With Easter approaching, the TV and magazines are full of advertisements featuring our favourite fluffy friends. Inevitably, this will bring rabbits higher in the consciousness of those who do not already live with them, which will in turn lead to more people taking rabbits on. So over the next week we will be looking at some of the basics about welcoming rabbits into our families.
Today I would like to start with a few interesting facts about the origins of the domestic rabbits:
- Rabbits are not rodents. They in fact belong to the lagomorph family, which includes hares and pikas.
- The domestic breeds of rabbits we see today are descended from the wild european rabbit. If you take in a pet rabbit today, their great great great.......great grandparents were probably Spanish!
- Wild rabbits are narrow, streamlined animals with eyes on the sides of their heads for maximum visibility and ears straight up on top which can be rotated independently to listen in any direction. As a prey animal, hunted by many different predators, this maximises their chance of survival.
- Many domestic rabbit breeds have been bred to look more appealing as pets but at the expense of their health and practicality - rounder faces leading to increased dental problems, lop ears leaving them prone to abscesses and less able to hear, larger rabbits with shorter lifespans.
- If you are already bored of reading this list of facts, rabbits are probably not for you. No worries though - you can still celebrate with some toy bunnies (as picture above) and chocolate bunnies this Easter!
So there you go. We'll be back with more bunny basics tomorrow!