Rabbits are small mammals found in several parts of the world, in varying habitats including forests, woodland, meadows, savanna deserts and wetland. The most common and well-known species is the European rabbit. Rabbits are social creatures and live in groups of around 2-9 females, 1-3 males and their offspring. All species apart from the Cottontail live in underground burrows (called warrens), or rabbit holes.
Rabbits have been domesticated fairly recently compared to other domesticated animals, and pet rabbits might come in different colours and breeds but they will usually behave very similarly to wild rabbits.
Rabbits are herbivores (plant eaters) that feed by grazing on grass and leafy weeds. Although we're used to seeing rabbits munching on carrots in films and cartoons, root vegetables aren’t a natural part of a rabbit’s diet, and because they're high in sugar they shouldn't be given to pet rabbits too often.
Rabbits have a lifespan of around 10 years. Female rabbits (‘does’) usually have their young when the climate is milder and will build a nest in an isolated part of a warren before the young are born, lining it with her own fur. A baby rabbit is called a kit (or kitten), and a male is called a buck.
Some Fun Facts
- Rabbits are born with their eyes shut, but eventually have 360-degree vision.
- Rabbits are banned from some ferries. Legend has it that bunnies being transported for food chewed through the hull of a 17th-century ship, causing the deaths of many sailors. The ban is still in place on some ferries today!
- Rabbits reproduce very quickly, causing problems for people living in agricultural areas where rabbits are seen as pests.
- More than half of the world’s rabbits live in North America.
The rabbit is one of the twelve animals of the Chinese Zodiac. Explore our Year of the Rabbit activities by clicking the link below.
Year of the Rabbit