Mammal

Rabbit, Domestic

RANGE
Present range is worldwide except for Madagascar and Antarctica. They have been introduced to South America, Java, Australia, New Zealand and various oceanic islands.

HABITAT
Forest grasslands, tundra and alpine slopes. Prefer thick underbrush along borders of fields and woods.

SIZE
Length: 12 – 24 inches
Weight: 2 – 11 pounds

LIFESPAN
Captivity: 6 – 10 years

REPRODUCTION

  • Breed prolifically, bearing four to eight litters a year.
  • First mate at six months
  • Gestation period of 28 days
  • 3 – 8 kittens in each litter
  • Baby rabbits are born naked with closed eyes and are completely helpless. At one week they have fur and can see, then venture out of the nest and are weaned at three weeks.

DIET
Wild: Grasses, herbs, twigs, shoots, tree bark, vegetables, fruits and grains.
Zoo: Timothy hay, rabbit chow, fruit, kale and other vegetables.

BEHAVIOR

  • Lives above ground except for the wild European rabbit which digs burrows and lives in underground colonies.
  • Spend their lives in an area no bigger than a large city block.
  • If danger threatens, they freeze, ready to leap into a dead run if necessary.
  • Domesticated rabbits warn one another of danger by thumping on the ground with their hind feet, also displaying the tail denotes fear and the detection of danger.
  • Rabbits spend most of their day resting and watching for enemies from their “form,” a shallow hole.

POINTS OF INTEREST

  • At least 66 varieties of the domesticated rabbit are derived from a wild rabbit native to Europe and Africa.
  • The domesticated rabbit has extremely diverse characteristics, varying in color through every grade, shade and mixture, from pure white to all black; in coat from very short to long; and in style of ears from small and stiff to lop-eared, which hangs to the ground.
  • Valued as game by hunters, as food and for their fur; they often are pests to farmers whose trees and crops they destroy.

STATUS
Common