There are two common species of wild rabbit: the American cottontail and the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) which is the ancestor of all breeds of domestic rabbit. The rabbit is a small gnawing mammal with gray or brown fur, long ears and a short tail (the cottontail is named after the white fur on the underside of its tail). Rabbits are similar to hares; the main differences are that rabbits are smaller, and that their young are born blind and hairless, while the hare's young are born with fur and are able to hop about a few hours after birth. Also, rabbits are gregarious and hares are usually solitary.

The European rabbit was originally found in South-West Europe and North Africa, and has since been introduced into the Americas, Australia and New Zealand. It lives in warrens which are made out of the individual burrows of many rabbits. Rabbits eat green plants such as grass, clover and bracken.

Rabbits are very prolific, producing several litters of 5-8 young per year, and can breed rapidly enough to become a pest. The pregnant female digs a new nursing burrow to use as a nest and lines it with leaves and her own fur.

Rabbits have a placid disposition and make good pets. They are sometimes eaten by humans, and because they are easy to breed in captivity they are used as lab animals. Their fur is used in the fabric industry, for example to make felt.

In track, a rabbit is a sacrificial runner in a medium- to long distance race that jumps out to an early lead, but subsequently tires and fades away. The purpose of a rabbit is to pace another runner (usually a teammate) so that that other runner runs a more technically sound race (i.e. starts too fast or finishes too slow.)

When driving, the term rabbit is used for a driver going faster than all other traffic, and is mostly likely derived from the racing term.

When a driver spots a rabbit, they then drive faster themselves on the assumption that should there be any police monitoring the road they are travelling that the rabbit will be the one to receive the ticket while the follower slows to something closer to the legal limit.

Also, when dealing with lagomorphs, it is important to note that no matter their disposition when domesticated, they can deliver a painful and possibly serious bite if they feel threatened.

This is a rather small mammal, approximately the size of a housecat. They can browse on grass, or eat carrots and certain other roots when they can get them. Some of them are bred and kept by humans as pets. In the wild they are typically considered as pests by farmers and gardeners, although in certain places they are hunted or trapped and eaten.

Although not the fastest or most prolific animals (or even mammals) alive, they are proverbial for their running speed and rapid reproduction.

Albino rabbits are often favored and bred as pets, but wild rabbits are more typically combinations of grey and brown, giving them a degree of camoflage from predators in their environment. They are gregarious and tend to live in large groups. They usually live in underground burrows typically dug by pregnant females.

We all know that most fiber isn't digestible to humans. Luckily, we're omnivores, so it doesn't matter much. But other animals do need to break down fiber so they can enjoy its nutrient-rich goodness. For example, cows rely on beneficial bacteria in their multiple stomachs to digest fiber. But have you ever wondered how rabbits digest all the green stuff they eat?

Too bad. I'm gonna tell you anyway.

A rabbit's digestive system isn't that different from ours, except that rabbits have a small bacteria-filled pouch located at the end of their digestive tract. The bacteria break the cellulose down into a digestible form. Unfortunately, because the pouch is at the end of the digestive tract, the broken-down celulose is released as wastes before the nutrients can be fully absorbed.

So the rabbit eats its poo.

The broken-down cellulose goes through the rabbit's digestive system again, and all of the nutrients are fully absorbed. Rabbits smell their wastes to tell if there are still usable nutrients in there.

Rab"bit (rab"bit), n. [OE. rabet, akin to OD. robbe, robbeken.] (Zoöl.)

Any of the smaller species of the genus Lepus, especially the common European species (Lepus cuniculus), which is often kept as a pet, and has been introduced into many countries. It is remarkably prolific, and has become a pest in some parts of Australia and New Zealand.

⇒ The common American rabbit (L. sylvatica) is similar but smaller. See Cottontail, and Jack rabbit, under 2d Jack. The larger species of Lepus are commonly called hares. See Hare.

Angora rabbit (Zoöl.), a variety of the domestic rabbit having long, soft fur. --
Rabbit burrow, a hole in the earth made by rabbits for shelter and habitation. --
Rabbit fish. (Zoöl.)
(a) The northern chimæra (Chimæra monstrosa).
(b) Any one of several species of plectognath fishes, as the bur fish, and puffer. The term is also locally applied to other fishes. --
Rabbits' ears. (Bot.) See Cyclamen. --
Rabbit warren, a piece of ground appropriated to the breeding and preservation of rabbits. Wright. --
Rock rabbit. (Zoöl.) See Daman, and Klipdas. --
Welsh rabbit, a dish of which the chief constituents are toasted bread and toasted cheese, prepared in various ways. The name is said to be a corruption of Welsh rare bit, but perhaps it is merely a humorous designation.

 

© Webster 1913

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