for National Geographic News
It's a scenario straight out of a Wallace and Gromit movie: An enormous rabbit is laying waste to vegetable plots in an English village, according to reports.
The news was first dismissed as an April Fool's joke. But residents of Felton in northeast England have confirmed that a huge, floppy-eared creature is leaving behind giant paw prints and a trail of destroyed carrots, leeks, onions, and turnips following nighttime raids.
The reportedly black and brown, dog-size bunny could be an escaped giant breed of pet rabbit, experts say.
The tale has uncanny similarities to The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, the 2005 Wallace and Gromit animated film. The plot centers on a ravenous "were-rabbit" that starts chomping through prize vegetables just before the annual growing contest.
In the Oscar-winning movie, Wallace and his dog, Gromit, advocate humane pest-control methods.
The real-life rabbitBigs Bunny, as it's been calledfaces a shoot-to-kill policy.
The bunny hunt is focusing on public land where 12 local residents grow plants to eat and to enter in summer vegetable competitions.
One of the gardeners, Jeff Smith, first spotted the rabbit in Felton in February. He described it as "a monster" with footprints bigger than a deer's.
"What the Hell Is That?"
"The first time I saw it I said, 'What the hell is that?'" Smith told local newspaper the Northumberland Gazette.
Three other villagers have also reported seeing the animal.
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