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A bunny, improbably inside the Pentagon courtyard

If you thought the Pentagon chicken was impressive, wait until you hear about the Pentagon courtyard bunny.

In what might be the world’s fluffiest and most adorable infiltration of a secure military installation, a bunny was recently spotted hopping around in the 5.1 acre outdoor courtyard at the center of the headquarters of the U.S. Dept. of Defense, ARLnow has learned.

There is no official confirmation of the bunny’s existence — the DoD said it does not keep tabs on small, harmless animals in the courtyard — but we have obtained photographic evidence, above, and an eyewitness account.

“I just wanted to highlight that while the Pentagon Chicken is receiving its 15 minutes of fame, the Pentagon Bunny actually successfully infiltrated the Pentagon,” a tipster tells ARLnow. “It is currently living peacefully somewhere in the Pentagon’s courtyard, a location that is likely the most heavily guarded rabbit burrow on the planet… that is until the restaurant in the Courtyard decides to have an extremely locally sourced courtyard-to-table special.”

Given that it is outdoors and has plenty of trees and people eating meals, the courtyard is naturally a hangout spot for birds, which can simply fly in. It’s unclear how a bunny would have hopped into a place surrounded by five rings of some of the most secure office space on earth, though there are some theories.

“Aside from birds I have not seen any other wildlife. That is why I thought the rabbit was so notable,” the tipster said. “A bunch of us were trying to figure out how the rabbit made it into the courtyard since there are no obvious points of entry. The current hypothesis is that the bunny was carried into the courtyard by the hawks that were nesting in one of the trees and dropped before it was fed to the offspring.”

Aerial view of the Pentagon (Flickr pool photo by Michael Coffman)

A Pentagon spokesperson sent an appropriately non-specific response to ARLnow’s inquiry about the small mammal that’s apparently living inside the courtyard’s five walls.

“From time to time there may be various species of animals on the reservation that make it to the Center Courtyard,” said Sue Gough, Department of Defense spokesperson. “We normally do not intervene unless the animals create a hazard to building occupants, or the animal is at risk from our activities. In those situations, we will try to have it leave on its own accord, or capture it and release it to the environment where it is distanced from our activities (e.g., land adjacent to Boundary Channel).”

Pressed about this particular bunny, the official word from the DoD — which is a bit busy at the moment — is that they’re not sure.

“We don’t track individual wildlife unless there is a safety hazard to building occupants or the animal,” Gough said.

The Pentagon chicken, on the other hand, attracted national media attention after the Animal Welfare League of Arlington revealed that it had taken custody of the rogue poultry at the request of the DoD, after it was found wandering around a secure area outside of the building.

The chicken went viral on social media, now has its own t-shirt line, and even earned a Jimmy Fallon-sung ballad on the Tonight Show.

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The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is overflowing with a whole warren’s worth of adoptable rabbits.

From tiny bonded-babies Bugs and Buster Bunny to the surprisingly large Katie, the shelter has pretty recently found itself with a deluge of rabbits in every shape and size.

Chelsea Jones, senior communications specialist for the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, said the shelter has eight rabbits currently up for adoption. Jones said there’s no particular reason for the increase, just “luck of the draw” — which makes sense considering that’s 32 lucky feet.

The search for a new home for the rabbits comes as Jones said an adoption surge that started at the beginning of the pandemic starts to wind down.

“At the beginning of 2020 they were going faster than usual, but that’s slowed down a little bit as people start going back to work,” Jones said. “But smaller animals: guinea pigs, rabbits, rats — they’re still going quicker [than before].”

Rabbits have been particularly popular adoptions over the last year, Jones said, because they make perfect quarantine companions, provided the owner can spend time with them and bunny-proof the house.

“Anyone can have a rabbit, really,” Jones said. “They’re such a wonderful pet to own. We do want to make sure that people know having a rabbit isn’t like having a hamster or a pet mouse. Rabbits require a lot of time with their people, just like a dog or cat.”

Jones said it can be harder to find a home for the larger, more cat or dog-sized rabbits like Katie, who stay in the shelter longer as adopters come in with the more traditional, smaller rabbit in mind.

One of the concerns in the rabbit community is that families will adopt rabbits around Easter without taking the time to appreciate or understand the requirements behind them, but Jones said they haven’t found this to be the case at AWLA.

“The good thing is: our shelter has never had an issue with someone just adopting a rabbit for Easter,” Jones said. “It’s a little bit of a… we call them shelter myths. There’s a lot of fear around certain subjects, like rabbits at Easter or black cats at Halloween, but there’s not a lot of data to back up that it happens more around Easter.”

One recommendation Jones does make is that parents should not go into adopting a rabbit thinking it will make a great first pet for a child because it’s small.

“We tell parents: a pet for kids is really a pet for you,” Jones said. “Make sure you want the rabbit as well. And in talking to kids, depending on the age, you have to tell them to be gentle with the rabbit and what to expect in their behavior. Kids want to cuddle and pet it, but that’s not always what a rabbit wants.”

For those who invest in their rabbit, though, the results can be rewarding in a way that’s different from affection from a cat or dog.

“They are not a predator animal,” Jones said. “We’re so used to living with predators, like cats and dogs, but people forget an animal like a rabbit is a prey animal. They behave and interact differently. When you first get that sign of affection, it’s so rewarding. They can be affectionate and snuggly, but with a rabbit you have to work for it. Once they get comfortable, they have amazing personalities.”

A full list of small, adoptable mammals — including rabbits — is available online with potential adopters able to schedule meet-and-greets with the pets.

Photo via Animal Welfare League of Arlington/Facebook

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Morning Notes

Secret Service Vehicle Stolen in Arlington — A pair of thieves stole a vehicle belonging to the U.S. Secret Service from an Arlington service center yesterday afternoon. The vehicle did not have any equipment inside that “compromises the Secret Service mission,” the Secret Service told news organizations. It was reported stolen from the 900 block of N. Jackson Street, which corresponds with the location of Arlington Autocare near Clarendon. [WUSA 9, Washington Post]

Arlington and Alexandria Working Together on HQ2 — “The city of Alexandria and Arlington County are apparently working together in their efforts to land Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters… Arlington County’s Crystal City and the Alexandria portion of Potomac Yard south of Four Mile Run are believed to have been jointly offered up in response to Amazon’s September request for proposals.” [Washington Business Journal]

Monday Properties Expands Local Portfolio — Monday Properties, a major property owner in Rosslyn, has acquired a pair of office buildings in Alexandria and Herndon. The properties are both near potential D.C. area landing spots for Amazon’s HQ2. However, Monday’s Rosslyn portfolio itself is being seriously considered for the second headquarters by the Seattle-based online giant. [Washington Business Journal]

New Tenant for 1812 N. Moore Street — “Monday Properties has found a neighbor for Nestle USA in Rosslyn. International health IT juggernaut Cerner Corp. has signed on for 38,000 square feet at 1812 N. Moore, according to Bisnow.” [Bisnow, Washington Business Journal]

Snagajob Rebrands as ‘Snag’ — “Eighteen years in, Snagajob is rebranding. The Arlington, Va.-based company that provides a platform to find jobs is now called Snag, CEO Peter Harrison said on Tuesday. With the rebrand comes a new product. The company plans to expand a platform that can help connect to on-demand shifts.” [Technically DC, Washington Business Journal]

Bunny Needs Foster Home — A bunny dubbed Cherry Blossom is in need of a foster home. “Cherry Blossom was found outside, cold, skinny, and urine-scalded — now she needs a friend to help her gain her strength back,” said the Animal Welfare League of Arlington via social media. [Twitter]

Flickr pool photo by Erinn Shirley

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