Rabbits are small creatures with big ears and cute, twitching noses. They are fun to look at, but not the easiest pet to raise. Despite their small size, they require a big area to stretch out and bounce around. They need four hours of exercise a day, which basically means that leaving them inside a cage for 24 hours isn’t the best idea.
If you don’t have the space for a specialized rabbit room or a huge cage, allowing your rabbit full reign of the living area may be your only option, which means you’ll need to prepare the rest of the house. Rabbits adore biting on everything, including furniture and cables, because their teeth never stop growing. Only plastic tubing around cables will keep them from chewing.
Once you have a space for your rabbit, you need to know what to feed him or her. The popular belief is that rabbits would eat nothing but veggies all day, although this may be true for some, giving your rabbit with a varied but healthy diet is essential. Hay or grass should make up the majority of their diet, with fresh vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower accounting for a smaller amount.
From Aesop’s earliest fables to the popular cartoon Bugs Bunny, rabbits have long been the subject of allegory and folklore. Rabbits are also a popular Easter figure, believed to give painted eggs and chocolate to children. Sadly, prey animals like rabbits always face danger in the wild. Rabbits protect themselves by appearing lifeless or dead. Some cultures raise rabbits as livestock for their meat and fur, while some put them in labs to be tested. Want to know more? Hop, skip, and jump to our collection of rabbit facts to get started!
- There are over 305 domestic rabbit breeds.
- Rabbits are the third most common house pets.
- An average rabbit litter is comprised of three to seven babies.
- Seven out of the thirteen wild rabbit species are cottontail.
- The Easter Bunny tradition began in the 1700s.
- Rabbits are herbivores, eating mostly hay and grass.
- Most rabbits sleep with their eyes open.
- Rabbits shed fur as the season changes.
- Some rabbit’s limbs are shorter than hares.
- Rabbits can regulate their body temperature with their ears.
- Rabbits are great nonverbal communicators.
- Rabbits can see up to 360 degrees.
- Rabbits show contentment by hopping happily, this energetic movement is known as a ‘binky.’
- Rabbits are sociable and need to bond with other rabbits.
- Rabbits are high-maintenance pets.
- Carrots are bad for rabbits unless given sparingly.
- Rabbits are believed to have originated in Iberia.
- Rabbits purr by softly chattering their teeth.
- There are more rabbits in shelters than dogs and cats.
- A group of rabbits is called a fluffle.
Ancient Romans were the first to own rabbits.
There have been no clear records on when rabbits were first domesticated but evidence shows ancient Romans raised rabbits for livestock. Although it was after 2,000 years when rabbits have been owned as companions.
The phrase "breed like rabbits" is true.
Even though they’re really young, a doe (female rabbit) can reproduce as young as four months old and be pregnant only after a month. Yes, that quick! And as soon as a doe gives birth, she’s ready to bear kits (baby rabbits) again.
Rabbits were once considered rodents.
Their close evolutionary relationship with rodents is undeniable, but rabbits are lagomorphs. Although similar in having four limbs, fur, and mammary glands, lagomorphs have four incisors and are strictly herbivorous.
Wild rabbits can swim and climb trees.
Rabbits are very sensitive creatures. Exposure to water will shock them, and jumping from high places will break their bones. Wild rabbits don’t climb trees to play, they usually do it to look for food. They can also swim, but it’s only during a matter of life-or-death situations that they can save themselves.
Owning a pet rabbit is illegal in Queensland, Australia.
Rabbits are banned as they are considered a threat to the agricultural landscape and to the endangered native species. The only way to get a permit to own a domestic rabbit is for either public entertainment or scientific purposes.
It's difficult for rabbits to digest food.
Healthy rabbits eat a lot of fiber-heavy food, mainly leafy greens, and some fruits. But they need two things to aid their digestion: an unlimited supply of hay and their soft droppings called cecotropes. Hay helps in strengthening their gut, while cecotropes are needed to line their digestive system.
Carrots are not entirely good for rabbits.
Bugs Bunny made carrots look like a yummy treat for rabbits, but the root vegetables do them more harm than good. Root crops like carrots and lettuce are high in sugar, which will kill a rabbit in a short amount of time. Rabbits need a steady supply of hay and grass, but carrots, lettuce, and other fruits like bananas, strawberries, and watermelons should only be given sparingly and in small amounts.
Rabbits are not 'starter' pets.
Contrary to popular belief, raising a rabbit is a difficult thing. They are not like cats who are independent, or dogs who just need enough space. Caring for a pet rabbit is a 10-year commitment. Rabbits need an unlimited supply of hay and water, they need to be bonded with other animals, and they crave constant attention from their owners.
Rabbits are not vocal creatures either, so you wouldn’t know if they’re in need of medical attention unless you’re a true observer. Getting them to the vet isn’t easy either, as they need ones with experience in handling rabbits.
Not all rabbits like to be held.
Rabbits are truly and irresistibly cuddly. Their soft fur and small faces are truly a delight. Though they are sociable animals, they don’t like being picked up and hugged all the time. The rabbits must trust you first before they allow you to hold them. If not, they may get bitey and aggressive.
Each rabbit has a distinct personality.
Much like humans, pets have their own personalities too. Some rabbits are clever, some playful, some timid, some even adapt to their owner’s traits. Sometimes, the character they exhibit will depend on their breed. Flemish Giants enjoy relaxing, while the New Zealand rabbits are playful.
Rabbits don't need to bathe.
Cats and dogs need regular bath times, but rabbits do not. Rabbits can groom themselves using their tongues to clean their bodies, similar to cats. Bonded rabbits groom each other the same way. But rabbit owners should still brush their fur and clip nails for maximum cleanliness.
Rabbits assert dominance through mounting, chasing, or fur pulling.
According to rabbit owners, bonding two rabbits should be supervised. Rabbit bonding is defined as the slow development of friendship between rabbits. Bonding rabbits is vital for preventing rabbit loneliness and reducing rabbit stress.
However, when one of the rabbits is older, male, bigger, or healthiest, one of the to-be-bonded rabbits will fight for dominance. This is why they should be supervised.
Rabbits communicate through subtle body movements.
Only rabbits understand each other, mostly through nonverbal cues. When one of the rabbits hunches down, it means it wants to be groomed. Sometimes, when a rabbit is really happy they binky. Rabbits only make a sound when they’re hurt, and it usually means they need to be taken to the animal clinic.
Rabbits need a special veterinarian.
Since rabbits are not vocal creatures, it’s difficult to know what they’re truly feeling. Sometimes veterinarians have a hard time assessing their situation. However, vets that specialize in rabbit care have the expertise that normal vets do not, especially in finding out what’s wrong with a rabbit.
The oldest rabbit alive is 16-year-old Mick from Illinois, USA.
Mick, the agouti rabbit from Illinois, celebrated his 16th birthday on February 9, 2019. He surpassed the 10-year rabbit lifespan. An American woman by the name of Liz Rench adopted Mick from an animal shelter in 2004.
The length of the world's longest rabbit is four feet-two inches.
The Guinness World Records awarded the title of “the world’s longest rabbit” to Darius, a 12-year-old continental giant rabbit from the UK. His 68-year-old owner Annette Edwards breeds giant rabbits in her home.
Ralph is the world's heaviest rabbit weighing at 25kg.
Being heavy runs in the family. Continental giant rabbit Ralph won the title “the world’s heaviest rabbit” in 2013, like his parents Roberto and Amy did years before.
A rabbit's average lifespan is 10 to 12 years.
Aside from being symbols of fertility and rebirth, rabbits can also live a long life. With an average lifespan of a dog, rabbits are perfect companions to grow old with.
Rabbits are a symbol of spring and fertility.
Looking cute on grassland is not the reason why rabbits are associated with spring or fertility. Springtime is about new life and new beginnings, and rabbits are talented in reproducing. A mother rabbit has the ability to produce more than 40 babies in a year!
St. Melangell is the patron saint of rabbits and hares.
Irish princess Melangell refused the marriage her father arranged for her. She ran away and vowed to spend her life in prayer and solitude. While hunting, Prince Brochwel of Powys startled a hare that ran and hid under Melangell’s robes. After the Prince saw her beauty and heard her story, he proposed marriage, which she also refused. However, he gave her a parcel of land where she could welcome people and small creatures alike.
A jackrabbit is not a rabbit.
Even though it has a rabbit in its name, a jackrabbit is a hare. Both species belong in the order Lagomorpha and look like many rabbits, except that the difference is with their size and legs. Common rabbits are smaller with shorter legs, while hares have a longer body and lengthier legs.
The rabbit comes fourth in the Chinese zodiac cycle.
The legend of the Chinese zodiac signs always resurfaces before the Chinese New Year. The most common version is about a Jade Emperor who declared a race among the twelve animals, and the first animal to win will have a year named after them. After the rat, ox, and tiger claimed the first three places, the intelligent rabbit hopped on a log that carried him across the river. The rabbit was awarded fourth place.
Eostre is the goddess of spring and rabbits.
Eostre is the ancient goddess of Spring Equinox. The tradition of Easter eggs came from the belief that rabbits lay eggs to signal the beginning of Springtime, which falls at the month of April in the old Germanic calendar.
German immigrants brought the Easter Bunny to America.
Aside from Christmas, the Germans also brought Easter to the west. In the 1700s, children in Pennsylvania made nests for the Easter Bunny to lay its eggs. The tradition spread across America, and parents included chocolates or candies in the nests.
Rabbits are the most common Easter gifts.
Aside from painted eggs and rabbit-shaped chocolates, rabbits are also a popular Easter gift. Failure to properly care for the creatures would sometimes trigger parents to let the rabbit free. According to a 2012 study by the House Rabbit Society, rabbits are the third most abandoned animals in the US. This made animal activists and rabbit owners discourage people from buying rabbits as gifts every Easter.
"The rabbit died" used to mean a positive pregnancy test.
During the early development of pregnancy tests in the 1920s, scientists had to inject a woman’s urine inside a rabbit to see how it would respond. However, to see the result, the rabbit would have to be dissected. This means in order to know if you were pregnant or not, you would have to sacrifice the life of a rabbit.
The short film "Save Ralph" brought awareness to the cruelty of laboratory testing.
The Humane Society of the United States released a four-minute film entitled Save Ralph, a white tester rabbit. Ralph takes the viewers on his daily life as a tester, how his family died from being tested, and his friends screaming for help as they get tested. The poor rabbit showed enthusiasm despite displaying signs of post-traumatic stress disorder in between scenes, The short film led the #BeCrueltyFree and #SaveRalph movement on Twitter.
The White Rabbit awakened Alice's curiosity.
Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland is a children’s classic. The novel begins with a bored Alice chasing the nervous waistcoat-wearing White Rabbit worrying over how late he is, which began her adventure in Wonderland. It is believed that the White Rabbit symbolized the beginning of Alice’s curiosity, similar to a child asking questions when he or she grows to a certain age.
Oswald the Lucky Rabbit came a year before Mickey Mouse.
Before the iconic mouse, Walt Disney created Oswald the Lucky Rabbit in 1928. The studio made 27 animated shorts before moving on to create Mickey Mouse.
Bugs Bunny is the world's most popular cartoon rabbit.
It’s hard to believe that the carrot-munching cartoon rabbit Bugs Bunny is only second in popularity to the Easter Bunny. Bugs is known for being clever and mischievous. His famous catchphrase is, “What’s up, doc?”
James Corden was the voice behind Peter Rabbit in the 2018 film.
Beatrix Potter is the author and illustrator of children’s books, including The Tale of Peter Rabbit. The character got its first live-action film in 2018. The star-studded voice cast included James Corden as Peter Rabbit, Margot Robbie as Flopsy, Daisy Ridley as Cottontail, and Australian singer Sia as Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle the hedgehog.
The Okunoshima Island in Japan is called the "Rabbit Island."
A small island in Hiroshima, Japan called “Usagi Jima” meaning “Rabbit Island.” While it’s still unclear how the island came to be, some accounts say 200 rabbits were used for experiments in the abandoned power plant, while some say children let eight rabbits loose during a school trip.
Rabbits were important in Greek and Roman mythology.
Greek goddesses Artemis and Aphrodite consider rabbits and hares to be important. The hunter goddess Artemis wanted newborn hares to be protected, while the love goddess Aphrodite gifted the rabbits with quick reproduction. In ancient Greece and Rome, a rabbit carving is seen as a a love token. People usually give it to a person who wants to conceive a child.
Some Native American tribes believe that Nanabozho, the Great Hare, created the Earth.
Every culture and religion have their own version of how the world was created, and it’s no different with Native Americans. Nanabozho (or Nanabush, in some translations) was the Great Hare who was present in the story of creation and helped in restoring the Earth.
The Moon Rabbit is Chinese folklore about charity.
The ruler of heaven Sakra disguised himself as an old man begging for food. Animals offered him fruits, fishes, and milk. The rabbit was too embarrassed to offer grass, so it threw its body into the fire. The old man was touched and revealed himself as Sakra. To honor the rabbit’s virtue, he drew the rabbit on the moon.
Medieval marginalia art depicted rabbits as violent creatures.
Rabbits are gentle, quiet creatures. In medieval manuscripts, rabbits symbolize respect for God. But in some marginalia art, rabbits and hares are seen defeating the enemy with arrows and swords. Historians interpreted these drawings as monks making fun of the defeated party.
North Americans believe that saying "white rabbit" three times will bring good luck.
The earliest record of saying “white rabbit” repeatedly was in 1909, but the origins of the superstition is still unidentified. It’s believed that it should be said on the first day of the month for good luck. Another practice said to give a person good luck is tying a rabbit’s foot on one neck.
Some cultures claim that rabbits bring bad luck.
In European folklore, rabbits are associated with witches and the moon, which is probably why the people of Isle of Portland in Dorset, England avoid saying the word “rabbit” and substitute it with “underground muttons.”
A woman made doctors believe she gave birth to a rabbit.
Mary Toft was only 25 years old when she gave birth to animal parts. It caught the attention of King George I’s royal surgeon Nathaniel St. Andre when she birthed something resembling a rabbit. On December 4, 1726, Mary’s husband confessed to buying young rabbits to create the hoax.
Princess Diana had a pet rabbit.
The documentary “Story of Diana,” currently streaming on Netflix, showed Lady Diana Spencer from when she was young to her unfortunate death. One scene showed the young Princess Diana cuddling and kissing a white rabbit.