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Rabbits are mammals that belong to the Lagomorph order that also includes hares and pikas (Lagomorph means ‘hare-shaped’). There are over 45 different breeds of rabbits and one common misconception is that rabbits are rodents because they have incisor teeth that continually grow. Keep reading for more rabbit facts and information.
Facts about Rabbits
- Rabbits are small mammals that belong to the family Leporidae.
- Until 1912, rabbits and hares were formerly classified in the order Rodentia (rodent). They were then moved into a new order called Lagomorpha, which also includes pikas.
- There are over 300 breeds of the domestic rabbit and 13 wild rabbit species, among which are seven types of a cottontail rabbit.
- Rabbits are commonly called bunnies or bunny rabbits
- There are over 300 breeds of domestic rabbits.
- Rabbits are a popular choice of pet for many families. They are regarded as highly intelligent, inquisitive animals.
- Rabbits can be called by other names. An old 18th century word for an adult rabbit is a coney. It is derived from the Dutch word for a rabbit, which is “konijn”.
- An informal name for a rabbit is a bunny, and is most often used by small children.
Anatomy and Senses
- Rabbits have large hind leg bones and strong leg muscles which give them speed and agility as defenses against predators.
- Rabbits use their strong claws for digging. They will also use their claws and teeth for defense against predators and when fighting with other rabbits.
- Each front foot has four toes plus a dewclaw.
- Each hind foot has four toes but no dewclaw.
- Rabbit’s ears are typically long as they are primarily used to detect and avoid predators.
- Rabbits wiggle their noses often, which not only helps to draw air in to fill the lungs but also helps them to differentiate the tiny trace of chemical molecules or pheromones in the air to detect danger, identify friends, or potential mates.
- Because rabbits are vulnerable to predators, they have evolved so that their eyes sit wide and high in their skulls. This provides an almost 360-degree field of vision. There is a small blind spot at the bridge of the nose.
- Rabbit’s teeth have open roots that enable them to grow constantly.
Diet and Digestion
- Rabbits are herbivores that feed by grazing on grass and other leafy plants and flowers.
- Rabbits graze rapidly for roughly the first half-hour of a grazing period, followed by about half an hour of more selective feeding.
- Their diet contains large amounts of cellulose from plant cells, which is hard to digest.
- Rabbits solve this problem through a form of hindgut fermentation.
- They pass two distinct types of feces: hard droppings and soft black viscous pellets which are immediately eaten.
- Rabbits eat their soft droppings again to digest their food further and extract sufficient nutrients.
- Hard pellets are made up of hay-like fragments of plant cuticle and stalk, being the final waste product after the redigestion of soft pellets.
- These are only released outside the burrow and are not eaten again.
- Because rabbits cannot vomit, if buildup occurs in the intestines (due often to a diet with insufficient fiber), intestinal blockage can occur.
- A female rabbit is called a doe, a male rabbit is called a buck, and baby rabbits are called kits.
- A female rabbit generally reaches sexual maturity at 3 to 8 months old and can conceive at any time of the year for the duration of her life.
- A rabbit’s gestation period ranges from 28 to 36 days with an average period of 31 days.
- The size of a single litter can range from four to 12 kits allowing a female to deliver up to 60 new kits a year.
- After birth, the female can become pregnant again as early as the next day. This is because the act of mating causes the doe to release eggs, which will then be fertilized.
- Rabbits are typically good mothers and look after their babies well. The babies burrow to the bottom of the nest where they spend a lot of time sleeping unless the doe wakes them up for feeding.
- Baby rabbits will usually stay with their mother. They will nurse mill for four to eight weeks before weaning onto grass.
Rabbit Products and Uses
- As livestock, rabbits are bred for their meat and fur.
- The earliest breeds of rabbits were important sources of meat, and so became larger than wild rabbits.
- Rabbit meat is sweet and lean and is considered one of the ultimate healthy foods as it is low in fat and cholesterol, as well as high in protein.
- Rabbit fur, prized for its softness, can be found in a broad range of colors and patterns, as well as lengths.
- The Angora rabbit breed was developed for its long, silky fur, which is often hand-spun into yarn.
- Other domestic rabbit breeds have been developed primarily for the commercial fur trade.
- In addition, rabbits are useful for their nitrogen-rich manure and their high-protein milk.
- Rabbit hides can be crafted into hats, gloves, blankets and bedspreads, toys, pillow covers, baby booties, and more.
- It’s an exceptionally warm garment lining for people who spend long periods in intense cold, such as hunters, farmers, ranchers, and construction workers.
Rabbits and Humans
- Rabbits are often used as a symbol of fertility or rebirth, as in spring, and have long been associated with Easter, as the Easter Bunny.
- Rabbit is, in many areas of the world, a part of daily life — like food, clothing, a companion, and a source of artistic inspiration.
- In the Chinese New Year, the zodiacal rabbit is one of the twelve celestial animals in the Chinese zodiac.
- A rabbit’s foot is believed to bring good luck and protection. This belief is found in many parts of the world, with the earliest use being recorded in Europe c. 600 BC.
- Rabbits with human characteristics have appeared both in film and literature, for example, in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Peter Rabbit stories written by Beatrix Potter, and Bugs Bunny cartoons.
- Coney Island likely got its name from the fact that it used to have a big wild population of rabbits.
This bundle contains 10 ready-to-use Rabbit Worksheets that are perfect for students who want to learn more about Rabbits which are mammals that belong to the Lagomorph order that also includes hares and pikas.
Download includes the following worksheets
- Rabbit Facts
- Rabbit Monikers
- The King of Rabbits
- Rabbit Breeds
- Long-Haired Bunny Match-up
- Show Bunny Art
- Bunny Care
- Bunny Folklore
- Rabbit Warren
- Rabbits are Crepuscular
- Bunny Bookmark
Frequently Asked Questions
Are rabbits a good pet?
Rabbits are affectionate and social pets. They can be great house pets if you take the time to socialize them and learn about their basic body language. Rabbits do however require a lot more care than people typically expect.
What is unusual about rabbit teeth?
Rabbits’ teeth have a unique feature that enables them to grow constantly. The top front teeth can grow at a rate of 3mm a week.
Do rabbits eat their babies?
Rabbits can sometimes eat their own young. This is most likely to happen if a pet is feeling particularly anxious, lacks dietary protein, or has become excessively territorial.
Do rabbits play?
Rabbits perform an athletic leap, known as a ‘binky’ when they’re happy, performing twists and kicks in mid-air.
What are rabbits famous for?
Rabbits are known for their insatiable reproductive habits. They breed three to four times each year because only about 15 percent of baby rabbits make it to their first birthday.
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Link will appear as Rabbit Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, August 24, 2017
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