Rabbits are small but beautiful mammals with short tails and distinctive long hairs. Almost 30 species of rabbits live around the world. Although they live in many different environments, they have many things in common. Rabbits and hares lie in the same taxonomic family, Leporidae, but they are in different genera. ARBA, the American Rabbit Breeders Association recognizes 49 rabbit breeds.
Regarding size, some rabbits are about the size of a cat, and some can grow to be as big as a small child. Small rabbits can be as little as 8 inches( 20 centimeters). Pygmy is an example of such rabbits. Larger species grow to 20 inches( 50 centimeters) and more than 4.5 kilograms. Rabbits normally have a lifespan of 9 years. They can approach a speed of 40 km/h. Their daily sleep duration is about 8.4 hours.
Rabbits breed three to four times each year. Each pregnancy produces three to eight babies. Babies are named kittens or kits. Bunny is an affectionate name for a rabbit, young or adult. After four to five weeks a kit can care for itself. It can start a family of its own after two or three months. If there is a lack of natural predators, an arena can quickly become overrun with a rabbit.
Rabbits are herbivores. This means they do not eat meat and live on a plant-based diet. They eat grasses, clovers, and some cruciferous plants. They also eat fruits, seeds, roots, buds, and tree bark.
The origin of rabbits was Europe and Africa. But now rabbits are found all over the world. Domestic rabbits need a regulated environment to protect against heat or hypothermia. Wild rabbits do not have this problem and make their homes in various temperature extremes. They can be found in woods, forests, meadows, grassland, deserts, tundra, and wetlands. Rabbits always create their own homes by tunneling and these homes are called warrens. And these houses include rooms for nesting and sleeping like Tom and Jerry. These rooms have many entrances for a quick escape. Warrens can be as deep as 9.84 feet underground.
Rabbits are very social beings and live in large groups called colonies. Dusk and dawn are the busiest time of their activities. This time they venture out for food. In low light, they can hide from predators. Owls, hawks, eagles, wild dogs, and feral cats are permanent threats to rabbits. They escape the situation with their long legs and ability to run fast.
The European rabbit is the best-known species. Many rabbits dig burrows, but hispid hares do not. The European occupies landscapes such as fields, parks, and gardens, although it has colonized habitat from stony deserts to subalpine valleys. It is the most social rabbit. Most rabbits are relatively solitary and sometimes territorial, coming together only to breed or occasionally to forge in small groups. When they are in danger, their general tendency is to freeze and hide undercover.
For this purpose, they have large digestive tracts. Both wild and domestic rabbits are of economic importance to people. Fossil records show that wild rabbits have been hunted for meat and furs from 2.6 million years to 11700 years ago. Because of their frequent local abundance, rabbits and hares are important in many terrestrial food chains.
Rabbits Fact File
Rabbits are social mammals. They form complicated social structures. They have an unusual digestive system. You should provide your rabbit a healthy diet. Rabbits are intelligent animals. More info