Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus


Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus
Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus
Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus
Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus
Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus
Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus rabbit hole

Class Mammalia (Mammals)
Order Lagomorpha (Rabbits & hares)
Family Leporidae (Rabbits & hares)
Species Oryctolagus cuniculus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Head & body length 42-60 cm.

Rabbits have greyish-brown fur with a gingery-orange nape. They have a small white tail with a black upper marking, long ears and long hind legs. They have four sharp incisors which continuously grow throughout their lives.

Very social mammals, rabbits live in a network of burrows called warrens. Each warren has many interconnected tunnels, and is occupied by up to 5 males and 6 females. A female can produce a litter of 3 to 7 young every month between January and August, depending on environmental factors such as food supply. It can live for up to 2 years.

Rabbits are herbivores which mainly feed at night where they graze on a wide range of vegetation, especially grasses. They can increase the nutrition they get from their food by re-ingesting some of their own faeces direct from the anus. seen all year round in woodland, dunes, hedgerows, grassland and cultivated land. They can be seen at dawn and dusk, and also glimpsed in the daytime.

There are an estimated 38 million rabbits in Great Britain, and they can be considered a pest to cultivated crops and local vegetation. Rabbits have grown quickly in numbers and have become abundant and widespread throughout Britain despite a serious outbreak of myxomatosis which decimated their numbers in the early 1950s. A non-native species orginating from Spain and Portugal and was introduced to Britan by the Normans for food and fur.

Saundersfoot, Wales, Great Orme, Llandudno, Wales, and local common, South Staffordshire. © Peter Hillman