Portal:Rabbits and hares

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The rabbits and hares portal

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Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha (along with the hare and the pika). Oryctolagus cuniculus includes the European rabbit species and its descendants, the world's 305 breeds of domestic rabbit. Sylvilagus includes thirteen wild rabbit species, among them the seven types of cottontail. The European rabbit, which has been introduced on every continent except Antarctica, is familiar throughout the world as a wild prey animal and as a domesticated form of livestock and pet. With its widespread effect on ecologies and cultures, the rabbit (or bunny) is, in many areas of the world, a part of daily life—as food, clothing, and companion, and as a source of artistic inspiration.

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Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares are classified into the same family as rabbits. They are similar in size and form to rabbits and eat the same diet. They are generally herbivorous and long-eared, they are fast runners, and they typically live solitarily or in pairs. Hare species are native to Africa, Eurasia, North America, and the Japanese archipelago.

Five leporid species with "hare" in their common names are not considered true hares: the hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), and four species known as red rock hares (comprising Pronolagus). Meanwhile, jackrabbits are hares rather than rabbits.

A hare less than one year old is called a leveret. The collective noun for a group of hares is a "drove".

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A European Rabbit in Tasmania

Rabbits are a serious mammalian pest in Australia and an invasive species. Annually, European rabbits cause millions of dollars of damage to crops. Since their introduction from Europe in 1859, the effect of rabbits on the ecology of Australia has been devastating. Rabbits are suspected of being the most significant known factor in species loss in Australia. The loss of plant species is unknown at this time. Rabbits often kill young trees in orchards, forests and on properties by ringbarking them.

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A Standard Chinchilla eating a leaf
Chinchilla rabbits originated in France and were bred to standard by M. J. Dybowski. They were introduced to the United States in 1919. Apart from the Standard Chinchilla, there are two other breeds recognized by the ARBA: The American Chinchilla or "Heavyweight Chinchilla" is larger than the Standard Chinchilla but otherwise identical. The Giant Chinchilla is a result of crosses between Chinchilla and Flemish Giant breeds; it originates in the United States.

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Title illustration from The Tale of Peter Rabbit
The Tale of Peter Rabbit is a children's book written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter (1866–1943) that follows mischievous and disobedient young Peter Rabbit as he is chased about the garden of Mr. McGregor. He escapes and returns home to his mother who puts him to bed after dosing him with chamomile tea. The tale was written for five-year-old Noel Moore, son of Potter's former governess Annie Moore, in 1893. The book was a success, and multiple reprints were issued in the years immediately following its debut. It has been translated into 36 languages and with 45 million copies sold it is one of the best-selling books of all time.


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At a German rabbit show


Did you know…

  • … that a male rabbit is called a buck?
  • … that rabbits have 28 teeth with a dental formula of 2.0.3.31.0.2.3?
  • … that the 2005 ARBA convention was documented in the film Rabbit Fever?

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