Saturday, April 3, 2010

All about Bunnies

Ten Neat Things about Rabbits

1. Dumb bunnies. Anybody who thinks rabbits are dumb has not tried to out-smart one. As preyed-upon animals, they are extremely observant, with keen hearing and olfactory sense. They will explore any new environment cautiously and gradually and rarely enter an enclosed space with only one entrance and exit.

2. Rodents. Rabbits are not rodents, taxonomically speaking. A key differentiation is found in their teeth: rabbits have a set of peg teeth behind their upper incisors (the front teeth, the ones you can see on Bugs Bunny); this is not found on rodents. Don't go looking for it on any rabbit you get close to, though. The incisors are razor sharp and a rabbit is unlikely to take too kindly to your poking around in its mouth.

3. Rabbit relationships. While cottontails (native North American rabbits) are generally solitary animals, socializing only during mating seasons, European rabbits are highly gregarious and maintain complex social structures. Dominant males mate with multiple females, but lower-status males and females will often pair off in monogamous relationships.

4. Rabbit groups. Often called a herd now, the old-fashioned word for a group of rabbits is fluffle.

5. Anti-rabbit plants. Try a hedge of currants or a row of cotoneaster around your garden to discourage rabbits. Plant basil, oregano or tarragon amongst your flowers; mint works too, but it may just replace a rabbit problem with a mint problem since it multiplies just as rapidly!

6. Other rabbit solutions. Smells of predators may discourage rabbits. Try hair clippings, blood meal or coyote urine (which you can buy; harvesting your own is not recommended) sprinkled around your garden and refreshed after rain. Establish the area as rabbit unfriendly early in the spring. Use a multi-pronged approach.

7. Rabbit pets. Rabbits were first domesticated for food and companionship in ancient Rome. Today, rabbits are kept as pets by many people who have found that they can be trained to use a litter box and come when called. While they can be a rewarding companion, they are best suited to patient people with very high sensitivity to animals. I say this as a former and none-too-successful rabbit-owner.

8. Rabbits in Australia. In 1859, 24 rabbits were released on the estate of a fellow in Australia, where there are no native rabbits, who missed hunting in England. Within 10 years, those 24 had increased sufficiently for 2-million to be killed per year without leading to a noticeable decrease in the population. They are destructive to the environment and a key example of why it's dangerous to introduce exotic species into an ecosystem.

9. Year of the Rabbit. In the Chinese zodiac, 2011 is the Year of the Rabbit, as were 1999, 1987, 1975, 1963, 1951, 1939, 1927 and 1915. People born in the Year of the Rabbit are regarded as conservative and wise, lucky with money, talented, ambitious, virtuous and gifted with excellent taste. They are inclined to gossip, but tend to be tactful about it.

10. Day of the rabbit. The Easter Bunny originated in the Alsace region of Germany and France and was originally a hare. Children would create nests in their bonnets or caps the night before Easter Sunday. If they had been good, the Easter Hare would lay coloured eggs in the nests. Not sure what the Hare would leave behind for bad children.

Happy Easter Friends!

Thank you Ontario Garderner for yet another wonderful read.
-Shauna Dobbie

Copyright © Pegasus Publications Inc.


  1. This is a really fun post! Great rabbit facts and lore! We used to raise rabbits when I was a girl. I agree with you...they are quite savvy!

  2. Aw, bunnies! They're delightful. I hope you have a wonderful Easter.

    You might want to remove that snow widget now, especially since some people find it causes their web programs to crash. plus hopefully we're done with snow til next December. :-)

  3. Thank you for all the interesting info on rabbits. I adore the cute photos, especially the one of the little rabbit with his feet sticking out. For some reason this reminds me of the premature babies I care for at work. We use to have many rabbits on our property, but a red fox family has diminished the numbers considerably. I miss them!

  4. Wonderful pics. Even though they eat my yard, I love taking pics of bunnies. jim

  5. Great post! Although I’ve never had much luck with homemade remedies. I found a repellent called DeFence that fools rabbits into thinking predators are near and it lasts up to three months. It’s the only truly organic one available…it has the OMRI logo on the label.
    Here’s the spray I’m using: