20 Fascinating Facts About Rabbits

Editor’s note: This Care2 favorite was originally posted on April 15, 2017.

Rabbits are intelligent, social, very clean — and definitely not starter pets, as some people believe them to be. Just in time for Easter, here are some interesting facts that you may not know about these “hoppy” little creatures.

1. Rabbits are not the same species as hares, which, among other characteristics, are larger and less social.

Photo Credit: Gary Bendig/Unsplash

Photo Credit: Gary Bendig/Unsplash

2. Rabbits, hares and pikas, a mouselike burrowing animal, belong to the order of lagomorphs. They were classified as rodents until 1912.

3. You probably know a doe as a female deer, but it’s also true — albeit a little less lyrical — that a doe is a rabbit, a female rabbit. And, just like deer, a male rabbit is called a buck.

4. Rabbits are most similar to horses, according to MSPCA-Angell, which notes, “They have similar eyes, teeth, and ears (those belonging to many prey animals), as well as a similar diet and behavior. Clearly, their size is much different…”

5. Rabbits are born blind and spend their first few days in a nest lined with grass and their mother’s fur. Unlike the Easter Bunny, rabbits don’t really lay eggs — but hopefully you already knew that.

6. Rabbits definitely deserve their reputation for fertility. Does are pregnant for 30 days and may have a litter of four to 12 babies, called kits — short for kittens. Bunnies can start reproducing as young as four months old, and they can have 800 children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren during their lifetimes.

7. Aside from the above fact, another good reason to spay or neuter pet rabbits is because it will make them live longer. Rabbits that have been sterilized can live 10 to 12 years — up to four years longer than those that haven’t undergone the procedure. Females who haven’t been spayed have an 80 percent higher chance of getting reproductive cancer.

Photo Credit: Chan Swan/Unsplash

Photo Credit: Chan Swan/Unsplash

8. Scary fact: A rabbit’s teeth never stop growing. Fortunately, they’re naturally kept short by the normal wear and tear of chewing. Lots and lots of chewing, that is — about 120 times a minute.

9. Like cats, rabbits can be trained to use a litter box.

10. Also like cats, rabbits will groom themselves — as well as any rabbit they’re bonded with — as often as five times a day.

11. Bunnies don’t have the ability to vomit, so it’s critical to only feed them healthy, appropriate food like hay, grass and vegetables. They also can’t cough up hairballs after all that grooming, so it’s important to regularly brush their coats to prevent shedding.

12. Rabbits eat their poop. Icky, yes, but they have to do it. They need to digest some of their food twice, so they eat their soft “cecotropes,” or nutrient-packed droppings. What’s commonly known as “rabbit pellets” comes out after their second round of digestion.

13. Happy rabbits will do what’s called a “binky”: They’ll jump in the air and spin around, kind of like a bunny Baryshnikov.

14. Happy rabbits will also “purr,” making a chattering noise with their teeth.

15. Rabbits are crepuscular, a creepy-sounding word that just means they’re the most active in the early morning and early evening. This makes them good pets for working people.

16. Rabbits need about four hours of exercise and playtime a day to keep them happy and help prevent osteoporosis.

17. Just like TV antennas used to be called “rabbit ears,” real rabbit ears serve as a kind of antenna. They can pick up sounds from every direction and are capable of hearing from two directions at the same time.

rabbit with big ears

Photo credit: Jim, the Photographer

18. In the wild, rabbits live in burrows called warrens. One warren in Europe contained 450 rabbits and 2,000 entrances, according to the RSPCA.

19. After cats and dogs, rabbits are the third most popular pet in the United States — and, unfortunately, the pet most frequently abandoned. Many people have the wrong impression that bunnies don’t live long and are easy to care for — neither of which is true.

20. It’s not a good idea to give bunnies — or chicks, ducklings or any live animals — as Easter gifts. Here are five good reasons why.

Photo Credit: Daniel Watson/Unsplash

299 comments

KimJ M
KimJ Mabout a month ago

Tfs This page is playing up!

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KimJ M
KimJ Mabout a month ago

Tfs This page is playing up!

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KimJ M
KimJ Mabout a month ago

Tfs This page is playing up!

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ Mabout a month ago

Tfs This page is playing up!

SEND
KimJ M
KimJ Mabout a month ago

Tfs This page is playing up!

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Chrissie R
Chrissie Rabout a month ago

They'll devastate your gardens, little darlings!!

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Lesa D
Lesa Dabout a month ago

BUNNY~RIFIC!!!

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Lesa D
Lesa Dabout a month ago

thank you Laura...

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Danuta W
Danuta Wabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Camilla Vaga
Camilla Vaga1 months ago

nice

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