Even if you think you know a lot about your furry friend, you may not know these facts - I didn’t!
- Their teeth NEVER stop growing. In the wild, rabbits have it pretty tough, as you may know. Their diet consists not just of juicy grass and clover, but also a LOT of woody plants. This has resulted in teeth that are continually worn down, and that must continually grow in order for them to be able to eat even if they get old. Although an old rabbit in the wild would be unusual, his or her teeth would still be functional no matter their age. This is why it’s very important to give your pet plenty of chewy sticks and toys!
- They aren’t actually rabbits. They’re technically “hares”. While hares and rabbits are pretty closely related, there are some pretty big differences.Firstly, hares are born fully furred with their eyes open and ready to run in just minutes, while rabbits are hairless, helpless, and blind when birthed! Secondly, hares generally have longer ears and legs, and usually are larger than rabbits. Thirdly, rabbits prefer a diet of grasses and leafy veggies (when possible) while hares actually like to eat more twigs, bark and plant shoots. Fourthly, Hares live above ground and make a nest in a hollow log or under a shrub, while rabbits will live in an underground den or a burrow called a warren (which can extend nearly 150 feet long and ten feet down!). And, fifthly, while rabbits in the wild tend to be gregarious and live in colonies of up to 20, hares are loners that generally only look for company during the breeding season. An exception here is the North American cottontail, who acts a lot more like a hare and prefers solitude. (Arctic hare photo courtesy of Pixabay)
- An angry rabbit is easy to spot! If their ears are turned backwards, or pressed flat to their back, or if they’re facing directly toward you, look out! If you can spot a tail that’s pointed out or up ( as opposed to tucked in), this is another good sign that they need some space. My Maggie will lay her ears flat and face me head on, just before she charges. (Maggie’s got issues.)
- Baby rabbits are being called “kits” now, as the term “bunny” has come to mean a domestic rabbit of any age. Some rabbits fanciers call them “kittens”, which sounds excessively confusing to me:)
- There’s a rabbit in Japan that’s considered a “living fossil”! The Amami rabbit has small eyes, short legs, small ears, and BIG claws for climbing. It only lives on 2 small southern Japan islands, and apparently resembles rabbit ancestors in the fossil records a lot.
- There IS a striped Rabbit (Two, actually). The Sumatran Striped rabbit lives in the woods, not in fields, and so is seldom seen. It’s greyish, and has a couple of thick black stripes on its flanks. It’s REALLY rare, but one turned up on Facebook not too long ago. A farmer had caught it after a flood (it had gotten stuck in a fence wire) and it was rescued, treated, photographed, and returned to a protected area of forest close to where it had been found. So if you’re wanting to add a striped pattern to your rabbitry, you’ll have to figure out something else. And, there’s another striped rabbit out there, called the “Riverine rabbit”, and there are estimated to be only 250 adults left in the whole world. They’re native to one part of the South African Karoo desert.
- Rabbit poop is magical. Not only is it one of the easiest manures to handle, (already dried and pelleted), it has more nitrogen, more phosphorus, and more potassium than cattle or even chicken manure. Try it on your garden and flowerbeds, and you’ll see a big difference. (Adorable bunny pic by monikasmigielska from Pixabay)
- Rabbits actually sleep with their eyes open. As a protective measure, this has to be pretty amazing! Any sudden movement will wake a sleeping rabbit so they can escape a predator like a hawk or a fox. Escape is always preferable to fighting, even with those big muscled hind legs and rear claws.
- Rabbits sometimes eat their own poop. This behavior is called coprophagia, and is fairly common in the world of animals! You may have noticed that sometimes your bunnies’ poo is a soft pellet, and sometimes its a solid, hard marble. The soft pellets can be eaten again and so more of the valuable nutrients can be extracted the second time around. It’s not much different than a cow, or a goat, chewing its cud, but since
- Rabbits can’t regurgitate, they have to eat a partially digested pellet. For some reason that’s not fully explained yet by scientists, bunnies can’t puke. The explanation appears to be that your rabbits’ brain won’t (or can’t) send the right signal to their stomach and esophagus. Another possible reason is that there seems to be a block of some sort between the two.
So, having given you a little more to contemplate about the wonderful world of rabbits, I wish you a great day, watch the cute bunny video at https://pixabay.com/videos/rabbit-animal-pet-little-cute-1695/