ROMEO the rabbit is one unhappy Easter bunny.

The six-year-old lion head rabbit, left, is being separated from his owners because of a 400-year-old French seafaring superstition banning ships from taking rabbits on board.

Romeo’s family is moving to Portugal but the ferry company they are moving with won’t take him. It is believed the superstition dates back to the 17th century, when a rabbit carried for food nibbled its way through the hull of a warship. The ship sank, killing hundreds on board.

Now Burford’s Blue Cross animal centre hopes to find Romeo a new home.

Animal welfare assistant Hannah Wiltshire said: “The family wanted to take him with them, but the ferry company said they don’t allow rabbits on their boats because of this old superstition.”

The Blue Cross rehomes more than 200 rabbits each year.

For more information and to adopt Romeo, go to