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For the woodworking term, see Rabbet. For the musician, see Rabit (musician). For other uses, see Rabbit (disambiguation).
“Bunny” redirects here. For other uses, see Bunny (disambiguation).
Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha (along with the hare and the pika). Oryctolagus cuniculus includes the European rabbit species and its descendants, the world’s 305 breeds of domestic rabbit. Sylvilagus includes 13 wild rabbit species, among them the 7 types of cottontail. The European rabbit, which has been introduced on every continent except Antarctica, is familiar throughout the world as a wild prey animal and as a domesticated form of livestock and pet. With its widespread effect on ecologies and cultures, the rabbit (or bunny) is, in many areas of the world, a part of daily life—as food, clothing, a companion, and as a source of artistic inspiration.
Temporal range: Late Eocene-Holocene, 53–0 Ma
Male rabbits are called bucks; females are called does. An older term for an adult rabbit is coney (derived ultimately from the Latin cuniculus), while rabbit once referred only to the young animals. Another term for a young rabbit is bunny, though this term is often applied informally (especially by children) to rabbits generally, especially domestic ones. More recently, the term kit or kitten has been used to refer to a young rabbit.
A group of rabbits is known as a colony or nest (or, occasionally, a warren, though this more commonly refers to where the rabbits live). A group of baby rabbits produced from a single mating is referred to as a litter, and a group of domestic rabbits living together is sometimes called a herd.
Rabbits and hares were formerly classified in the order Rodentia (rodent) until 1912, when they were moved into a new order, Lagomorpha (which also includes pikas). Below are some of the genera and species of the rabbit.
Sumatran Striped Rabbit
(Feral Tasmanian specimen)
Pygmy rabbit, Brachylagus idahoensis
Bushman rabbit, Bunolagus monticularis
Genus Lepus ← NOTE: This genus is considered a hare, not a rabbit
Sumatran striped rabbit, Nesolagus netscheri
Annamite striped rabbit, Nesolagus timminsi
Genus Ochoronidae ← NOTE: This genus is considered a pika, not a rabbit
European rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus
Amami rabbit / Ryūkyū rabbit, Pentalagus furnessi
Central African Rabbit, Poelagus marjorita
Genus Prolagidae ← NOTE: This genus is extinct.
Volcano rabbit, Romerolagus diazi
Swamp rabbit, Sylvilagus aquaticus
Desert cottontail, Sylvilagus audubonii
Brush rabbit, Sylvilagus bachmani
Forest rabbit, Sylvilagus brasiliensis
Mexican cottontail, Sylvilagus cunicularis
Dice’s cottontail, Sylvilagus dicei
Eastern cottontail, Sylvilagus floridanus
Tres Marias rabbit, Sylvilagus graysoni
Omilteme cottontail, Sylvilagus insonus
San Jose brush rabbit, Sylvilagus mansuetus
Mountain cottontail, Sylvilagus nuttallii
Marsh rabbit, Sylvilagus palustris
New England cottontail, Sylvilagus transitionalis
Johann Daniel Meyer (1748)
Johann Daniel Meyer (1748)
Differences from hares
Main article: Hare
Hares are precocial, born relatively mature and mobile with hair and good vision, while rabbits are altricial, born hairless and blind, and requiring closer care. Hares (and cottontail rabbits) live a relatively solitary life in a simple nest above the ground, while most rabbits live in social groups underground in burrows or warrens. Hares are generally larger than rabbits, with ears that are more elongated, and with hind legs that are larger and longer. Hares have not been domesticated, while descendants of the European rabbit are commonly bred as livestock and kept as pets.
Main article: Domestic rabbit