The Day the Rabbits Attacked

Napoleon Bonaparte, a military general who became France’s first emperor, was attacked by a horde of rabbits in July 1807.

No, I’m not making this up. I thought, when my friend brought this historic fact up, that was she was just messing with me.

With further search, there is many websites on the internet explaining this most mockery event.

Napoleon is known for his defeat at Waterloo. In 1815, Napoleon’s French Revolutionary Army was defeated by Prussians that worked for Duke of Wellington, causing a huge casualty.

It also caused the end of the Napoleonic era.

However, eight years before the attack on Waterloo, Napoleon had just signed the Treaties of Tilsit. The treaty was what ended the war between the French Empire and Imperial Russia.

To celebrate, The Imperial Russia’s emperor invited Napoleon to go on a rabbit hunt. The emperor asked his Chief of Staff, Alexandre Berthier, to set up the hunt.

According to, a luncheon, a military brass band, and a colony of rabbits were planned for the powerful men’s outing.

The caged rabbits would be released and the men’s guns were cocked. Everything was going as planned until the release of the rabbits.

According to Aerchie’s Archive, Berthier bought thousands of tame rabbits from local farmers and not wild ones as anticipated. The rabbits did not scurry around with fright, but started to surround the men, looking for food.

First, the rabbits attacked the emperor, which they started to climb up his legs and his upper body. Napoleon took it upon himself to try and shoot as many rabbits as he could, but there was too many of them.

The other men that were there were trying to beat the rabbits off the two men, but that didn’t work either. There was complete chaos when it came to the starving rabbits.

Both the emperor and Napoleon had to run to the carriage, but the horde was so fierce that some of the rabbits actually jumped into the imperial coach.

Talk about a Napoleon complex.

A poem by Scott Bates inspired by this event in weird history:


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