When we imagine rabbits, we think of beauty, fluffiness, speed and carrots. Everything is true except the myth that rabbit loves to eat carrots. They were once considered as part of the Rodents family, but after examination of their teeth, scientists put them in a separate order named Lagomorph. Besides rabbit, hares and pika also belong to this order
Difference between a rabbit and a hare:
Hares are also generally considered rabbits, but there is a big difference between rabbits and hares.
1. Wild rabbits dig their underground pits to make burrows called warrens, while hares do not make tunnels but build nests on the ground.
2. Wild rabbit babies called kittens/kits are born blind and cannot move freely. They need great care, while Hares newborns or leverets are born more developed and strong. They have open eyes and don’t depend greatly on their parents.
3. Hares have larger ears and longer hind limbs than rabbits.
4. Rabbits live in groups and form colonies while hares are solitary.
How pika is different from a rabbit?
The Pika is a small, beautiful animal from the high cold mountains and is well known for its voice. In summer, it collects the straw leaves of colourful plants and collects them in his burrow made inside the rocks. Its shape is very similar to that of a rabbit but its ears and legs are very small. Fortunately, it is found in Pakistan in the Himalayan mountains.
How rabbit evolved?
The ancestor of domestic rabbits is the European rabbit, and through their selective breeding domestic rabbits were formed. Rabbits used to be found only in Europe and Africa but now they are all over the world. Because of selective breeding, they are now more than 300 breeds of rabbits.
Facts about rabbits
1. The male rabbit is called Buck and the female is called Doe while the baby is called Kitten. The word Bunny is a kind of nickname for rabbit just like we affectionately call a cat Kitty.
2. Rabbits can jump over two feet and run up to 70 km / h.
3. The human eye sees up to a 120-degree angle while rabbits can see up to 360 degrees, and run in a zigzag manner, so it would be difficult to catch them.
4. Their ears are long and large. They have a strong sense of hearing. Besides this, the large surface area of the ears helps in the regulation of temperature. Rabbits can also rotate their ears up to 180 degrees.
5. Rabbits do not like to eat carrots, because carrots have a lot of sugar which is not good for their digestion. 70% of their diet consists of green grass that has fiber which keep the digestive system healthy. The other 30% of its food consists of fruits and vegetables.
6. Rabbits are known to eat their faecal material normally, either early in the morning or late at night. These are the special faeces called cecotropes, or “night faeces produced by fermentation of food in the cecum of rabbit. These are soft, nutrient-rich faeces passed out of the body as a normal stool but then are re-ingested later by the rabbit for reabsorption of important nutrients like protein, fibres, vitamins (Vit B) etc. This process is known as coprophagy.
7. Rabbit is a very shy and sensitive animal. It has a lot of predators so it has to remain alert all the time.
8. When the rabbit feels happy, it hops in the air, twists a little bit, and then lands back on the ground. It twitches its nose continuously
Never chase him as it may scare him. Never turn them on their back as they hate this behaviour and often go into a special condition called tonic immobility in which rabbits pretend to be dead to avoid predators.
Design of a rabbit’s burrows
Rabbits dig pits and build burrows inside them. When experts from England poured melted aluminium into these burrows and cleaned them, they were amazed to see that it was a very complex engineering masterpiece with a proper aeration and light system. These borrows have multiple routes for escaping in case of danger.
It is highly rich in proteins while low fats and cholesterol than any other commonly consumed meats. It is good for diabetics due to its quick digestion. Its taste is very close to that of chicken. However, some people are also allergic to its meat and due to the high protein and very low fat, its continuous and daily use can be dangerous.
Farming of rabbits
Farming can be very beneficial. Their reproductive rate is very high and the female gives birth to 5 to 12 babies in about 22 days each month and gives birth almost every month. If there is a pair, then in one year they may form a family of hundreds of rabbits.
Dos and don’ts for rabbit’s domestication
Do not put them in cages. As they are fossorial animals and love to dig so provide them with soil. Besides this, they are social, smart and curious animals and love to explore their surroundings. Protect them from predators such as dogs, cats, owls, etc. Feed them on green grass or fodder regularly. Their teeth keep growing, so they need something to chew on. If they don’t chew, their mouths will start to hurt.
Life span of a rabbit:
In the wild, they live for one to two years, while domesticated rabbits live for eight to twelve years. They are preyed upon by foxes, wolves, eagles, owls, badgers, hawks, cats, wild dogs and humans.