Facts about Rabbits

, , Leave a comment

Rabbits, originating from the Lagomorpha  family, are animals which are kept as pets although historically it has been favoured for food and fur. The scientific name for rabbits is ‘Oryctolagus cuniculus’ which means ‘a hare-like digger of underground passages’.

  1. Due to its prolific breeding habits, rabbits are considered a menace in Australia where in 1920 it had a rabbit population of 10 billion which was subsequently, downsized through biological controls  to 600 million in 1990.
  2. Difficulty in obliterating the Australian rabbit menace by conventional methods resulted in biological controls methods being used. This included the introduction of the Myxoma virus in 1950 and the calicivirus, or rabbit haemorrhagic disease (RHD) in 1995.
  3. Historical records indicate that the Phoenicians in 1100B.C,   called the Iberian Peninsula   ‘˜i-shephan-im’ ( ‘˜the land of the rabbit’) . The name was subsequently changed to Hispania and later to Spain as is known today. 2

  1. Domestication of wild rabbits for food was initiated by French monks from Champagne region of France in 5th Century. The meat from newly born babies was not considered  meat and thus was allowed to be consumed during Lent. It was from this selective breeding initiative that produced the breed found today i.e. the Champagne De Argent.

  1. During the Industrial Revolution in Britain, rabbits were looked upon as an important source of meat (due to its size) and fur and later during Victorian times, rabbits took on a new role as pets. It was relabelled as a menace when its population exploded during the early 20th century inflicting damages worth an estimated £50 million a year. 2

  1. Rabbits occupy the fourth position in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiacs symbolising creativity, compassion and sensitivity. The latest Year of the Rabbit was 2011 when rabbits became a popular pet  in the Asia Pacific region.

  1. The Easter bunny is a cultural symbol originating from pre-Christian Anglo Saxon celebrations for the Goddess Eastre. The rabbit was the earthly representation of the Goddess and thus was given due prominence during the festivities.   This cultural trait was carried on during Easter celebrations.
  2. Rabbits eat their own night droppings called cecotropes which is  produced in a region of the rabbit’s digestive tract called the cecum, a blind-end pouch located at the junction of the small and large intestines. The cecum contains a natural community of bacteria and fungi that provide essential nutrients and  protects the rabbit from potentially harmful pathogens.
  3. Rabbits can see behind them but is limited by a blind spot in front. Its range of colours is limited to between blue and green. Within these limitations it is able to discern shapes and recognise familiar human beings.
  4. Currently rabbit farming is predominantly undertaken by temperate industrialized countries such as France, Italy and Spain as rabbit meat has traditionally been socially accepted. It is still in the developmental  phase in the African and Asian countries due to factors such as social acceptance of the meat and development of adequate marketing infrastructure.

Tea Time Quiz

[forminator_poll id="23176"]

Leave a Reply