Ten Fun Facts About Rabbits
10 Fun Facts About Rabbits
If you’ve visited our petting zoo, you might have seen our Flemish Giant Rabbits, residing in their own little Bunnyville! But did you know that there are lots of other types of rabbits as well? Read on for some more fun facts about rabbits!
1. Rabbits are part of the Leporidae family, which includes eight classified genera and dozens of species of wild rabbits. The scientific name for the domestic rabbit is Oryctolagus cuniculus. Rabbits are closely related to hares and pikes, but are not interchangeable terms.
2. A male rabbit is called a “buck,” while a female rabbit is called a “doe.” Young rabbits are called “kits” or “bunnies.” A group of rabbits is usually known as a “colony” or a “nest,” but is sometimes called a “fluffle.”
3. Rabbits have been kept as pets since the 1800s, and can learn to follow basic voice commands, just like a dog. Some even learn to come when called by name! Rabbits are naturally curious and playful, and are easy to house-train, making them a great pet for older children who are ready to learn responsibility.
4. In some European countries, owners and their pets may participate in rabbit show jumping, which began in the 1970s. The sport is similar to horse jumping, with various obstacles for the rabbits to jump—but is obviously on a much smaller scale to accommodate rabbits. Any breed of rabbit can compete, though some are not biologically suited to the sport. The Guinness Book of World Records notes that the highest rabbit jump was 99.5 cm, achieved in1997 by a rabbit named Mimrelunds Tösen, who is owned by Tine Hygom of Denmark.
5. Rabbits are considered prey animals, so they often sleep with their eyes open so they detect warning signs of danger. They have excellent vision and can see nearly 360 degrees, though they have a small blind spot near their nose. Must be all those carrots!
6. Speaking of carrots, rabbits are herbivores, which means they only eat plants. They generally graze on grass and leafy weeds in the wild, and don’t typically eat root vegetables—it’s really only domesticated rabbits that get to regularly eat carrots! And in reality, carrots are high in sugar, so they should only be fed to pets in small servings. The concept of rabbit’s eating carrots is thought to come from Bugs Bunny, whose debut in “A Wild Hare” showed the rabbit leaning up against a tree and eating a carrot. This scene parodied a scene from the movie “It Happened One Night,” in which Clark Gable’s character is leaning up against a fence, eating a carrot and talking about hitch-hiking. Since the movies were released within six years of each other, audiences of the time would have immediately recognized the parody—but years later, nobody knows who Clark Gable is and everybody thinks rabbits really love carrots!
7. More than half of the world’s rabbit population resides in North America, though they are also found in Europe, Asia and parts of Africa and South America.
8. While cottontail rabbits are prevalent in North America, some breeds of wild rabbits are quite rare. One breed, called the Amami rabbit or Ryukyu rabbit, is only found in Amami ?shima and Toku-no-Shima, two small islands in Japan. Another wild breed, called the riverine rabbit or bushman rabbit, is considered one of the most endangered mammals in the whole world, with only approximately 250 living adults. It is found only in the African country of South Africa.
9. Rabbits are often associated with the Easter holiday since the “Easter Bunny” is a popular folkloric figure who brings Easter eggs to children. The legend began with German Lutherans, who believed that the “Easter Hare” judged whether or not children were good at the start of the Eastertide season, and brought colored eggs, candy and toys to all the good children on the night before Easter (similar to Santa Claus at Christmas).
10. Famous rabbits found in popular culture include Looney Tunes’ Bugs Bunny, Rabbit from A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh, the March Hare in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Pat the Bunny, Deborah and James Howe’s titular character Bunnicula (the vampire bunny who sucks juice out of vegetables), Buster Baxter from the children’s series, Arthur, Beatrix Potter’s character Peter Rabbit, Uncle Wiggily, the Trix Rabbit and the Energizer Bunny.