25 Interesting Facts About Rabbits

I’m fairly certain that I’m not the only person who thinks this, but one of the things I love the most about spring is the abundance of cute baby animals! This past week I have been watching three very small and very cute baby rabbits playing just outside my bedroom window. The sight of them feeding and playing definitely brought a big smile to my face and they inspired me to do my first 25 facts vlog on rabbits! Be sure to check out my video below but here are 25 interesting facts about our fluffy neighbours!

  1. Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae which includes both rabbits and hares and the order lagomorpha which also includes the pikas.
  1. There are about 21 species of rabbit across 8 Genus.
  1. Rabbits, along with hares, were originally classified as rodents until 1912 when zoologists decided they should be in a different group as they have 4 incisor teeth instead of two and they are mainly herbivorous whereas most rodents are meat eaters.

Bunnies

  1. A male rabbit is called a buck, a female rabbit is called a doe and a baby rabbit is called a kit (short for kitten).
  1. The Latin word for rabbit, Cuniculus, came from the old French word Conin which in English is ‘Coney’. Originally the word ‘rabbit’ was the name that referred to young rabbits only and the adults were called Coneys. Overtime the word ‘coney’ faded out of general use. Today ‘coney’ is used to refer to the rabbits fur.
  1. Rabbits are native to North America, South-West Europe, South-East Asia, Sumatra, Japan and a few areas of Africa and South America.
  1. North America contains more than half the world’s rabbit population.
  1. The European rabbit has been introduced to many areas across the world including many European counties such as the UK, Italy, Germany, Norway, Poland, Greece and also Australia and many South American regions. The original spread of the European rabbit is traced back to the Romans who introduced the rabbits to Italy as a food source.
  1. Australia has one of the biggest problems with introduced rabbits and are considered a serious pest. They were introduced as companion animals when Europeans first settled in Australia but didn’t become a problem until the mid-1800’s when wild rabbits were introduced in Victoria for the more wealthy settlers to hunt for sport. Their numbers got so out of hand that by the late 1800’s the New South Wales Government offered a £25,000 reward to anyone who could find, “any method of success not previously known in the Colony for the effectual extermination of rabbits” despite receiving almost 1500 suggestions none was proven to be safe or effective enough at the time.
  1. To show joy, rabbits run and jump in the air flicking their feet while twisting their bodies. This expression of happiness is known as a ‘binky’.
  1. Rabbits can live up to 10 years in captivity but in the wild often live less than three years as they are a vital food source to many predators.
  1. Pet rabbits were domesticated from the European rabbit over 2,000 years ago.
  1. Rabbits live in groups in networks of burrows known as warrens, the exception is the cottontail rabbits which make nests above ground.
  1. The location of a rabbits eyes on the side of their heads allow them to see nearly 360 degrees panoramic vision the exception being their blind spot right in front of their nose. This incredible vision allows them to more easily spot predators.
  1. Rabbits twitch their noses in order to take in more air so they are more likely to detect the scent of another animal whether that is a friend, potential mate or a dangerous predator. They usually twitch their nose between 20-120 times a minute, often they twitch their nose less or not at all if they are relaxed and more frequently when stressed, excited or curious.
  1. They are the most active during the morning and the evening, often spending most of their day hidden away from predators in burrows or dense vegetation.
  1. Rabbits will stand up on their hind legs to look out for danger and will alert other rabbits by thumping their hind legs on the ground.
  1. Rabbits are very well adapted for evading predators. As well as their amazing vision and nose, they also detect predators using their long ears which reach a length of over 4 inchs.
  1. Although you often can’t hear them, rabbits do actually communicate with each other vocally. For example, to show affection they will run around another individual while producing a very low humming sound.
  1. The way a rabbits digestive system works means that they are unable to vomit, therefore, swallowing items that they find difficult to digest can lead to blockages which can be fatal.
  1. Rabbits can be found in grasslands, wetlands, forests, woods, meadows and even deserts. They are also herbivores mostly feeding on grass and weeds.
  1. Rabbits reproduce very quickly and reach sexual maturity at just 4 months old. As their gestation period is only about 30 days they will often have 3-4 litters per year throughout the summer and spring, each litter containing up to 7 individuals.
  1. Rabbits need a diet that is very high in fibre so a lot of their food includes very dense vegetation which is very hard to chew, because of this, a rabbits teeth never stops growing so as they don’t eventually wear down.
  1. During the winter months rabbits spend more time in their burrows they have made  themselves or else inhabit abandoned burrows in order to protect themselves from the cold. As there are fewer vegetables and berries at this time they tend to feed on twigs and the bark of trees.
  1. Although rabbits can’t run quite as fast as most hares, they can still reach speeds of up to 20mph and run in a zig-zag pattern when fleeing from predators.

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