Darius, the world’s biggest rabbit, is missing, believed stolen.
Police in Worcestershire England have issued a statement asking for information. This colossal companion – measuring an incredible 4 feet in length – hasn’t been seen since the night of Saturday 10th April.
Thieves accessed the garden of owner Annette Edwards and took Darius from his enclosure. Edwards is offering a reward of approx $1,400 to whoever returns the beloved bunny safe and sound.
Darius is a Flemish Giant, comparable in size to an 8 year old child as written by Live Science. “They are a domesticated breed,” the outlet notes, “originally bred for meat and fur beginning at least 300 years ago.”
The average size for a Flemish Giant is 2.5 ft, underlining Darius’ special qualities. Live Science consulted Maryland Zoo for info on the floppy-eared wonders.
The honor of planet’s biggest was awarded by Guinness in 2010. Such enormous achievements run in the family. BBC News mentions that mother Alice also held the title. Edwards has reportedly owned 4 record-breaking rabbits in her time.
Flemish Giants are also recognizable for appearing on the original version of ‘Teletubbies’, broadcast on the BBC from 1997-2001. Speaking to The Huffington Post earlier this year, performer John Simmit revealed some x-rated facts about his fluffy-tailed co-stars.
A tendency to do what rabbits do best led to disruption whilst filming the iconic series. HuffPost notes certain scenes “had to be interrupted and reshot to avoid any untoward humping”.
Simmit, who played Dipsy, says the Flemish Giants were used as a “way of changing the perspective and making us look small”.
Away from fantasy land, Darius put his rabbits’ feet up in 2018. Perhaps he looked forward to a life of hanging out in the hutch and unlimited carrots. This recent drama has brought him back into the spotlight in an unexpected way.
While the crime was committed in Stoulton village, accompanying publicity no doubt spreads the message further afield. The Oxford Mail, based in a neighboring county, speculate that Darius may be within their boundaries.
The theft of a celebrity animal is certainly headline-grabbing. Behind the story however lies a lot of heartache, plus concerns over what is actually a serious trend – pet snatching.
Dogs tend to be in the frame more than most. The much-reported case of Lady Gaga is a key example. Earlier in the year her friend Ryan Fischer was shot on the street in LA whilst walking her 3 French bulldogs. Fischer recovered and the pets were back with the star 2 days later.
According to Sky News, Gaga “had been offering $500,000 (£360,000) for their safe return”. She also took to Instagram to write that “she was praying for their safe return because her ‘heart is sick’.” Fischer also received support from Gaga during this time.
Last month Country Life explored a rise in dog thefts, believed to be as a result of lockdown lifestyles. Increased demand means increased prices. Sadly it was only a matter of time before criminal elements moved in on small and valuable family members.
Country Life cites a statistic from the Dog’s Trust, revealing an extraordinary 157% rise in beagle prices. In 2020 dog theft was up by 250%, as calculated by the DogLost charity.
Most worrying is the status of animals in the first place. Country Life refers to the Theft Act 1968, where “dogs are regarded as inanimate objects when stolen”. Factors such as “their sentience and role in family life” don’t matter under these appalling circumstances.
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Darius the Flemish Giant’s impressive credentials made him a target for abduction. Annette Edwards and admirers around the world hope this situation can be resolved as quickly as possible…