If you’re thinking about getting a rabbit or indeed already have one, there are several questions that just seem to keep coming up. They don’t warrant a whole article for each one – it would just be wasting your time so I thought it would be a good idea to have just one post containing the most common questions asked about the little bunny!
Table of Contents
Are Rabbits Ruminants?
Rabbits are not ruminants as they have a single-chambered stomach. A ruminant can be defined as a mammal that sources its nutrients from plant-based foods via a fermentation process that occurs in its stomach. An example of a ruminant mammal would be a giraffe, deer or cattle.
Are Rabbits Herbivores?
Rabbits are herbivores as they consume only plant-based food and vegetables. Herbivores are classified as animals that mostly feed on plants and this definitely includes the rabbit! You will find that most herbivores have large teeth to enable them to grind up the greens that they’ve been provided. Herbivores come in all shapes and sizes, from little insects to large mammals, such as the elephant.
Are Rabbits Mammals?
Rabbits are mammals and belong to the family called Leporidae. There are several things that classify an organism as a mammal but perhaps the most well known is the fact that they all provide milk to their offspring from their mammary glands.
Are Rabbits Nocturnal?
Rabbits are generally considered to not be nocturnal mammals. You will find that the rabbit is most active either side of both sunset and sunrise. There’s actually a name for creatures that adopt this behavior, it’s called crepuscular. There’s a historical reason for this. Remember, the rabbit was wild for a long time before becoming domesticated. During this time they were prey for many larger animals and to avoid being eaten, they would only leave their burrow during these times. This was considered the safest time as nocturnal creatures hunting them wouldn’t be able to see very well (as it was too light) and animals that only came out in daylight couldn’t see them that well because it was too light!
Are Rabbits Rodents?
Rabbits are not rodents. What are rodents exactly? If an animal has incisors that are continually growing in their lower and upper jaws then they are generally considered to be a rodent. However, you may be wondering why the rabbit isn’t defined as a rabbit as they do, indeed, have this property. Well, they used to be considered as a rodent, but now they are not (along with hares). Perhaps surprisingly, about 40% of all mammals are rodents!
Are Rabbits Vermin?
Depending on where you live, rabbits can be considered as vermin. Vermin is generally considered to be an animal that causes destruction to the local environment and crops.
A wild rabbit, for instance, is considered a pest by most farmers due to the damage it can cause to its crops. So, the answer to this can actually change depending on where you live.
Do Rabbits Lay Eggs?
Rabbits do not lay eggs. You may be getting confused with Easter and chocolate eggs and perhaps the Easter Bunny! We do seem to associate Chocolate eggs with the Easter bunny, don’t we? In fact, rabbits reproduce in the same way humans do. Their gestation period is between 28 and 31 days and they can have up to 14 rabbits in a litter.
Believe it or not, if a rabbit reproduces at six months of age and gives birth for seven years, the results are quite incredible. Or terrifying, depending on which way you look at it. Believe it or not, if the rabbit continues to reproduce and give birth at the same rate throughout those seven years, you could end up with over 180 billion rabbits. In seven years! I kid you not. I guess this is a good argument to get your rabbit neutered 🙂
Do Rabbits Have Night Vision?
Rabbits do not have night vision. Although most mammals have good night-sight which helps them hunt, there are some that excel at being able to see in the dark. Generally, it’s quite easy to spot these as they have large eyes! The owl is the obvious example but also, take a look at the Tarsier, it’s got astonishing night-sight. Compare these eyes with those of the rabbit and you’ll understand why the rabbit doesn’t have great night vision.
Do Rabbits Fart?
Rabbits do fart. In fact, almost all mammals fart. I say almost as it seems it is just the sloth that doesn’t. Although that’s interesting I’m more interested in the research that must have taken place to prove this!
Gasses are produced in stomachs during the digestion of food and as most gasses are produced due to undigested carbohydrates, this will be why you find your rabbit farting more after eating certain types of food. If just left on their typical diet of fresh hay and water, they really won’t fart that much and you may not notice it all. However, when you start giving them treats, such as fruits that have more carbs contained within, it is after this that you will notice it more.
Do Rabbits Get Fleas?
Yes, rabbits can get fleas. Surprisingly perhaps, most people complain about this when they have cats and yes, this is actually the main cause of your rabbit getting a flea infestation. Of course, keeping your cat free of fleas will help to eradicate this but it’s not the only source. Most likely though it will be another pet that is responsible. There are plenty of methods described online to help get rid of these, such as the simple flea comb. However, since rabbits are so sensitive to where they are touched, you may struggle with this! Don’t be tempted to use a cat or dog flea treatment as not only will it not work, it can be dangerous also.
Do Rabbits Hibernate?
Rabbits do not hibernate. Come on, really? Tortoises hibernate, not rabbits. Hibernation is when an animal will reduce its heart rate and their breathing rate to a lower level which in-turn, causes their body temperature to drop. Some animals hibernate in the winter and some do it in the summer, some fish also hibernate by encapsulating themselves in a type of cacoon until the lake has water again. It’s all very clever.
Why Do Rabbits Lick?
Your rabbit licks you to show affection. When a rabbit licks you it is telling you that it has accepted you into its family. If you watch rabbits you will see them grooming each other whereas if a new rabbit is introduced it will not be included in this show of affection. For more information about this behavior, check out the article here (opens in a new window).
What Should I feed my Rabbit?
A rabbit should be fed mostly fresh hay. This is its staple diet, it is what it wants and what it needs. This doesn’t mean it is all a rabbit has to eat as you can introduce other foods into its diet, however they should only form a small part of it. A rabbit has a very sensitive stomach and some foods can do a lot of harm, for instance, wild carrots. Most people would naturally believe that carrots are absolutely fine to give to a rabbit but wild carrots can actually cause very serious problems.
To understand exactly what you can provide for your rabbit, please check out the article here (opens in a new window).