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Domestic Rabbit

Oryctolagus cuniculus

Rabbit Gallery

About the Domestic Rabbit

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Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Oryctolagus
Species: cuniculus
Domestic breed: French lop

 There are more than 47 breeds of domestic rabbits of varying sizes and colors. Domestic rabbits have long, typically floppy ears and a short “bob” tail. Their eyes are large and placed high on the tops of their skulls so they have a 360-degree view.  Domestic rabbits are found wherever humans keep them. In the wild, rabbits live in groups in underground burrows. Rabbits can run up to 35 miles per hour—faster than cats.

Domestic Rabbit

Appearance:
There are over 50 breeds of domestic rabbits varying significantly in size, fur type and color. Rabbits’ ears are long and usually floppy, and they have a short “bob-tail.”  The buck (male rabbit) is heavier than the doe (female) and has a broader head. The rabbit can outrun the cat, reaching speeds of 35 miles per hour. Rabbits’ eyes are large and placed high on the top of its skull, giving them a 360 degree view.

Size: 
Weight: 2 to 8 pounds
Length: 15 to 20 inches

Diet:
A herbivorous animal, the rabbit eats grasses, growing trees, tree bark, small herbs, agricultural crops and hay.       

Mating and Reproduction:
Female rabbits begin reproducing at 3.5 months and males at four months. Unlike most mammals, rabbits don't come into estrus. Males instead induce females to breed, as copulation triggers an egg's release. Rabbits’ mating season is from January to late September. The female (doe) makes an underground nest for her babies (kits), but she doesn't spend too much time there after their birth to keep them safe from predators. Females can have 20 to 40 litters each year at five-week intervals, with three to seven young in each litter.

Behavior: 
Rabbits are nocturnal, social and territorial animals that prefer to live in groups in complex burrow systems, called warrens. A typical colony consists of six to 10 adults of both sexes. There's a hierarchical structure in large groups of rabbits, with a dominant male and female presiding over the colony. The colony protects the warren from intruders. They communicate through scent and touch and thump their hind limbs on the ground to warn of danger.

Habitat/Range: 
In the wild, rabbits live in groups in underground burrows in fields, grasslands and woodlands. They can also be found in deserts, forests and urban areas.  Rabbits are domesticated and are now found on every continent except Asia and Antarctica.

Life Expectancy:
In the wild, an average of one year. In captivity, nine to 12 years.

Population Status:
The wild species that domestic rabbits are descended from, the European rabbit, is listed as Near Threatened. Different domestic rabbit breeds have different conservation statuses. French lops are not at risk.