Irresistibly soft and fluffy with their floppy bunny years and twitching bunny noses, many people can’t resist lovable rabbits. Throughout the years, the cute creature named rabbit who loves to live in woods, grasslands, forests, wetlands and deserts has been a symbol of fertility.
Some people hunt them down for food, some keep them as pets in the home and many are still in the wild. But wherever they are they have captured our imaginations through the many movies, tv shows, and books that have portrayed them as loveable characters.
Here are 37 interesting facts about rabbits you might not know.
37 Interesting Facts About Rabbits
- A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing. Many people believe they need to chew to keep their teeth short. While they do enjoy chewing, it’s the normal wear from where their top and bottom teeth meet that keeps a rabbit’s teeth short.
2. Rabbits and hares are “lagomorphs”, an order that also includes the pika, a small burrowing mammal that looks like a large mouse and lives in colder climates.
3. Bunnies cannot vomit, so it is super important to feed them only healthy, fresh, appropriate food.
4. Hares are born with their eyes open, hair covering their bodies, and they can run within a few minutes of birth (much like a Guinea pig). Rabbits, on the other hand, are born blind, naked, and remain in a fur-lined nest for the first days of their lives.
5. Rabbits are herbivores, eating a diet entirely of grasses and other plants. Because their diet contains so much cellulose, they pass two different kinds of feces to completely break down their food.
While other grazers will chew and swallow their feed, then “burp” it back up (as cows chew cud), rabbits will re-ingest their feces on the first pass to get all of the nutrients they need.
6. Rabbits and bunnies are the same animal – there’s no difference in breed or species, just the word we prefer.
7. Lagomorphs were originally classified as rodents, but in 1912 the distinction was made between them and rodents.
8. Jackrabbits, which belong to the genus “Lepus,” have been clocked at speeds of 45 miles per hour.
9. Rabbits are meticulously clean animals and are easy to housebreak and train. Much like a dog, a pet rabbit can be taught to come to his/her name, sit in your lap, and do simple tricks.
10. A baby rabbit is called a kit, a female is called a doe, and a male is a buck. A group of rabbits is called a herd.
11. The average size of a rabbit litter is usually between 4 and 12 babies, which results after a short 30-day gestation. Male rabbits can reproduce as early as 7 months of age, and females as early as 4 months.
This means in one year a single female rabbit can produce as many as 800 children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
12. A rabbit’s life span is about 8 years, though sterilized rabbits (those who are spayed/neutered) can live as long as 10-12 years. Most well-looked after rabbits can live to between 7 and 10 years. Rabbits often have shorter lives as their needs can be quite misunderstood by us humans.
13. A rabbit symbol is often used to show that a product was not tested on animals. This is because rabbits have traditionally been used in product safety testing.
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14. Can you guess what other domestic animal is similar to rabbits? A horse! They have similar eyes, teeth, and ears (those belonging to many prey animals), as well as a similar diet and behavior. Clearly, their size is much different…
15. Happy rabbits practice a cute behavior known as a “binky:” they jump up in the air and twist and spin around.
16. Rabbits can sleep with their eyes open.
17. Rabbit’s noses stop twitching when they are asleep.
18. In the Chinese zodiac rabbits represent kindness, compassion, sensitivity and elegance.
19. “Darius” is the largest Rabbit in the world, Darius weighs up to 50 pounds and is approximately 4 feet and 3 inches in size.
20. On average a rabbit sleeps for up to 8 hours a day.
21. Half of the world’s rabbit population is in North America.
22. Rabbit meat is lower in calories, fat and cholesterol than beef, chicken and pork.
23. Rabbits have a special way of communicating that is hard for humans to catch as their body movements are very subtle. They will clench their facial muscles and change their body position when they are feeling worried.
24. Rabbits are social creatures and happiest when they are in the company of their own species. The best combination of rabbits is a neutered male and a neutered female.
Rabbits who are on their own can become extremely sad and depressed.
25. Some ferries specifically ban rabbits. Apparently, this is due to a legend/story that rabbits chewed through the hull of a ship in the 17th century and this caused the death of many sailors.
26. For a long time it was thought that “trancing” rabbits were a good thing to do. Trancing involved placing a rabbit on its back and stroking its back legs. It was believed that this was something that rabbits enjoyed.
Alas, it turns out that when rabbits are in this position they go into what is called “tonic immobility”. This means that they are trying to convince their predator (the human) that they are dead so that they will be released.
It has been found that rabbits that have gone through this have emerged severely traumatised.
27. It isn’t a good idea to put rabbits with guinea pigs. Experts believe they should be kept apart. The reason for this is that both animals have very different methods of communication so they can’t understand each other. Their diets are also very different. Plus rabbits can and do harm guinea pigs.
28. Unlike some other pets, rabbits don’t need to be bathed. They are actually very hygenic and keep themselves clean by licking their fur and paws like cats.
29. A rabbit’s digestive system simply can’t work in reverse. So if they have a hairball they have to deal with it by eating lots of roughage so that it gets pushed through their digestive system.
30. A rabbit’s vision covers nearly 360 degrees. They can literally see what is coming from behind, above, and the side without moving their heads. Alas, they have a small blind spot directly in front of their faces as well.
31. Rabbits are built to get away from predators in a hurry and their back legs can allow them to jump very high. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the highest rabbit jump reached 3.26 feet off the ground and the farthest reached nearly 10 feet.
There are actually rabbit jumping competitions held so owners can show off their pet rabbit’s prowess!
32. Rabbits live in complex tunnel systems that are called warrens. Rabbits dig their warrens. Like us, they have special rooms for nesting and sleeping.
Their dens have multiple entrances so that they have lots of options to escape quickly if needed. Some warrens can be as large as tennis courts and could be 10 feet under the surface of the earth.
33. Rabbit ears have two purposes. The first is of course to allow the rabbit to hear. Rabbits can rotate their ears 270
degrees which allow them to detect threats up to 2 miles away.
The second purpose of their big ears is to cool them down on hot days. More surface area means more places for body heat to escape on hot days.
34. Many commercial muesli-style rabbit foods can actually promote bad habits in rabbits. This is because they will pick out just the bits they like and often leave needed nutrients in the bowl.
They also don’t provide the amount of chewing action needed by rabbits to keep their teeth in line.
35. Rabbits need a constant supply of water. A rabbit that weighs two pounds will drink as much water in a day as a dog that weighs ten pounds.
36. Rabbits need plenty of space to exercise. Their home needs to be big enough for them to take three hops and to stretch fully upright.
They should also be able to access an area where they can run up to 8 feet in length, 6 feet in width and 3 feet in height.
37. There are about 900,000 pet rabbits in the UK although only 2% of the UK adult population owns a rabbit. Of those 44% live indoors and 56% outside.