rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is a small mammal with a short, fluffy tail, whiskers, and distinctive long ears. There are more than 30 species around the world, and although they live in many different environments, they have many things in common.

Rabbits and hares belong to the same taxonomic family, the leporids, but in different genres. There are 11 genera within the family, but the term "true hares" refers only to species of the genus Lepus; all the others are rabbits.

The rabbit is usually always attentive to its surroundings.

Species

There are more than 50 species of rabbits, the domestic rabbit, which we are talking about here is the Oryctolagus Cuniculus other important species are:

  • Brachylagus (Pygmy rabbit).
  • Bunolagus (South African riparian rabbit o bushmen rabbit).
  • Nesolagus (Sumatra striped rabbit y Annamite striped rabbit).
  • Oryctolagus (They are all Old World rabbits, European rabbits, domestic rabbits).
  • Pentalagus (Amami rabbits, de Ryukyu o short eared).
  • Poelagus (Bunyoro rabbits).
  • Romerolagus (volcano rabbits).
  • Sylvilagus (cottontail rabbits, the best known wild rabbits of all).

Features

Most people recognize a Rabbit when they see it. It generally has a rather stocky body, a rounded back, long ears, and a short tail. It also has strong hind legs and long hind legs.

Although domestic variations have a great variety of many different colors, wild individuals generally have brown or rather darkened hair. This coloration prevents predators from finding them easily, unlike the white, dark black, or spotted hairs of some domestic breeds.

Each species is different from the last, but they all have unique traits and adaptations to help them survive. Learn what makes these little mammals so interesting below.

Although they have relatively short front legs, all Rabbits have long, strong back legs. They use these legs, which are quite muscular, to run and jump at impressive speeds. When they run, they just put their toes on the ground instead of the whole leg.

These creatures have large eyes set high above their heads. This allows them to see almost everything around them. In fact, your only blind spot is a small area just at the end of your nose.

Rabbits are lagomorphic animals; They are very different from rodents, although they used to be classified as rodents. Their most recognizable physical characteristics to the casual observer are their long ears, which may be erect or, in the case of domestic "pruning" breeds, hanging; its powerful hind legs, which are its main means of locomotion and defense; their fluffy tails; his big eyes placed on both sides of his head; and their thick, soft fur coats.

They have complex and delicate digestive systems, much like those of horses in some respects, that require food to move constantly through them for good health; therefore, domestic rabbits should always be provided a supply of grass hay as the main portion of their diet, supplemented with high-quality pellets and fresh dark green leafy vegetables with a small daily amount of treats.

Rabbits can be very cunning and fast. To get away from a predator, a cottontail rabbit runs in a zigzag pattern and reaches speeds of up to 29 km / h.

Their ears can grow up to 10 cm. This stretched length allows them to better hear predators that may be approaching. It also allows them to stay cool in hot weather. The extra body heat is released through the blood vessels in the ear.

Their eyes are also made for safety, as each eye can rotate 360 ​​degrees. This allows them to look behind them without turning their heads.

Rabbits do not eat much of their diet. They often eat their own feces to gain access to whatever food their digestive system may have lost the first time.

Size

Some rabbits are the size of a cat and others can grow to be as large as a small child. Small rabbits, like pygmies, can be as little as 20 inches long and weigh less than half a kilogram. The largest species grow to 50 cm and more than 4 and a half kilograms.

According to Dr. Lianne McLeod, a veterinarian, in a column on The Spruce website, the largest rabbit breeds are checkered giants, weighing more than 5 kg; the Flemish Giant, 5,9 kg; the giant papillon, from 5,9 to 6,3 kg; and giant chinchilla weighing 5,4 to 7,2 kg. The longest rabbit in the world, according to the Guinness World Record, is a Flemish giant measuring 129 cm and 22 kg.

Small breeds of rabbits include the Britannia Petite, less than 1,1 kg; the Dutch dwarf, less than 1 kilogram .; dwarf hotot, less than 1,3 kg; and the Himalayas, from 1,1 to 2 kg.

Behavior

Rabbits are very social creatures and live in large groups called colonies. The busiest time for rabbits is at dusk and dawn. This is when they venture out to forage for food. Low light allows them to hide from predators.

Habitat

Domestic rabbits need a regulated environment to protect against heat exhaustion or hypothermia. Wild rabbits do not have this problem and make their homes in various extremes of temperature. Wild rabbits can be found in forests, jungles, grasslands, grasslands, deserts, tundra, and wetlands.

Wild rabbits make their own homes by tunneling through the ground. These tunnel systems are called burrows and include rooms for nesting and sleeping. They also have multiple inlets for a quick escape. Burrows can be as deep as 3 feet underground.

Distribution

Although they are native to Europe and Africa, rabbits are now found all over the world. They occupy most of the world's land masses, except for southern South America, the Antilles, Madagascar, and most of the islands of Southeast Asia. Although originally absent from South America, Australia, New Zealand, Java, rabbits have been introduced to these locations over the past centuries.

Food

Rabbits are herbivores. This means that they have a plant-based diet and do not eat meat. Their diets include grasses, clovers, and some cruciferous plants, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts. They are opportunistic eaters and also eat fruits, seeds, roots, shoots, and tree bark.

Rabbits are herbivorous animals.

Predators

Predators, which include owls, hawks, Eagles, wild dogs, wild cats y ground squirrels, they are a constant threat. The rabbit's long legs and its ability to run for long periods at high speeds are likely evolutionary adaptations to help it avoid the things it wants to eat.

Reproduction

Rabbits are known for their insatiable reproductive habits for good reason. They reproduce three to four times a year. This is because only 15 percent of baby rabbits make it to their first birthday. Therefore, to ensure population growth, rabbits have more babies.

We can appreciate a baby rabbit.

After four to five weeks, a baby rabbit can take care of itself. In two or three months he is ready to start his own family. If there are no natural predators, an area can be quickly overrun by rabbits.

State of conservation

The IUCN considers the domestic or European rabbit to be within the threatened range. Found throughout the world, scientists think that most populations are descendants of domestic rabbits that were released into the wild. It is native to the Iberian Peninsula, and in that area, populations have declined by as much as 95 percent from their 1950 numbers, and about 80 percent from their 1975 numbers. The decline is attributed to habitat loss, disease and hunting. Rabbits are considered pests by many gardeners.

Bunolagus monticularis, the South African river rabbit, is critically endangered. Out of 10 subpopulations, none are estimated to have more than 50 individuals, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Loss of habitat is the main threat.

Nesolagus netscheri, the Sumatra striped rabbit, is classified as vulnerable. It is a rare species, according to the IUCN, and not very well known locally. The species lives only on the island of Sumatra, Indonesia, at altitudes between 600 and 1.600 meters

Pentalagus furnessi (Amami rabbit), which is only found on two Japanese islands, is endangered, according to the IUCN. Populations are declining due to invasive predators and habitat loss caused by clearing forests and building resorts. There are only about 5.000 living individuals on Amami Island and 400 on Tokuno Island.

Romerolagus diazi (Volcano rabbit) is classified as endangered. It is found only in Mexico near the Popocatepetl, Iztaccihuatl, El Pelado and Tlaloc volcanoes. A 1994 study found between 2,478 and 12,120 individuals, but the population trend is increasing.

Various species of cottontail rabbits (gender Sylvilagus) are classified as Near Threatened, Threatened, Vulnerable, Endangered, and Critically Endangered. He san jose bush rabbit (Silvilagus quick) is only found on the island of San José, in the Gulf of California. The only population occupies an area of ​​about 20 square kilometers. Fewer individuals were observed in 2008 compared to the 1995 and 1996 studies, although numbers were recorded.

Relationship with humans

Humans have used these mammals as a food source for thousands of years. We also use their fur to produce various garments, blankets, and other items. Farmers also consider these creatures as pests, because they eat or damage crops.

The human impact on the populations of different species varies. Some have strong populations, while others are in decline.

Domestication

Humans began to domesticate these mammals in the times of ancient Rome. Originally, we domesticated them as a source of food and fur. However, beginning in the XNUMXth century, humans bred rabbits for disposal as pets.

Today, people keep many breeds for their meat or skin, but they also frequently keep them as pets. People have produced more than 300 different breeds of rabbits over the years.

Does the rabbit make a good pet?

Domestic varieties make good pets. Even breeds that originate from meat or fur production make good pets. Breeders have selected the friendliest and most social individuals for hundreds and thousands of years to produce the pets that are owned today. However, you should always do your research before purchasing a new pet.

A little rabbit pet, kids love it because they are quite cute.

Rabbit care

Rabbits need to live in proper enclosures, have the correct diet, and a lot of socialization. Many owners keep their rabbits in cages, but let them roam all day while they are at home. You can usually train them not to get dirty outside of the cage.

It's incredibly important to give your pet a variety of opportunities to chew, toys, and other stimuli. You should also provide a specially produced diet with balanced vitamins and minerals, as well as fresh vegetables to explore.

Popular culture

Because we have historically hunted rabbits for thousands of years, these creatures are very present in cultural and historical representations. These animals can be found in works of art, folklore, and literature. Cultures ranging from Aztec mythology to Chinese, Japanese, and Korean traditions, all of which feature these creatures.

In cultural representations, rabbits have many different symbolisms, from fertility to innocence, youth, cowardice, peace, and more.

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