Interesting facts about rabbits that will surprise you
Rabbits are becoming more and more popular to keep at home, especially in the coming year, the symbol of which they are.
Although there are many reasons to have a rabbit, it is important to know a little more about them. And maybe after reading this article, you'll realize that a rabbit is just the right pet for you.
Rabbits are not rodents.
Let's start by busting a myth. Despite popular belief, rabbits are not rodents, a fact that often confuses many people. In fact, they are rabbits: mammals that have a number of features, such as long ears and two pairs of upper incisors. The limbs of hares are covered with fur, while rodents sometimes have bare paws and ears. There are also differences in feeding: Hares are strict herbivores, while rodents can be omnivores.
In their bone structure and certain anatomical features (muscles, viscera, etc.), hares are indeed more similar to cloven-hoofed animals than to rodents. So your rabbit may have more in common with a goat than with a hamster. Amazing, isn't it?
They eat their own feces (and it's good for them)
Rabbits have a habit of eating their own feces, and you know what the most curious thing is? If they didn't, they might develop health problems.
This practice is known as cecotrophy. Taking cecotrophies, which should by no means be confused with coprophagia, allows the rabbit to regenerate vitamins, fatty acids, beneficial bacteria, etc.
If you observe closely, you will find that your rabbit does not eat all of his feces, but only those that he excretes at night, which are different from the daytime feces: softer, covered with a mucous membrane and often clumped together. It is these feces that are called cecotropes.
Rabbits purr like cats
Yes, rabbits can purr just like cats. Well, it's not quite the same: while cats' purrs have obscure origins and various possible meanings, rabbits' purrs are less mysterious.
Rabbits "purr" by gently brushing their teeth as if they were quietly grinding them, and this sound has a very clear meaning: it indicates that the rabbit is comfortable and relaxed. Of all the curiosities about rabbits, this one is undoubtedly one of the ones we like best.
Rabbits jumping for joy
Does your rabbit often have sudden bursts of activity during which he starts jumping and making strange turns in the air? If so, that means you're doing very well: it's a very characteristic movement for these animals, known as "binky," and it's a way of expressing happiness.
Sometimes the "binkies" are so emotional that the rabbit can flip completely in the air. They are also often accompanied by a frantic running around the room.
Wild ones also make this funny move. For them, however, it is much less common, probably because, living in the wild, they don't often feel as safe and relaxed as domestic rabbits.
Their teeth never stop growing
A rabbit's teeth continue to grow throughout its life at a rate of about one centimeter per month. In the wild, these animals spend most of their time chewing on bark, plants and other materials, which leads to a lot of wear and tear. Thus, constant tooth growth is simply necessary for them.
In a home where the rabbit doesn't have much "work" to do, excessive tooth growth can cause all sorts of mouth problems, so there should be no shortage of toys and biting devices in rabbit cages.
Nothing escapes their gaze
We say this not because they have particularly sharp eyesight, but because of the enormous field of vision they encompass: rabbits have binocular vision with a range of almost 360 degrees. By comparison, we humans are a little behind: we only rotate 180 degrees.
The reason is the location of rabbits' eyes, which, like many other predatory animals, are positioned on the sides of the head to make it easier to detect predators that might chase them.
Rabbits have no means of defense other than their speed. Thus, their survival in the wild depends entirely on their being able to detect a threat in time.
They are very smart.
This is another of the facts about rabbits that most surprise people who have not dealt with these animals: their level of intelligence is comparable to that of cats and even many dogs
In fact, rabbits make social connections with each other and with people and are great at learning and remembering all kinds of commands (to pee in the sandbox, answer their name, run around in a circle, stand on two paws, etc.).
That's why when you take home a rabbit, you need to understand that they need a lot more than just sleeping in a cage and chewing on something all day. Yes, they are animals that need their own space, but they also need mental stimulation, play and companionship.
They reproduce (very) fast
You're probably familiar with the expression "breed like rabbits," which indicates how prolific this species is. Well, this is not a myth: rabbits are indeed capable of breeding at great speed due to a combination of several characteristics.
Males are sexually active all year round. In addition, females become sexually active and receptive again immediately after giving birth. Copulations occur very quickly and can be repeated every few minutes.
Keep in mind that rabbits reach sexual maturity at about 4 months of age and can live from 8 to 10 years. Pregnancy lasts only one month, after which the female gives birth to up to 5 rabbits.
The huge reproductive potential of rabbits has led to them even being considered a pest in countries such as Australia: the species, with only 24 specimens, has colonized the entire country at a rate of 100 kilometers per year. In just 70 years, the original 24 rabbits turned into 10 million.
Sterilizing a rabbit is, you understand, the best way to avoid unwanted pregnancy and all the problems associated with it.
Rabbits can't vomit.
One of their most peculiar characteristics that only a few mammals have: rabbits are physically incapable of vomiting.
"The culprit" is the esophageal sphincter, which is the valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach. This part of the rabbit's body is especially strong, causing the animal to be unable to vomit or even burp. Anything the rabbit needs to defecate (including gas) can only come out through the rectum.
So, if at any point your rabbit releases something from his mouth that might seem like vomiting, it will always be half-chewed food or something else that he swallowed by mistake, but nothing that went into his stomach.