner who is determined, patient and willing to help their furry friend burn off their energy should be able to cope. Hard to say which terrier breed Lincoln is. Possibly a mix. The very word “terrier” comes from the French “chien terrier” which means “earth dog”. The dog group gets this name due to the fact that they were bred to go after burrowing animals. Even though most terriers today are just kept as pets rather than pest control, some might not be able to resist the instinctual temptation to dive into a hole in the ground and try to catch whatever’s inside it. Some, like Lincoln, may only find themselves catching trouble!
Lincoln the terrier successfully rescued by fire crews from Martock and USAR after 7 hours trapped in a rabbit hole! Protecting people,property & pets! @DSFireUpdates @MartockDSFRS pic.twitter.com/FUXlNDADck
— Paul Cregan (@PaulCregan3) March 16, 2021
Dogs Get Stuck Sometimes
I had a little Chihuahua named Blondie once. She got out of the house and dived right down a rabbit hole near a creek. She wouldn’t come out when she was called, so I shoved an arm down there and felt around until I felt a slender, fuzzy tail. I would’ve preferred to use both hands, but only one could fit in this narrow burrow. Fortunately, Chihuahuas are not very heavy at all. I managed to pull Blondie out, who was looking a little more like a Brownie at this point! The poor thing was quaking in fear. Chihuahuas like close, warm spaces to curl up in, but a rabbit burrow that she couldn’t turn around in was a little too much for Blondie. She didn’t put up too much fuss when I gave her a bath when I got her home. My husband had a similar story with a dog named Yong. Yong liked to slip out of her yard through a little gap in the gate. Yong also liked to eat. The housekeeper would feed Yong table scraps. Passers by couldn’t resist giving such a cute little dog treats. And Yong was probably digging through garbage on her little jaunts. One day, all that extra food caught up with Yong and she couldn’t fit through the gap. She just got stuck like Winnie the Pooh trying to fit through Rabbit’s hole. My husband tried lubricating Yong with butter to help her slip through the gap. The silly little glutton just licked off the butter.
The Difference Between Bunnies and Doggies
The big difference between dogs and rabbits, where holes are concerned, is rabbits evolved to dig where dogs (terriers, particularly) were bred by man to dig. The rabbit digs a hole to live. The terrier digs a hole to kill. Who has more incentive? The dog may dig a shallow pit to nap in or make a tunnel to bypass a fence or catch a critter. The rabbit digs holes to have a home and be safe from predators. This is why magicians use rabbits in their acts. Rabbits are small, quiet and like being in small, closed up spaces. A rabbit has short nails, but they’re sturdy and sharp. This with paws that are stronger than they look help them dig holes very quickly. The cartoons where Bugs Bunny just drills through the earth aren’t too far removed from reality! A rabbit will spend a long time digging and may come up with a complex labyrinth of burrows with lots of entrances and exits. This is known as a warren. The typical rabbit hole is around ten to fifteen centimeters (four or six inches, approximately) in diameter. They tend to slope downwards at a shallow angle. Just how deep it goes has nothing to do with the red pill or the blue pill. It has everything to do with the softness of the soil and whether there’s a lot of water nearby. Most might be only a couple feet deep but with the right conditions, a rabbit hole could go on for up to fifteen feet. Some holes, known as “bolt holes” are short, narrow holes meant for hiding from predators.
They say things about curiosity and cats, but a dog also has a curiosity that can get them into trouble. Terriers, bred to jump into holes and attack small animals, might particularly have a tendency to leap without looking. Good thing they have us people to look after them!