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European Rabbit image
European Rabbit

European Rabbit

(Mammal)

European Rabbit Baby
European Rabbit Baby

European Rabbit Habits

Mainly nocturnal, the rabbit spends most of the day underground, emerging from the burrow at dusk. Because it has so many natural predators, it is constantly alert to danger. It pauses as it emerges from its burrow, twitching its nose to smell the air for the scent of predators. It never strays far from the safety of its burrow.
When is senses danger, the animal sounds a warning to other rabbits by thumping the ground with both hind feet before running off.
Generally, there is a dominant female in the colony, called a doe, and she will fight the others for the best nest site.

European Rabbit Communication

European rabbits use a variety of noises and behavior in order to communicate. Here is a list of their commuincation techniques.
Clucking – sounds a little like hiccups. This is a happy, contented sound – likely to be heard when they are sleeping.
Growling – Similar to a dog – growling means it is feeling threatened and is either angry or frightened.
Hissing – This sound is used to communicate anger.
Loud squealing or screaming – this is a sign that the rabbit is in extreme pain and distress.
Gentle teeth grinding – a sign of a happy and contented rabbit.
Loud teeth grinding – this often signifies pain.
Licking – The rabbit is showing affection. It’s very common when they are groomed, and shows that they are enjoying it.
Binkying – also known as full of the joys of spring! Running, leaping, twisting – rabbit is simply happy to be alive.
Thumping – rabbits thump their back legs for various reasons. It might be scared, angry or warning of danger.
Chinning – Rabbits have glands beneath their chin, so by rubbing their chin they are marking their territory. The scent is not able to be smelt by humans.

European Rabbit Breeding

Rabbits bred continually. Litters of five or more rabbits are produced after a short gestation. within hours of giving birth, the female (or doe) will mate again. She can produce up to seven litters a year.
Spring and summer are the peak reproductive periods, but breeding can start as early as January. Beginning in August, breeding is less intensive, and the doe often does not give birth once she has conceived, but rather reabsorbs the embryos into her body.
The newborn young are blind, deaf, and hairless. They are born in a nest make by the doe. After the birth, she returns to the nest for only a few minutes every 24 hours to suckle them. She then leaves, covering the nesting chamber with dirt to protect the young from predators.

European Rabbit Food & Feeding

Rabbits are herbivorous (plant eating) and feed mainly on grass, clover, and selected herbs. In winter, when vegetation is scarce, they eat the bark of trees.
Their preferred feeding times are dawn and dusk. Because rabbits have enormous appetites and often feed together in large groups, they can cause wide spread damage to crops.
The rabbit's digestive system is unique. Unlike cattle and sheep, which chew to aid digestion, the rabbit rests in its burrow after feeding and passes soft droppings formed pf partly digested food. The rabbit then eats these droppings to extract the maximum nourishment from the food. Afterward, the rabbit produces hard, pellet-like droppings which it deposits outside the burrow.

European Rabbit Key Facts

        Size 
              Height: Length: Males up to 16 inches long. Female are slightly smaller
              Weight: Males, 4 lb. Females are slightly less
       Breeding
             Sexual maturity: 4-5 months
             Mating: Spring and summer primarily, but year-round to some extent
             Gestation: 28-31 days
             Number of young: 2-8
       Lifestyle 
            Habit: Highly sociable, lives in large communities
            Diet: Mainly grasses, clover, herbs
            Lifespan: About 9 years. Continue to breed until 6 years old

 

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Glands under the rabbit's chin generate a secretion used to mark territory.
  • Badgers and foxes dig young rabbits from their burrow to kill and eat them.
  • In the Kerguelen Islands of Antarctica, rabbits survive the harsh winters by feeding on seaweed washed ashore by the storms.
  • The European Rabbit is the ancestor of all domestic rabbits.
  • Predators of the European Rabbit include cats, dogs, mustelids, birds of prey and owls.

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