Rabbit
Overview
Rabbits are small mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s in the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Leporidae
Leporidae
Leporids are the approximately 50 species of rabbits and hares which form the family Leporidae. The leporids, together with the pikas, constitute the mammalian order Lagomorpha. Leporids differ from pikas in having short furry tails, and elongated ears and hind legs...

 of the order Lagomorpha
Lagomorpha
The lagomorphs are the members of the taxonomic order Lagomorpha, of which there are two living families, the Leporidae , and the Ochotonidae...

, found in several parts of the world. There are eight different genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 in the family classified
Taxonomy
Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification. The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as "biological taxonomy", revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa...

 as rabbits, including the European rabbit
European Rabbit
The European Rabbit or Common Rabbit is a species of rabbit native to south west Europe and north west Africa . It has been widely introduced elsewhere often with devastating effects on local biodiversity...

 (Oryctolagus cuniculus), cottontail rabbit
Cottontail rabbit
The cottontail rabbits are among the 16 lagomorph species in the genus Sylvilagus, found in the Americas.In appearance, most cottontail rabbits closely resemble the wild European Rabbit...

s (genus Sylvilagus; 13 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

), and the Amami rabbit
Amami Rabbit
The Amami Rabbit , or , also known as the Ryukyu Rabbit, is a primitive dark-furred rabbit which is only found in Amami Ōshima and Toku-no-Shima, two small islands in between southern Kyūshū and Okinawa in Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan...

 (Pentalagus furnessi, an endangered species
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

 on Amami Ōshima
Amami Oshima
is a semi-tropical island in the Amami Islands, which is part of the larger Nansei Islands in Japan. Ōshima literally means big island, and it is the largest of the Amami Islands. It lies roughly halfway between the islands of Okinawa and Kyūshū. Briefly part of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, in 1624 it was...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

). There are many other species of rabbit, and these, along with pika
Pika
The pika is a small mammal, with short limbs, rounded ears, and short tail. The name pika is used for any member of the Ochotonidae, a family within the order of lagomorphs, which also includes the Leporidae . One genus, Ochotona, is recognised within the family, and it includes 30 species...

s and hare
Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

s, make up the order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 Lagomorpha
Lagomorpha
The lagomorphs are the members of the taxonomic order Lagomorpha, of which there are two living families, the Leporidae , and the Ochotonidae...

. The male is called a buck and the female is a doe; a young rabbit is a kitten or kit.
Rabbit habitats include meadow
Meadow
A meadow is a field vegetated primarily by grass and other non-woody plants . The term is from Old English mædwe. In agriculture a meadow is grassland which is not grazed by domestic livestock but rather allowed to grow unchecked in order to make hay...

s, woods
Woodland
Ecologically, a woodland is a low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade. Woodlands may support an understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants including grasses. Woodland may form a transition to shrubland under drier conditions or during early stages of...

, forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

s, grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

s, desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

s and wetland
Wetland
A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorised by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions....

s.
Encyclopedia
Rabbits are small mammal
Mammal
Mammals are members of a class of air-breathing vertebrate animals characterised by the possession of endothermy, hair, three middle ear bones, and mammary glands functional in mothers with young...

s in the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Leporidae
Leporidae
Leporids are the approximately 50 species of rabbits and hares which form the family Leporidae. The leporids, together with the pikas, constitute the mammalian order Lagomorpha. Leporids differ from pikas in having short furry tails, and elongated ears and hind legs...

 of the order Lagomorpha
Lagomorpha
The lagomorphs are the members of the taxonomic order Lagomorpha, of which there are two living families, the Leporidae , and the Ochotonidae...

, found in several parts of the world. There are eight different genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 in the family classified
Taxonomy
Taxonomy is the science of identifying and naming species, and arranging them into a classification. The field of taxonomy, sometimes referred to as "biological taxonomy", revolves around the description and use of taxonomic units, known as taxa...

 as rabbits, including the European rabbit
European Rabbit
The European Rabbit or Common Rabbit is a species of rabbit native to south west Europe and north west Africa . It has been widely introduced elsewhere often with devastating effects on local biodiversity...

 (Oryctolagus cuniculus), cottontail rabbit
Cottontail rabbit
The cottontail rabbits are among the 16 lagomorph species in the genus Sylvilagus, found in the Americas.In appearance, most cottontail rabbits closely resemble the wild European Rabbit...

s (genus Sylvilagus; 13 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

), and the Amami rabbit
Amami Rabbit
The Amami Rabbit , or , also known as the Ryukyu Rabbit, is a primitive dark-furred rabbit which is only found in Amami Ōshima and Toku-no-Shima, two small islands in between southern Kyūshū and Okinawa in Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan...

 (Pentalagus furnessi, an endangered species
Endangered species
An endangered species is a population of organisms which is at risk of becoming extinct because it is either few in numbers, or threatened by changing environmental or predation parameters...

 on Amami Ōshima
Amami Oshima
is a semi-tropical island in the Amami Islands, which is part of the larger Nansei Islands in Japan. Ōshima literally means big island, and it is the largest of the Amami Islands. It lies roughly halfway between the islands of Okinawa and Kyūshū. Briefly part of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, in 1624 it was...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

). There are many other species of rabbit, and these, along with pika
Pika
The pika is a small mammal, with short limbs, rounded ears, and short tail. The name pika is used for any member of the Ochotonidae, a family within the order of lagomorphs, which also includes the Leporidae . One genus, Ochotona, is recognised within the family, and it includes 30 species...

s and hare
Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

s, make up the order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 Lagomorpha
Lagomorpha
The lagomorphs are the members of the taxonomic order Lagomorpha, of which there are two living families, the Leporidae , and the Ochotonidae...

. The male is called a buck and the female is a doe; a young rabbit is a kitten or kit.

Habitat and range

Rabbit habitats include meadow
Meadow
A meadow is a field vegetated primarily by grass and other non-woody plants . The term is from Old English mædwe. In agriculture a meadow is grassland which is not grazed by domestic livestock but rather allowed to grow unchecked in order to make hay...

s, woods
Woodland
Ecologically, a woodland is a low-density forest forming open habitats with plenty of sunlight and limited shade. Woodlands may support an understory of shrubs and herbaceous plants including grasses. Woodland may form a transition to shrubland under drier conditions or during early stages of...

, forest
Forest
A forest, also referred to as a wood or the woods, is an area with a high density of trees. As with cities, depending where you are in the world, what is considered a forest may vary significantly in size and have various classification according to how and what of the forest is composed...

s, grassland
Grassland
Grasslands are areas where the vegetation is dominated by grasses and other herbaceous plants . However, sedge and rush families can also be found. Grasslands occur naturally on all continents except Antarctica...

s, desert
Desert
A desert is a landscape or region that receives an extremely low amount of precipitation, less than enough to support growth of most plants. Most deserts have an average annual precipitation of less than...

s and wetland
Wetland
A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorised by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions....

s. Rabbits live in groups, and the best known species, the European rabbit
European Rabbit
The European Rabbit or Common Rabbit is a species of rabbit native to south west Europe and north west Africa . It has been widely introduced elsewhere often with devastating effects on local biodiversity...

, lives in underground burrow
Burrow
A burrow is a hole or tunnel dug into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct of locomotion. Burrows provide a form of shelter against predation and exposure to the elements, so the burrowing way of life is quite popular among the...

s, or rabbit holes. A group of burrows is called a warren.

More than half the world's rabbit population resides in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

. They are also native to southwestern Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

, Sumatra
Sumatra
Sumatra is an island in western Indonesia, westernmost of the Sunda Islands. It is the largest island entirely in Indonesia , and the sixth largest island in the world at 473,481 km2 with a population of 50,365,538...

, some islands of Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

, and in parts of Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 and South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

. They are not naturally found in most of Eurasia
Eurasia
Eurasia is a continent or supercontinent comprising the traditional continents of Europe and Asia ; covering about 52,990,000 km2 or about 10.6% of the Earth's surface located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres...

, where a number of species of hare
Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

s are present. Rabbits first entered South America relatively recently, as part of the Great American Interchange
Great American Interchange
The Great American Interchange was an important paleozoogeographic event in which land and freshwater fauna migrated from North America via Central America to South America and vice versa, as the volcanic Isthmus of Panama rose up from the sea floor and bridged the formerly separated continents...

. Much of the continent has just one species of rabbit, the tapeti
Tapeti
The Tapeti , also known as the Brazilian Rabbit or Forest Rabbit, is a cottontail rabbit species found in Central and South America....

, while most of South America's southern cone
Southern Cone
Southern Cone is a geographic region composed of the southernmost areas of South America, south of the Tropic of Capricorn. Although geographically this includes part of Southern and Southeast of Brazil, in terms of political geography the Southern cone has traditionally comprised Argentina,...

 is without rabbits.

The European rabbit has been introduced to many places around the world.

Morphology and ecology

The rabbit's long ears, which can be more than 10 cm (3.9 in) long, are probably an adaptation for detecting predators. They have large, powerful hind legs. The two front paws have 5 toes, the extra called the dewclaw. The hind feet have 4 toes. They are plantigrade
Plantigrade
right|151px|thumb|Human skeleton, showing plantigrade habitIn terrestrial animals, plantigrade locomotion means walking with the podials and metatarsals flat on the ground. It is one of three forms of locomotion adopted by mammals...

 animals while at rest; however, they move around on their toes while running, assuming a more digitigrade
Digitigrade
A digitigrade is an animal that stands or walks on its digits, or toes. Digitigrades include walking birds , cats, dogs, and many other mammals, but not plantigrades or unguligrades...

 form. Wild rabbits do not differ much in their body proportions or stance, with full, egg-shaped bodies. Their size can range anywhere from 20 cm (7.9 in) in length and 0.4 kg in weight to 50 cm (19.7 in) and more than 2 kg. The fur is most commonly long and soft, with colors such as shades of brown, gray, and buff. The tail is a little plume of brownish fur (white on top for cottontails).

Because the rabbit's epiglottis is engaged over the soft palate except when swallowing, the rabbit is an obligate nasal breather
Obligate nasal breathing
Obligate nasal breathing is a term used to describe either a physiological or psychological predisposition or obligation to breathe through the nose as opposed to the mouth. The term may be misleading, as it implies that the animal has no choice but to breathe through its nose; however, it is...

. Rabbits have two sets of incisor teeth, one behind the other. This way they can be distinguished from rodent
Rodent
Rodentia is an order of mammals also known as rodents, characterised by two continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing....

s, with which they are often confused. Carl Linnaeus originally grouped rabbits and rodents under the class Glires
Glires
Glires is a clade consisting of rodents and lagomorphs . This hypothesis that these form a monophyletic group has been long debated based on morphological evidence, although recent morphological studies strongly support monophyly of Glires...

; later, they were separated as the predominant opinion was that many of their similarities were a result of convergent evolution. However, recent DNA analysis and the discovery of a common ancestor has supported the view that they share a common lineage, and thus rabbits and rodents are now often referred to together as members of the superclass Glires.

Rabbits are hindgut
Hindgut
The hindgut is the posterior part of the alimentary canal. In mammals, it includes the distal third of the transverse colon and the splenic flexure, the descending colon, sigmoid colon and rectum.-Blood flow:...

 digesters. This means that most of their digestion takes place in their large intestine
Large intestine
The large intestine is the third-to-last part of the digestive system — — in vertebrate animals. Its function is to absorb water from the remaining indigestible food matter, and then to pass useless waste material from the body...

 and cecum
Cecum
The cecum or caecum is a pouch, connecting the ileum with the ascending colon of the large intestine. It is separated from the ileum by the ileocecal valve or Bauhin's valve, and is considered to be the beginning of the large intestine. It is also separated from the colon by the cecocolic...

. In rabbits the cecum is about 10 times bigger than the stomach and it along with the large intestine makes up roughly 40% of the rabbit's digestive tract. The unique musculature of the cecum allows the intestinal tract of the rabbit to separate fibrous material from more digestible material; the fibrous material is passed as feces, while the more nutritious material is encased in a mucous lining as a cecotrope
Cecotropes
Cecotropes, also caecotrophes or night feces, are the product of the cecum, a part of the digestive system in mammals of the order lagomorpha, which includes two families: Leporidae , and Ochotonidae...

. Cecotropes, sometimes called "night feces", are high in mineral
Mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s, vitamin
Vitamin
A vitamin is an organic compound required as a nutrient in tiny amounts by an organism. In other words, an organic chemical compound is called a vitamin when it cannot be synthesized in sufficient quantities by an organism, and must be obtained from the diet. Thus, the term is conditional both on...

s and protein
Protein
Proteins are biochemical compounds consisting of one or more polypeptides typically folded into a globular or fibrous form, facilitating a biological function. A polypeptide is a single linear polymer chain of amino acids bonded together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of...

s that are necessary to the rabbit's health. Rabbits eat these to meet their nutritional requirements; the mucous coating allows the nutrients to pass through the acidic stomach for digestion in the intestines. This process allows rabbits to extract the necessary nutrients from their food.

Rabbits are prey animals and are therefore constantly aware of their surroundings. For instances, in Mediterranean Europe, rabbits are the main prey of red foxes, badgers, and Iberian lynxes. If confronted by a potential threat, a rabbit may freeze and observe then warn others in the warren with powerful thumps on the ground. Rabbits have a remarkably wide field of vision, and a good deal of it is devoted to overhead scanning. They survive predation by burrowing, hopping away in a zig- zag motion, and, if captured, delivering powerful kicks with their hind legs. Their strong teeth allow them to eat and to bite in order to escape a struggle.

Sleep

The average sleep time of a captive rabbit is said to be 8.4 hours.

Reproduction

Rabbits have a very rapid reproductive rate. The breeding season for most rabbits lasts 9 months, from February to October. In Australia and New Zealand breeding season is late July to late January. Normal gestation is about 30 days. The average size of the litter varies but is usually between 4 and 12 babies, with larger breeds having larger litters. A kit (baby rabbit) can be weaned at about 4 to 5 weeks of age. This means in one season a single female rabbit can produce as many as 800 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. A doe is ready to breed at about 6 months of age, and a buck at about 7 months. Courtship and mating are very brief, lasting only 30 to 40 seconds. Courtship behavior involves licking, sniffing, and following the doe. Spraying urine is also a common sexual behavior. Female rabbits are reflex ovulators. The female rabbit also may or may not lose clumps of hair during the gestation period.

Ovulation begins 10 hours after mating. After mating, the female will make a nest or burrow, and line the nest with fur from the dewlap, flanks, and belly. This behavior also exposes the nipples enabling her to better nurse the kits. Kits are altricial
Altricial
Altricial, meaning "requiring nourishment", refers to a pattern of growth and development in organisms which are incapable of moving around on their own soon after hatching or being born...

, which means they are born blind, naked, and helpless. Passive immunity (immunity acquired by transfer of antibodies or sensitized lymphocytes from another animal) is acquired by kits prior to birth via placental transfer. At 10 to 11 days after birth the baby rabbits' eyes will open and they will start eating on their own at around 14 days old.

Although born naked, they form a soft baby coat of hair within a few days. At the age of 5 to 6 weeks the soft baby coat is replaced with a pre-adult coat. At about 6 to 8 months of age this intermediate coat is replaced by the final adult coat, which is shed twice a year thereafter. Due to the nutritious nature of rabbit milk kits only need to be nursed for a few minutes once or twice a day.

The expected rabbit lifespan is about 9–12 years; the world's longest-lived was 18 years.

Diet and eating habits

Rabbits are herbivore
Herbivore
Herbivores are organisms that are anatomically and physiologically adapted to eat plant-based foods. Herbivory is a form of consumption in which an organism principally eats autotrophs such as plants, algae and photosynthesizing bacteria. More generally, organisms that feed on autotrophs in...

s that feed by grazing on grass
Grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

, forb
Forb
A forb is a herbaceous flowering plant that is not a graminoid . The term is used in biology and in vegetation ecology, especially in relation to grasslands and understory.-Etymology:...

s, and leafy weeds. In consequence, their diet contains large amounts of cellulose
Cellulose
Cellulose is an organic compound with the formula , a polysaccharide consisting of a linear chain of several hundred to over ten thousand β linked D-glucose units....

, which is hard to digest. Rabbits solve this problem by passing two distinct types of feces: hard droppings and soft black viscous pellets, the latter of which are immediately eaten. Rabbits reingest their own droppings
Coprophagia
Coprophagia or coprophagy is the consumption of feces, from the Greek κόπρος copros and φαγεῖν phagein . Many animal species practice coprophagia as a matter of course; other species do not normally consume feces but may do so under unusual conditions...

 (rather than chewing the cud
Ruminant
A ruminant is a mammal of the order Artiodactyla that digests plant-based food by initially softening it within the animal's first compartment of the stomach, principally through bacterial actions, then regurgitating the semi-digested mass, now known as cud, and chewing it again...

 as do cows and many other herbivores) to digest their food further and extract sufficient nutrients.

Rabbits graze heavily and rapidly for roughly the first half hour of a grazing period (usually in the late afternoon), followed by about half an hour of more selective feeding. In this time, the rabbit will also excrete many hard fecal pellets, being waste pellets that will not be reingested. If the environment is relatively non-threatening, the rabbit will remain outdoors for many hours, grazing at intervals. While out of the burrow, the rabbit will occasionally reingest its soft, partially digested pellets; this is rarely observed, since the pellets are reingested as they are produced. Reingestion is most common within the burrow between 8 o'clock in the morning and 5 o'clock in the evening, being carried out intermittently within that period.

Hard pellets are made up of hay-like fragments of plant cuticle and stalk, being the final waste product after redigestion of soft pellets. These are only released outside the burrow and are not reingested. Soft pellets are usually produced several hours after grazing, after the hard pellets have all been excreted. They are made up of micro-organisms and undigested plant cell walls.

The chewed plant material collects in the large cecum, a secondary chamber between the large and small intestine containing large quantities of symbiotic bacteria that help with the digestion of cellulose and also produce certain B vitamins. The pellets are about 56% bacteria by dry weight, largely accounting for the pellets being 24.4% protein on average. These pellets remain intact for up to six hours in the stomach; the bacteria within continue to digest the plant carbohydrates. The soft feces form here and contain up to five times the vitamins of hard feces. After being excreted, they are eaten whole by the rabbit and redigested in a special part of the stomach. This double-digestion process enables rabbits to use nutrients that they may have missed during the first passage through the gut, as well as the nutrients formed by the microbial activity and thus ensures that maximum nutrition is derived from the food they eat. This process serves the same purpose within the rabbit as rumination
Ruminant
A ruminant is a mammal of the order Artiodactyla that digests plant-based food by initially softening it within the animal's first compartment of the stomach, principally through bacterial actions, then regurgitating the semi-digested mass, now known as cud, and chewing it again...

 does in cattle and sheep.

Rabbits are incapable of vomiting
Vomiting
Vomiting is the forceful expulsion of the contents of one's stomach through the mouth and sometimes the nose...

.

Differences from hares

Rabbits are clearly distinguished from hares in that rabbits are altricial
Altricial
Altricial, meaning "requiring nourishment", refers to a pattern of growth and development in organisms which are incapable of moving around on their own soon after hatching or being born...

, having young that are born blind and hairless. In contrast, hares are generally born with hair and are able to see (precocial
Precocial
In biology, the term precocial refers to species in which the young are relatively mature and mobile from the moment of birth or hatching. The opposite developmental strategy is called "altricial," where the young are born or hatched helpless. Extremely precocial species may be called...

). All rabbits except cottontail rabbit
Cottontail rabbit
The cottontail rabbits are among the 16 lagomorph species in the genus Sylvilagus, found in the Americas.In appearance, most cottontail rabbits closely resemble the wild European Rabbit...

s live underground in burrow
Burrow
A burrow is a hole or tunnel dug into the ground by an animal to create a space suitable for habitation, temporary refuge, or as a byproduct of locomotion. Burrows provide a form of shelter against predation and exposure to the elements, so the burrowing way of life is quite popular among the...

s or warrens, while hares live in simple nests above the ground (as do cottontail rabbits), and usually do not live in groups. Hares are generally larger than rabbits, with longer ears, and have black markings on their fur. Hares have not been domesticated, while European rabbit
European Rabbit
The European Rabbit or Common Rabbit is a species of rabbit native to south west Europe and north west Africa . It has been widely introduced elsewhere often with devastating effects on local biodiversity...

s are often kept as house pets. In gardens, they are typically kept in hutches
Hutch (animal cage)
A hutch is a type of cage used typically for housing domestic rabbits. Other small animals can also be housed in hutches.Most hutches have a frame constructed of wood, including legs to keep the unit off the ground. The floor may be wood, wire mesh, or some combination of the two. One or more...

 — small, wooden, house-like boxes — that protect the rabbits from the environment and predators.

As pets

Domestic rabbits can be kept as pets in a back yard hutch or indoors in a cage or house trained to have free roam. Rabbits kept indoors are often referred to as house rabbits. House rabbits typically have an indoor pen or cage and a rabbit-safe place to run and exercise, such as an exercise pen, living room or family room. Rabbits can be trained to use a litter box and some can learn to come when called. Domestic rabbit
Domestic rabbit
A domestic rabbit, or more commonly known as simply the rabbit, is any of the several varieties of European rabbit that have been domesticated....

s that do not live indoors can also serve as companions for their owners, typically living in a protected hutch outdoors. Some pet rabbits live in outside hutches during the day for the benefit of fresh air and natural daylight and are brought inside at night.

Whether indoor or outdoor, pet rabbits' pens are often equipped with enrichment activities such as shelves, tunnels, balls, and other toys. Pet rabbits are often provided additional space in which to get exercise, simulating the open space a rabbit would traverse in the wild. Exercise pens or lawn pens are often used to provide a safe place for rabbits to run.

A pet rabbit's diet typically consists of unlimited timothy-grass
Timothy-grass
Timothy-grass , is an abundant perennial grass native to most of Europe except for the Mediterranean region. It grows to 50–150 cm tall, with leaves up to 45 cm long and 1 cm broad. The flowerhead is 7–15 cm long and 8–10 mm broad, with densely packed spikelets...

 or other hay, a small amount of pellets, and a small portion of fresh vegetables and need unrestricted access to fresh clean water. Rabbits are social animals. Rabbits as pets can find their companionship with a variety of creatures, including humans, other rabbits, guinea pig
Guinea pig
The guinea pig , also called the cavy, is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae and the genus Cavia. Despite their common name, these animals are not in the pig family, nor are they from Guinea...

s, and sometimes even cat
Cat
The cat , also known as the domestic cat or housecat to distinguish it from other felids and felines, is a small, usually furry, domesticated, carnivorous mammal that is valued by humans for its companionship and for its ability to hunt vermin and household pests...

s and dog
Dog
The domestic dog is a domesticated form of the gray wolf, a member of the Canidae family of the order Carnivora. The term is used for both feral and pet varieties. The dog may have been the first animal to be domesticated, and has been the most widely kept working, hunting, and companion animal in...

s. Rabbits can make good pets for younger children when proper parental supervision is provided. As prey animals, rabbits are alert, timid creatures that startle fairly easily. They have fragile bones, especially in their backs, that require support on the belly and bottom when picked up. Older children and teenagers usually have the maturity required to care for a rabbit.

As food and clothing

Leporids
Leporidae
Leporids are the approximately 50 species of rabbits and hares which form the family Leporidae. The leporids, together with the pikas, constitute the mammalian order Lagomorpha. Leporids differ from pikas in having short furry tails, and elongated ears and hind legs...

 such as European rabbits and hare
Hare
Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

s are a food meat in Europe, South America, North America, some parts of the Middle East.

Rabbit is still sold in UK butchers and markets, although they are not sold as fresh meat in supermarkets some do have frozen rabbit meat. At farmers markets and the famous Borough Market
Borough Market
Borough Market is a wholesale and retail food market in Southwark, London, England. It is one of the largest food markets in London, and sells a large variety of foods from all over the world.-Information and History:...

 in London, rabbits will be displayed dead and hanging unbutchered in the traditional style next to braces of pheasant
Pheasant
Pheasants refer to some members of the Phasianinae subfamily of Phasianidae in the order Galliformes.Pheasants are characterised by strong sexual dimorphism, males being highly ornate with bright colours and adornments such as wattles and long tails. Males are usually larger than females and have...

 and other small game. Rabbit meat was once commonly sold in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, the sellers of which giving the name to the rugby league
Rugby league
Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular grass field. One of the two codes of rugby football, it originated in England in 1895 by a split from Rugby Football Union over paying players...

 team the South Sydney Rabbitohs
South Sydney Rabbitohs
The South Sydney Rabbitohs are an Australian professional rugby league football team based in Redfern, a suburb of South-central Sydney, New South Wales. They participate in the National Rugby League premiership and are one of nine existing teams from the state capital...

, but quickly became unpopular after the disease myxomatosis
Myxomatosis
Myxomatosis is a disease that affects rabbits and is caused by the Myxoma virus. It was first observed in Uruguay in laboratory rabbits in the late 19th century. It was introduced into Australia in 1950 in an attempt to control the rabbit population...

 was introduced in an attempt to wipe out the feral rabbit population (see also Rabbits in Australia
Rabbits in Australia
In Australia, rabbits are a serious mammalian pest and are an invasive species. Annually, European rabbits cause millions of dollars of damage to crops.-Effects on Australia's ecology:...

).

When used for food, rabbits are both hunted and bred for meat. Snares
Trapping (Animal)
Animal trapping, or simply trapping, is the use of a device to remotely catch an animal. Animals may be trapped for a variety of purposes, including food, wildlife management, hunting, and pest control...

 or gun
Gun
A gun is a muzzle or breech-loaded projectile-firing weapon. There are various definitions depending on the nation and branch of service. A "gun" may be distinguished from other firearms in being a crew-served weapon such as a howitzer or mortar, as opposed to a small arm like a rifle or pistol,...

s are usually employed when catching wild rabbits for food. In many regions, rabbits are also bred for meat, a practice called cuniculture
Cuniculture
Cuniculture is the agricultural practice of breeding and raising domestic rabbits, usually for their meat, fur, or wool. Some people, called rabbit fanciers, practice cuniculture predominantly for show or hobby. The practice, however, has started to decline.-External links:* * *...

. Rabbits can then be killed by hitting the back of their heads, a practice from which the term rabbit punch
Rabbit punch
A rabbit punch is a blow to the neck or to the base of the skull. It is considered especially dangerous because it can damage the cervical vertebrae and subsequently the spinal cord, which may lead to serious spinal cord injury or even death.-Boxing:...

is derived. Rabbit meat is a source of high quality protein. It can be used in most ways chicken meat is used. In fact, well-known chef Mark Bittman
Mark Bittman
Mark Bittman is an American food journalist and author. He is columnist for The New York Times.-Education:Bittman is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School Class of 1967 and of Clark University.-Career:...

 says that domesticated rabbit tastes like chicken
Tastes like chicken
"Tastes like chicken" is a common declaration used when trying to describe the flavor of a food a listener has never tasted. The expression has been used so often that it has become somewhat of a cliché...

 because both are blank palettes upon which any desired flavors can be layered. Rabbit meat is leaner than beef, pork, and chicken meat. Rabbit products are generally labeled in three ways, the first being Fryer. This is a young rabbit between 4.5 and 5 pounds and up to 9 weeks in age. This type of meat is tender and fine grained. The next product is a Roaster; they are usually over 5 pounds and up to 8 months in age. The flesh is firm and coarse grained and less tender than a fryer. Then there are giblets which include the liver and heart. One of the most common types of rabbit to be bred for meat is New Zealand white rabbit
New Zealand white rabbit
New Zealand White Rabbits are a breed of rabbit, which despite the name, are Mexican in origin. In 1916, Don Johnson bred the first litter of New Zealand white rabbits with a plan to produce a rabbit that would take over the Southern Border of New Mexico for meat and fur trade. The original breeds...

.

There are several health issues associated with the use of rabbits for meat, one of which is tularemia
Tularemia
Tularemia is a serious infectious disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. A Gram-negative, nonmotile coccobacillus, the bacterium has several subspecies with varying degrees of virulence. The most important of those is F...

 or rabbit fever. Another is so-called rabbit starvation
Rabbit starvation
Rabbit starvation, also referred to as protein poisoning or mal de caribou, is a form of acute malnutrition caused by excess consumption of any lean meat coupled with a lack of other sources of nutrients usually in combination with other stressors, such as severe cold or dry environment...

, due most likely to deficiency of essential fatty acid
Essential fatty acid
Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are fatty acids that humans and other animals must ingest because the body requires them for good health but cannot synthesize them...

s in rabbit meat. Rabbits are a common food item of large pythons, such as Burmese pythons and reticulated pythons, both in the wild and in captivity.

Rabbit pelts
Fur
Fur is a synonym for hair, used more in reference to non-human animals, usually mammals; particularly those with extensives body hair coverage. The term is sometimes used to refer to the body hair of an animal as a complete coat, also known as the "pelage". Fur is also used to refer to animal...

 are sometimes used for clothing and accessories, such as scarves or hats. Angora rabbit
Angora rabbit
The Angora rabbit is a variety of domestic rabbit bred for its long, soft wool. The Angora is one of the oldest types of domestic rabbit, originating in Ankara , Turkey, along with the Angora cat and Angora goat. The rabbits were popular pets with French royalty in the mid 18th century, and spread...

s are bred for their long, fine hair
Angora wool
Angora wool or Angora fibre refers to the downy coat produced by the Angora rabbit. While their names are similar, Angora fibre is distinct from mohair, which comes from the Angora goat. Angora is known for its softness, thin fibres, and what knitters refer to as a halo...

, which can be sheared and harvested like sheep wool
Wool
Wool is the textile fiber obtained from sheep and certain other animals, including cashmere from goats, mohair from goats, qiviut from muskoxen, vicuña, alpaca, camel from animals in the camel family, and angora from rabbits....

. Rabbits are very good producers of manure; additionally, their urine, being high in nitrogen, makes lemon trees very productive. Their milk may also be of great medicinal or nutritional benefit due to its high protein content.

Environmental problems

Rabbits have been a source of environmental problems when introduced into the wild by humans. As a result of their appetites, and the rate at which they breed, feral
Feral
A feral organism is one that has changed from being domesticated to being wild or untamed. In the case of plants it is a movement from cultivated to uncultivated or controlled to volunteer. The introduction of feral animals or plants to their non-native regions, like any introduced species, may...

 rabbit depredation can be problematic for agriculture. Gas
Gas
Gas is one of the three classical states of matter . Near absolute zero, a substance exists as a solid. As heat is added to this substance it melts into a liquid at its melting point , boils into a gas at its boiling point, and if heated high enough would enter a plasma state in which the electrons...

sing, barriers (fences)
Rabbit-proof fence
The State Barrier Fence of Western Australia, formerly known as the No. 1 Rabbit-proof Fence, the State Vermin Fence and the Emu Fence, is a pest-exclusion fence constructed between 1901 and 1907 to keep rabbits and other agricultural pests, from the east, out of Western Australian pastoral...

, shooting, snaring, and ferret
Ferret
The ferret is a domesticated mammal of the type Mustela putorius furo. Ferrets are sexually dimorphic predators with males being substantially larger than females. They typically have brown, black, white, or mixed fur...

ing have been used to control rabbit populations, but the most effective measures are diseases such as myxomatosis
Myxomatosis
Myxomatosis is a disease that affects rabbits and is caused by the Myxoma virus. It was first observed in Uruguay in laboratory rabbits in the late 19th century. It was introduced into Australia in 1950 in an attempt to control the rabbit population...

 (myxo or mixi, colloquially) and calicivirus. In Europe, where rabbits are farmed on a large scale, they are protected against myxomatosis and calicivirus with a genetically modified virus
Genetically modified virus
A genetically modified virus is a virus that has gone through genetic modification for various biomedical purposes.-General usage:Genetic modification involves the insertion or deletion of genes. When genes are inserted, they usually come from a different species, which is a form of horizontal gene...

. The virus was developed in Spain, and is beneficial to rabbit farmers. If it were to make its way into wild populations in areas such as Australia, it could create a population boom, as those diseases are the most serious threats to rabbit survival. Rabbits in Australia and New Zealand are considered to be such a pest that land owners are legally obliged to control them.

In culture and literature

Rabbits are often used as a symbol of fertility
Fertility
Fertility is the natural capability of producing offsprings. As a measure, "fertility rate" is the number of children born per couple, person or population. Fertility differs from fecundity, which is defined as the potential for reproduction...

 or rebirth, and have long been associated with spring
Spring (season)
Spring is one of the four temperate seasons, the transition period between winter and summer. Spring and "springtime" refer to the season, and broadly to ideas of rebirth, renewal and regrowth. The specific definition of the exact timing of "spring" varies according to local climate, cultures and...

 and Easter
Easter
Easter is the central feast in the Christian liturgical year. According to the Canonical gospels, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day after his crucifixion. His resurrection is celebrated on Easter Day or Easter Sunday...

 as the Easter Bunny
Easter Bunny
The Easter Bunny or Easter Rabbit is a character depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter eggs, who sometimes is depicted with clothes...

. The species' role as a prey animal also lends itself as a symbol of innocence, another Easter connotation.

Additionally, rabbits are often used as symbols of playful sexuality
Human sexuality
Human sexuality is the awareness of gender differences, and the capacity to have erotic experiences and responses. Human sexuality can also be described as the way someone is sexually attracted to another person whether it is to opposite sexes , to the same sex , to either sexes , or not being...

, which also relates to the human perception of innocence, as well as its reputation as a prolific breeder.

Folklore and mythology

The rabbit often appears in folklore as the trickster
Trickster
In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. It is suggested by Hansen that the term "Trickster" was probably first used in this...

 archetype
Archetype
An archetype is a universally understood symbol or term or pattern of behavior, a prototype upon which others are copied, patterned, or emulated...

, as he uses his cunning to outwit his enemies.
  • In Aztec mythology
    Aztec mythology
    The aztec civilization recognized a polytheistic mythology, which contained the many deities and supernatural creatures from their religious beliefs. "orlando"- History :...

    , a pantheon of four hundred rabbit gods known as Centzon Totochtin
    Centzon Totochtin
    In Aztec mythology, the Centzon Totochtin are a group of deities who meet for frequent parties; they are divine rabbits, and the gods of drunkenness. Some of their named members include Tepoztecatl, Texcatzonatl, Colhuatzincatl Macuiltochtli and Ometotchtli...

    , led by Ometotchtli
    Ometotchtli
    In Aztec mythology, Ometochtli is the collective or generic name of various individual deities and supernatural figures associated with pulque , an alcoholic beverage derived from the fermented sap of the maguey plant...

     or Two Rabbit, represented fertility, parties, and drunkenness.
  • In Central Africa
    Central Africa
    Central Africa is a core region of the African continent which includes Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda....

    , "Kalulu" the rabbit is widely known as a tricky character, getting the better of bargains.
  • In Chinese literature
    Chinese literature
    Chinese literature extends thousands of years, from the earliest recorded dynastic court archives to the mature fictional novels that arose during the Ming Dynasty to entertain the masses of literate Chinese...

    , rabbits accompany Chang'e
    Chang'e (mythology)
    Chang'e, Ch'ang-O, Chang-Ngo or Sheung Ngo , originally known as Heng'e or Heng-O , is the Chinese goddess of the Moon. Unlike many lunar deities in other cultures who personify the Moon, Chang'e only lives on the Moon...

     on the Moon. Also associated with the Chinese New Year
    Chinese New Year
    Chinese New Year – often called Chinese Lunar New Year although it actually is lunisolar – is the most important of the traditional Chinese holidays. It is an all East and South-East-Asia celebration...

     (or Lunar New Year), rabbits
    Rabbit (zodiac)
    The Chinese Year of the Rabbit is actually the Chinese Year of the Hare, as China has seven native species of hares and no native species of rabbits. The Chinese applied their word for hare to the first rabbits to be taken to China, and the word is now erroneously back-translated into English as...

     are also one of the twelve celestial animals in the Chinese Zodiac
    Chinese zodiac
    The Shēngxiào , better known in English as the Chinese Zodiac, is a scheme that relates each year to an animal and its reputed attributes, according to a 12-year mathematical cycle...

     for the Chinese calendar
    Chinese calendar
    The Chinese calendar is a lunisolar calendar, incorporating elements of a lunar calendar with those of a solar calendar. It is not exclusive to China, but followed by many other Asian cultures as well...

    . It is interesting to note that the Vietnamese lunar new year replaced the rabbit with a cat in their calendar, as rabbits did not inhabit Vietnam.
  • A rabbit's foot
    Rabbit's foot
    In some cultures, the foot of a rabbit is carried as an amulet believed to bring good luck. This belief is held by individuals in a great number of places around the world including Europe, China, Africa, and North and South America. It is likely that this belief has existed in Europe since 600 BC...

     is carried as an amulet
    Amulet
    An amulet, similar to a talisman , is any object intended to bring good luck or protection to its owner.Potential amulets include gems, especially engraved gems, statues, coins, drawings, pendants, rings, plants and animals; even words said in certain occasions—for example: vade retro satana—, to...

     believed to bring good luck
    Luck
    Luck or fortuity is good fortune which occurs beyond one's control, without regard to one's will, intention, or desired result. There are at least two senses people usually mean when they use the term, the prescriptive sense and the descriptive sense...

    . This is found in many parts of the world, and with the earliest use being in Europe around 600 B.C.
  • In Japanese tradition
    Culture of Japan
    The culture of Japan has evolved greatly over the millennia, from the country's prehistoric Jōmon period to its contemporary hybrid culture, which combines influences from Asia, Europe and North America...

    , rabbits live on the Moon
    Moon
    The Moon is Earth's only known natural satellite,There are a number of near-Earth asteroids including 3753 Cruithne that are co-orbital with Earth: their orbits bring them close to Earth for periods of time but then alter in the long term . These are quasi-satellites and not true moons. For more...

     where they make mochi, the popular snack of mashed sticky rice
    Glutinous rice
    Glutinous rice is a type of short-grained Asian rice that is especially sticky when cooked. It is called glutinous Glutinous rice (Oryza sativa var. glutinosa or Oryza glutinosa; also called sticky rice, sweet rice, waxy rice, botan rice, biroin chal, mochi rice, and pearl rice, and pulut) is a...

    . This comes from interpreting the pattern of dark patches on the moon as a rabbit standing on tiptoes on the left pounding on an usu, a Japanese mortar (See also: Moon rabbit
    Moon rabbit
    The Moon rabbit, also called the Jade Rabbit, in folklore is a rabbit that lives on the moon, based on pareidolia that identifies the markings of the moon as a rabbit. The story exists in many cultures, particularly in East Asian folklore, where it is seen pounding in a mortar and pestle...

    ).
  • In Jewish folklore, rabbits (shfanim שפנים) are associated with cowardice, a usage still current in contemporary Israel
    Israel
    The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

    i spoken Hebrew (similar to English colloquial use of "chicken" to denote cowardice).
  • In Korean mythology
    Korean mythology
    Korean mythology consists of national legends and folk-tales which come from all over the Korean Peninsula. Even within the same ethnic group, myths tend to have slightly different variations...

    , like in Japanese, presents rabbits living on the moon making rice cakes (Tteok
    Tteok
    Tteok is a class of Korean rice cakes made with glutinous rice flour , by steaming. Normal rice flour can be used for some kinds of tteok. There are hundreds of different kinds of tteok eaten year round...

     in Korean).
  • In Native American
    Indigenous peoples of the Americas
    The indigenous peoples of the Americas are the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North and South America, their descendants and other ethnic groups who are identified with those peoples. Indigenous peoples are known in Canada as Aboriginal peoples, and in the United States as Native Americans...

     Ojibwe mythology, Nanabozho
    Nanabozho
    In Anishinaabe mythology, particularly among the Ojibwa, Nanabozho is a spirit, and figures prominently in their storytelling, including the story of the world's creation. Nanabozho is the Ojibwe trickster figure and culture hero...

    , or Great Rabbit, is an important deity related to the creation of the world.
  • A Vietnam
    Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

    ese mythological story portrays the rabbit of innocence and youthfulness. The Gods of the myth are shown to be hunting and killing rabbits to show off their power.
  • "Tavşan tepe" (Rabbit Hill) was the Turkish name of Kabile
    Kabile
    Kabile is a village in southeastern Bulgaria, part of the Tundzha municipality, Yambol Province. The ruins of an ancient Thracian royal city can be found nearby, and it remained an important fortress throughout the Middle Ages.- Geography :...

    , Bulgaria
    Bulgaria
    Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

    .


On the Isle of Portland
Isle of Portland
The Isle of Portland is a limestone tied island, long by wide, in the English Channel. Portland is south of the resort of Weymouth, forming the southernmost point of the county of Dorset, England. A tombolo over which runs the A354 road connects it to Chesil Beach and the mainland. Portland and...

 in Dorset, UK, the rabbit is said to be unlucky and speaking its name can cause upset with older residents. This is thought to date back to early times in the quarrying industry, where piles of extracted stone (not fit for sale) were built into tall rough walls (to save space) directly behind the working quarry face; the rabbit's natural tendency to burrow would weaken these "walls" and cause collapse, often resulting in injuries or even death.
The name rabbit is often substituted with words such as “long ears” or “underground mutton”, so as not to have to say the actual word and bring bad luck to oneself. It is said that a public house (on the island) can be cleared of people by calling out the word rabbit and while this was very true in the past, it has gradually become more fable than fact over the past 50 years.
See also Three hares
Three hares
The three hares is a circular motif appearing in sacred sites from the Middle and Far East to the churches of southwest England , and historical synagogues in Europe....

.

Other fictional rabbits

The rabbit as trickster
Trickster
In mythology, and in the study of folklore and religion, a trickster is a god, goddess, spirit, man, woman, or anthropomorphic animal who plays tricks or otherwise disobeys normal rules and conventional behavior. It is suggested by Hansen that the term "Trickster" was probably first used in this...

 appears in American popular culture; for example the Br'er Rabbit
Br'er Rabbit
Br'er Rabbit is a central figure in the Uncle Remus stories of the Southern United States. He is a trickster character who succeeds by his wits rather than by brawn, tweaking authority figures and bending social mores as he sees fit...

 character from African-American folktales and Disney animation; and the Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 cartoon
Cartoon
A cartoon is a form of two-dimensional illustrated visual art. While the specific definition has changed over time, modern usage refers to a typically non-realistic or semi-realistic drawing or painting intended for satire, caricature, or humor, or to the artistic style of such works...

 character Bugs Bunny
Bugs Bunny
Bugs Bunny is a animated character created in 1938 at Leon Schlesinger Productions, later Warner Bros. Cartoons. Bugs is an anthropomorphic gray rabbit and is famous for his flippant, insouciant personality and his portrayal as a trickster. He has primarily appeared in animated cartoons, most...

.

Anthropomorphized rabbits have appeared in a host of works of film, literature, and technology, notably the White Rabbit
White Rabbit
The White Rabbit works for the Red Queen, but is also a secret member of the Underland Underground Resistance, and was sent by the Hatter to search for Alice...

 and the March Hare
March Hare
Haigha, the March Hare is a character most famous for appearing in the tea party scene in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.The main character, Alice, hypothesises,...

 in Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson , better known by the pseudonym Lewis Carroll , was an English author, mathematician, logician, Anglican deacon and photographer. His most famous writings are Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and its sequel Through the Looking-Glass, as well as the poems "The Hunting of the...

's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is an 1865 novel written by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll. It tells of a girl named Alice who falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures...

; in the popular novels Watership Down
Watership Down
Watership Down is a classic heroic fantasy novel, written by English author Richard Adams, about a small group of rabbits. Although the animals in the story live in their natural environment, they are anthropomorphised, possessing their own culture, language , proverbs, poetry, and mythology...

,
by Richard Adams (which has also been made into a movie) and Rabbit Hill
Rabbit Hill
Rabbit Hill is a novel by Robert Lawson that won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children's literature in 1945.- Plot introduction:The story takes place in a place called Rabbit Hill, a country crossroads near Danbury, Connecticut...

by Robert Lawson
Robert Lawson (author)
Robert Lawson was an American author and illustrator of children's books. During World War I, he also served as a camouflage artist.-Background:Born in New York City, Lawson spent his early life in Montclair, New Jersey...

, as well as in Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter
Helen Beatrix Potter was an English author, illustrator, natural scientist and conservationist best known for her imaginative children’s books featuring animals such as those in The Tale of Peter Rabbit which celebrated the British landscape and country life.Born into a privileged Unitarian...

's Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit is a fictional anthropomorphic character in various children's stories by Beatrix Potter. He first appeared in The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902, and subsequently in five more books between 1904 and 1912. Spinoff merchandise includes dishes, wallpaper, and dolls...

 stories.

Urban legends

It was commonly believed that pregnancy test
Pregnancy test
A pregnancy test attempts to determine whether or not a woman is pregnant.These markers are found in urine and blood, and pregnancy tests require sampling one of these substances. The first of these markers to be discovered, human chorionic gonadotropin , was discovered in 1930 to be produced by...

s were based on the idea that a rabbit would die if injected with a pregnant
Pregnancy
Pregnancy refers to the fertilization and development of one or more offspring, known as a fetus or embryo, in a woman's uterus. In a pregnancy, there can be multiple gestations, as in the case of twins or triplets...

 woman's urine
Urine
Urine is a typically sterile liquid by-product of the body that is secreted by the kidneys through a process called urination and excreted through the urethra. Cellular metabolism generates numerous by-products, many rich in nitrogen, that require elimination from the bloodstream...

. This is not true. However, in the 1920s it was discovered that if the urine contained the hCG
Human chorionic gonadotropin
Human chorionic gonadotropin or human chorionic gonadotrophin is a glycoprotein hormone produced during pregnancy that is made by the developing embryo after conception and later by the syncytiotrophoblast .. Some tumors make this hormone; measured elevated levels when the patient is not...

, a hormone found in the bodies of pregnant women, the rabbit would display ovarian changes. The rabbit would then be killed to have its ovaries inspected, but the death of the rabbit was not the indicator of the results. Later revisions of the test
Rabbit test
The rabbit test was an early pregnancy test developed in 1927 by Bernhard Zondek and Selmar Aschheim. The original test actually used mice. The test consisted of injecting the tested woman's urine into a female rabbit, then examining the rabbit's ovaries a few days later, which would change in...

 allowed technicians to inspect the ovaries without killing the animal. A similar test involved injecting Xenopus frogs
Xenopus
Xenopus is a genus of highly aquatic frogs native to Sub-Saharan Africa. There are 19 species in the Xenopus genus...

 to make them lay eggs, but animal tests for pregnancy have been made obsolete by faster, cheaper, and simpler modern methods.

Classifications

Rabbits and hares were formerly classified in the order Rodent
Rodent
Rodentia is an order of mammals also known as rodents, characterised by two continuously growing incisors in the upper and lower jaws which must be kept short by gnawing....

ia (rodent) until 1912, when they were moved into a new order Lagomorpha
Lagomorpha
The lagomorphs are the members of the taxonomic order Lagomorpha, of which there are two living families, the Leporidae , and the Ochotonidae...

. This order also includes pika
Pika
The pika is a small mammal, with short limbs, rounded ears, and short tail. The name pika is used for any member of the Ochotonidae, a family within the order of lagomorphs, which also includes the Leporidae . One genus, Ochotona, is recognised within the family, and it includes 30 species...

s.

Order Lagomorpha
Lagomorpha
The lagomorphs are the members of the taxonomic order Lagomorpha, of which there are two living families, the Leporidae , and the Ochotonidae...

  • Family Leporidae
    Leporidae
    Leporids are the approximately 50 species of rabbits and hares which form the family Leporidae. The leporids, together with the pikas, constitute the mammalian order Lagomorpha. Leporids differ from pikas in having short furry tails, and elongated ears and hind legs...

    • Genus Pentalagus
      Amami Rabbit
      The Amami Rabbit , or , also known as the Ryukyu Rabbit, is a primitive dark-furred rabbit which is only found in Amami Ōshima and Toku-no-Shima, two small islands in between southern Kyūshū and Okinawa in Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan...

      • Amami Rabbit/Ryūkyū Rabbit
        Amami Rabbit
        The Amami Rabbit , or , also known as the Ryukyu Rabbit, is a primitive dark-furred rabbit which is only found in Amami Ōshima and Toku-no-Shima, two small islands in between southern Kyūshū and Okinawa in Kagoshima Prefecture in Japan...

        , Pentalagus furnessi
    • Genus Bunolagus
      • Bushman Rabbit, Bunolagus monticularis
    • Genus Nesolagus
      Nesolagus
      Nesolagus is a genus of rabbits containing two species of striped rabbit, the Annamite Striped Rabbit and the Sumatran Striped Rabbit.-Species:Genus Nesolagus includes two species:* Annamite Striped Rabbit, Nesolagus timminsi...

      • Sumatran Striped Rabbit
        Sumatran Striped Rabbit
        The Sumatran Striped Rabbit , also known as the Sumatra Short-eared Rabbit or Sumatran Rabbit, is a rabbit found only in forest in the Barisan Mountains in western Sumatra, Indonesia...

        , Nesolagus netscheri
      • Annamite Striped Rabbit
        Annamite Striped Rabbit
        The Annamite Striped Rabbit is a species of rabbit native to the Annamite mountain range on the Laos-Vietnam border. The rabbit is striped, with a red rump, and resembles the Sumatran Striped Rabbit. It only recently became known to Western scientists.- External links :* at bbc.co.uk* at...

        , Nesolagus timminsi
    • Genus Romerolagus
      Volcano Rabbit
      The Volcano Rabbit also known as teporingo or zacatuche is a small rabbit that resides in the mountains of Mexico. It is the world's second smallest rabbit, second only to the Pygmy Rabbit. It has small rounded ears, short legs, and short, thick fur. The Volcano Rabbit lives in groups of 2 to 5...

      • Volcano Rabbit
        Volcano Rabbit
        The Volcano Rabbit also known as teporingo or zacatuche is a small rabbit that resides in the mountains of Mexico. It is the world's second smallest rabbit, second only to the Pygmy Rabbit. It has small rounded ears, short legs, and short, thick fur. The Volcano Rabbit lives in groups of 2 to 5...

        , Romerolagus diazi
    • Genus Brachylagus
      Pygmy Rabbit
      The Pygmy Rabbit is a North American rabbit, and is one of only two rabbit species in America to dig its own burrow...

      • Pygmy Rabbit
        Pygmy Rabbit
        The Pygmy Rabbit is a North American rabbit, and is one of only two rabbit species in America to dig its own burrow...

        , Brachylagus idahoensis
    • Genus Sylvilagus
      • Forest Rabbit, Sylvilagus brasiliensis
      • Dice's Cottontail
        Dice's Cottontail
        Dice's Cottontail is a species of mammal in the Leporidae family. It is found in Costa Rica and Panama, in páramo and cloud forest habitats....

        , Sylvilagus dicei
      • Brush Rabbit
        Brush Rabbit
        The Brush Rabbit , or Western Brush Rabbit, is a species of cottontail rabbit found in western coastal regions of North America, from the Columbia River in Oregon to the southern tip of the Baja California peninsula...

        , Sylvilagus bachmani
      • San Jose Brush Rabbit
        San Jose Brush Rabbit
        The San Jose Brush Rabbit is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae. It is endemic to the 170 km2 desert San Jose Island in the Gulf of California, part of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. The species is closely related to S...

        , Sylvilagus mansuetus
      • Swamp Rabbit
        Swamp Rabbit
        The Swamp Rabbit is a large cottontail rabbit found in the swamps and wetlands of the Southern United States.- Appearance :...

        , Sylvilagus aquaticus
      • Marsh Rabbit
        Marsh Rabbit
        The marsh rabbit is a small cottontail rabbit found in marshes and swamps of coastal regions of the Eastern and Southern United States. It is a strong swimmer and found only near regions of water...

        , Sylvilagus palustris
      • Eastern Cottontail
        Eastern Cottontail
        The eastern cottontail is a New World cottontail rabbit, a member of the family Leporidae. It is one of the most common rabbit species in North America.-Distribution:...

        , Sylvilagus floridanus
      • New England Cottontail
        New England Cottontail
        The New England Cottontail is a species of cottontail rabbit represented by fragmented populations in areas of New England, specifically from southern Maine to southern New York...

        , Sylvilagus transitionalis
      • Mountain Cottontail
        Mountain Cottontail
        The Mountain Cottontail or Nuttall's Cottontail is a species of mammal in the Leporidae family. It is found in Canada and the United States.- Description :...

        , Sylvilagus nuttallii
      • Desert Cottontail
        Desert Cottontail
        The Desert Cottontail , also known as Audubon's Cottontail, is a New World cottontail rabbit, a member of the family Leporidae....

        , Sylvilagus audubonii
      • Omilteme Cottontail
        Omilteme Cottontail
        The Omilteme Cottontail is a cottontail rabbit found only in the state of Guerrero, Mexico in the mountain range of Sierra Madre del Sur. Belonging to the family Leporidae, it is one of fourteen species in the genus Sylvilagus, a genus restricted to the New World...

        , Sylvilagus insonus
      • Mexican Cottontail
        Mexican Cottontail
        The Mexican Cottontail is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae. It is endemic to Mexico. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, subtropical or tropical dry forests, and pastureland. It is threatened by habitat loss.-Source:...

        , Sylvilagus cunicularis
      • Tres Marias Rabbit
        Tres Marias Rabbit
        The Tres Marias Cottontail or Tres Marias Rabbit is a species of mammal in the family Leporidae. It is endemic to the Tres Marias Islands, part of the Mexican state of Nayarit. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests. It is threatened by habitat loss....

        , Sylvilagus graysoni
    • Genus Oryctolagus
      European Rabbit
      The European Rabbit or Common Rabbit is a species of rabbit native to south west Europe and north west Africa . It has been widely introduced elsewhere often with devastating effects on local biodiversity...

      • European Rabbit
        European Rabbit
        The European Rabbit or Common Rabbit is a species of rabbit native to south west Europe and north west Africa . It has been widely introduced elsewhere often with devastating effects on local biodiversity...

        , Oryctolagus cuniculus
    • Genus Poelagus
      • Central African Rabbit, Poelagus marjorita
    • Three other genera in family, regarded as hare
      Hare
      Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares less than one year old are called leverets. Four species commonly known as types of hare are classified outside of Lepus: the hispid hare , and three species known as red rock hares .Hares are very fast-moving...

      s, not rabbits

See also

  • Coney
    Coney
    -Places:* Coney Arm, a settlement in Newfoundland and Labrador* Coney Beach Pleasure Park, an amusement park in Wales* Coney's Castle, a fort in Dorset, England* Coneygar, a suburb of Bridport, Devon, England* Coneyhurst, a hamlet in West Sussex, England...

  • Dwarf rabbit
  • Jackalope
    Jackalope
    The jackalope is a mythical animal of North American folklore described as a jackrabbit with antelope horns or deer antlers and sometimes a pheasant's tail . The word "jackalope" is a portmanteau of "jackrabbit" and "antalope", an archaic spelling of "antelope". It is also known as Lepus...

  • List of animal names
  • Rabbit show jumping
    Rabbit show jumping
    Rabbit show jumping is a competition in which trained domestic rabbits leap over appropriately sized obstacles. The activity began in the late 1970s in Sweden . It was popularized in the United Kingdom following an appearance on the TV show That's Life!...

  • Three hares
    Three hares
    The three hares is a circular motif appearing in sacred sites from the Middle and Far East to the churches of southwest England , and historical synagogues in Europe....


Further reading


External links

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