Rabbits

Rabbit

Rabbits

Rabbits are common mammals that can be found all over the world. There are actually seven different genera in the rabbit family. They can cause damage to crops by eating the vegetation and that is why they are considered serious pests.

Life Cycle
Rabbits actually have a very fast reproduction rate. The average litter will have 4-12 offspring and typically, one female rabbit can give birth to about 6 litters. The breeding season will take up to 9 months from the late winter to early fall season. After the female is finished mating, she will create a nest to give birth in. The kits (baby rabbits) are born helpless, blind, and without fur. The offspring develop a soft but thin coat of hair within a few days and the initial soft coat will be replaced after several weeks to a pre-adult coat and the fur will be shed two times a year after that. They won’t be able to open their eyes until about one week to 10 days after they are born and will not be able to feed on their own until after 2 weeks. The expected lifespan is a rabbit is about 9 – 12 years. However, with predators that typically live in the same environment them, the average lifespan of wild rabbits will be about 1-3 years.

Identification
The most known physical characteristic of rabbits are their ears. Long ears can be more than 10 cm long which is a physical adaption to aid in detecting their predators. Depending on the species, the size of a full grown rabbit can range anywhere from 20 cm to 50 cm – weighing from 0.4 kg and up to more than 2 kg. They have strong hind legs that are very large particularly made to move swiftly and efficiently. Their strong teeth allows them to eat hard vegetation and also aids in biting their predator when they are trying to escape.

Habitat
Depending on the species, habitats of rabbits can vary widely which include the forest areas, deserts, grasslands, wooded areas and etc. North America is home to more than half the world’s population of rabbits, however, they can be found all over the world in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, and Australia.

Behavior
Rabbits are actually prey for many different mammals and birds. Therefore, they are always aware of their surrounding and have adapted several defense mechanisms for their survival.
Rabbits make homes underground called burrows. Burrowing will be their safest shelter from most predators. Some physical mechanisms will be their strong hind legs for speed and also to kick their predators if they are caught. Their strong teeth are used as a defense mechanism for biting predators. They will also do peculiar things like move in a zig zag motion as to escape from being caught and use their feet to thump on the ground as a warning to other rabbits.

Diet & Damage
Rabbits are herbivorous mammals. They will typically graze on grass or leafy vegetation. Flowers and other vegetables are food for rabbits during the spring season and woody plants are eaten by rabbits during the fall and winter seasons. The food that they choose to eat varies widely from fruits to trees. Most damage on trees are caused by rabbits that gnaw on the bark and the branches. They cause damage all year long which can also be a nuisance for many homeowners. Once they begin to graze for the day, they will graze very quickly and heavily for about the first hour and become more selective for a few hours proceeding. Their grazing time will begin in the late afternoon until evening and if the conditions are safe enough, they will remain outside of their burrows to begin digestion. Rabbits actually go through a reingestion period that typically happen early in the morning and that may last all the way till the afternoon until they begin to graze again. Because they breed quickly and feed heavily, rabbits have become a huge problem for agricultural environments and a huge nuisance for gardeners.

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If you want to get more information, please click the links below.
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Date: Thursday, 6. January 2011 15:46
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