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11 things you probably don't know about rabbits
Thursday May 18th 2017
Fluffy, gentle and cute – bunnies make fantastic pets; so to celebrate Rabbit Awareness Week (18 to 26 May), here are 11 things you may not know about our long-eared lovelies
1. Rabbits are crepuscular
Crep-what-cular? Crepuscular, of course! It simply means they’re at their most active at dawn and dusk. Rabbits sleep a lot during the day so many people assume they’re nocturnal but that’s not true – take a closer look at your furry friend one evening around sunset, they’ll probably be in the mood to play.
2. They’re Italian
Well, sort of. It’s thought that our modern-day European bunnies came over with the Romans when they invaded around 43AD. Originally brought over as food, rabbits are now one of Britain’s most popular pets.
3. They can have up to 12 babies in a litter!
They’re only pregnant for a month which could mean up to 144 babies in one year although the average tends to be more like 6. In the wild, however, it can be many more – wild mummy rabbits can have as many as 24 babies each time they have a litter. That’s a lot of mouths to feed.
4. They can be very noisy
Your quiet little poppet could be holding back a giant roar. Rabbits tend to be quite quiet but they can scream very loudly if they’re in pain or distress. When they’re happy or showing affection you may hear them make a gentle humming or light chattering, sort of like a cat’s purr.
5. They can’t be sick
Rabbits have no gag reflex so they’re unable to make themselves sick when they’re poorly which is why it’s crucial to give them only the foods that are right for their tummies such as fruit, vegetables, grass and hay. Ask your vet if you’re unsure.
6. They eat their own droppings!
How could something so sweet do something so yucky? Well, it’s because they need to digest food twice to get the right levels of nutrition from their diets. As disgusting as it sounds, it’s actually very good for them.
7. The world’s largest rabbit is the size of a dog
Guinness World Record holder Darius is the world’s largest bunny. He weighs a whopping 50 pounds and is a gigantic 4ft 4ins long!
8. Rabbits can easily overheat in the summer
In the wild, rabbits burrow deep into the cool earth to keep their temperature down when the weather heats up; however, our pet bunnies don’t usually have that option. Keep their hutch or enclosure out of direct sunlight and try giving them ice water bottles or a fan to stop them overheating and becoming poorly.
9. They have 360-degree eyesight
With their fantastic eyesight, your rabbit can see almost all the way around as well as above its head; it’s also able to spot objects very far away. Rabbits do have a tiny blind spot around their nose. Luckily for your bunny though, it also has an excellent sense of smell.
10. When they’re happy they love to dance
When a rabbit is particularly happy, he dances or ‘binkies’; this means he’ll jump up in the air a twist and flick his feet and head, often falling over in the process. Oops.
11. They like to watch TV
Just like us, rabbits can get bored quite easily so need lots of stimulation and changes to their environment. And also just like us, they like to watch TV! It’s thought they’re attracted to the moving images on the screen but don’t let your bunny get square eyes, they need exercise too – just like us.