Biology & Literature
The European Rabbit – oryctolagus cuniculus – or common rabbit are very social animals, living in groups known as warrens. There is safety in numbers, more rabbits means more watchful eyes on the lookout for predators like the Red Fox or birds of prey. The gestation period for rabbits is only 31 days so they are able to produce upto 40 kittens in a year – hence the term “breeding like rabbits”. The European rabbit is the only species that has been domesticated and it from this species that so many different breeds have been produced such as Lop Eared, Dutch and the British Giant. Rabbits are currently suffering a decline in Britain, this is due to the introduction of myxomatosis, rabbit calicovirus, over hunting and loss of habitat, which could have a detrimental effect on some of our predator populations who rely on rabbits as a source of food.
There are loads of famous Rabbits in literature, TV and film; Harvey the giant invisible rabbit, Bugs Bunny, Roger Rabbit, Rabbit from Winnie the Pooh, Peter Rabbit & Benjamin Bunny, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail, The Br’er Rabbit, Thumper, Pantouflé the imaginary Rabbit from Chocolat and the Velveteen Rabbit.