Domestic Rabbit and Animal Rabbit Rabbits

10 October 2016

Generally, rabbits may have many different colors and color patterns in their entire bodies. In their ventral surface of their bodies (the belly part), colors are often lighter than the dorsal surface (the back side). The most frequent colors of rabbit’s body are white, gray and brown. According to “Rabbits – The Animal Answer Guide” [RTAAG] by Susan Lumpkin, the color pattern of rabbit is called “agouti”, a hue that actually emerges from subtle mixtures of color on individual hairs. An agouti hair is black at the base, yellow in the middle, and black again at the tip.

These characters leave the overall impression of brown to reddish to gray color, depending on the relative amount of two pigments: pheomelanin, which produces red and yellow colors, and eumelanin, which produces dark colors (RTAAG, p49) . Looking from a far distance, rabbit seems to have a full and egg-shaped body. The size of rabbit are ranged from 20 cm (8 inches) in length and 0. 4 kg in weight to 50 cm (20 inches) and more than 2 kg. Especially, the long ears, which are the longest part of its body, can be more than 10 cm (4 inches) (The Rabbit Book [TRB], Samantha Johnson, p. 90).

Domestic Rabbit and Animal Rabbit Rabbits Essay Example

These long ears often point up or come downwards. On the head of rabbit, there are two large eyes, which can be either brown or less frequently blue or grey. Under these eyes, it is teeth – the famous part of rabbit. Its teeth are often long and white, especially the two center teeth are the most longest and biggest. Many rabbits have what is called a “dewlap” blow theirs chin and down over their chests. It makes rabbit seem to have double chins (which actually help them store fat and energy). In fact, rabbit is often known as a fast and active animal. This consideration comes from its special legs.

Normally, rabbit often has 4 legs with 5 claws on each front foot and 4 longer claws on its large flat back feet. These legs are often large and powerful. The two front paws may have 5 toes, with the extra can be called dewclaw and the hind feet have 4 toes. Rabbit’s fur is often long and soft. The tail is quite small and it is a little plume of brownish fur. Land is the most favorable environment for rabbit to live. Some of their most popular living areas are meadows, woods, forest, grasslands, deserts and wetlands, where rabbit can easily find abundant source of grass – their favorite nutrient (Rabbit Biology[RB], 2012).

Of the best known and wide ranged species, the European rabbits are often found in underground burrows (rabbit holes). The population of rabbit is not balanced over different countries in the world. While more than one half of rabbit’s population locates in North America, Europe, Africa and South America, the rest of them cannot stay in most part of Eurasia (where has many species of hares living there). In South America, where rabbits just immigrated recently, many areas have only one kind of rabbit, and some even do not have any kinds of this animal. (Wikipedia)

The main breeding season of rabbit is primarily in rainfall season and the early growth of high protein plants period. Besides, they can still breed at any other time when they are able to get sufficient protein from vegetation (Rabbit Biology). During the breeding season, rabbits often engage in extended chase, wild leaps, circling and boxing. According to RTAAG (p. 111), boxing is a typical behavior of a pursued female rabbit, when she punches her suitor because she has not ready to copulate. During the time when a female is in estrus, a male approaches her from behind, sniffs her rear end, mounts, and they copulate.

Normally, copulation is short, about 10 seconds or so, after which the male dismounts and the female moves away. Before and during her period of receptivity, a dominant male guards his mate by chasing away subordinates that approach her, but a male’s interest in a female lasts only until the end of her short estrus, which is less than a day. The gestation period of rabbits is 29-35 days (average 31). In a year, with favorable condition, an adult female rabbit can produce 7 or 8 litters, which each has average size range from 4 to 5 kittens in the first litter, increasing to about 8 by the end of the season.

Therefore, after a single breeding season, a female rabbit can produce approximate 50 – 60 offspring. The rabbit mothers often give birth to their young in nests of grass and belly fur, which can be either in the warren complex or in a breeding stop ( which is a short single-entrance burrow less than 1 metre long and about 30 cm below ground – Rabbit Biology). When they were born, the young kittens are blind and hair less. They often receive little or no care from their mothers. In fact, this is a strategy for reducing predator. As Lumpskin states in RTAAG, rabbit mothers often have little ability to defend youngsters from predators.

As a result, mothers have to limit their times to approach their babies and try to leave them as soon as possible. During the first period of breeding, rabbit mother can come to see their young only 4 to 5 times each 24 hour period for providing food. After 7 to 10 days, these kittens start opening their eyes and emerging from the warren at about 18 days. When they reach 23 to 25 days old, young rabbit officially leave their nests and begin to have their adult life. When these young are in 3 – 4 month aged period, they can reach sexual maturity and start finding mates to reproduce new generations.

In addition, according to Journal of Animal Science, a recent research has indicated about the relationship between environmental temperature and rabbit’s reproduction. Through observing the reproductive cycle of rabbits in different environmental temperatures, sciences received a result that when the average daily mean reached 20°C, it produced a linear decay of kittens born of around 0. 1 kit /°C. From that experience, some may speculate that high environmental temperature can have a detrimental effect on prolificacy and reproduction of young rabbits.

Generally, through movies and cartoons, most people often know carrot as a popular food of rabbit. In fact, it is true that rabbits are herbivores; they not only like carrots but also eat a variety of grasses and forbs as well as lettuce, other veggies and short, succulent plants. In some seasons, they even prefer cultivated crops, such as wheat, barley and sugar beets. This interest of rabbit makes it sometimes become a harmful animal for farmers in some areas. According to Rabbit Biology, a rabbit, which has an average body weight of 1. kg can consume up to one-third of its own weight per day, with the average daily intake 100 to 150 g. Equivalently, nine rabbits can equate up to one dry sheep. Besides the major kinds of rabbits, which are vegetarians, some others can eat meat, including fish that they find in traps baited for carnivores and the stomach contents of caribou whose guts have been exposed by a carnivore (RTAAG, p131). Rabbits live in the Yukon of Canada, for example, often have a short supply. Therefore, to compensate for the meager plant far, they often like to eat the brains of birds.

Despite a high rate of reproduction, rabbit is a favorite food for most animals such as cats (lions, lynx, bobcats), dogs (pet dogs, wolves, foxes), large birds (hawks, owls, eagles), weasels, bears, snakes and even human. According to RTAAG, in some area, rabbits can be from 1 to 80% of Eurasian lynx’s diet and 90% of the bobcat’s diet. Besides, human also use rabbit meat to cook. In some countries such as UK, New Zealand and Australia, rabbits are sold popularly in market as a nutrient product. Rabbit can have symbiosis relationship with either parasite or animal.

In 1859, the European rabbit, with no important predator, multiplied explosively in Australia (Symbiosis Website). They become a harmful species when competing with sheep for forage and consuming a large amount of forage plants there. Therefore, in 1950, local organizations had to box the myxoma virus, which was imported from Brazil, in order to limit the rabbit population, plant grass again and raise sheep to increase more profit. Although they did not success in eliminating completely the rabbits, the number of this species there was decreased hugely.

Besides, the rabbits can also have symbiosis relationship with animal. The eagle, one of rabbit’s predators has a symbiotic in a metaphorical sense with them. To an eagle, they consider rabbit as a nutrient food. On the other hand, to rabbits, eagle is a way to prevent the rabbit population from outgrowing the available vegetation that rabbits eat, therefore preventing a horrible famine caused by the rabbits. Despite its reputation as a high social species, most typically, rabbits often live individually. For instance, to warrens, an European rabbits live n groups centered on interconnected underground burrows and tunnels, individuals of ten can react to other members of their group with hostility or avoidance, or at best, tolerance. They did not prefer to get too close with each other. In the words of RTAAG, rabbits only decided to live gregariously when they cannot find other spaces or nest sites to live. Besides, rabbits may just come together during the breeding season and sometimes even form aggregations at feeding sites. However, even in breeding season, male and female still keep their distance with each other (except to their mates).

During this special time, male and female rabbit stay together and wait for the birth of offspring. Although most male rabbit species often get rid of their mates and come to new areas after breeding season, Plateau pikas, an exceptional example of rabbit, can provide significant parental care for their youngsters. With the nourishment of their fathers, young plateau pikas often survive with better conditions and grow up more successfully. After 3-4 months, when young approach sexual maturity, they start moving away from the natal area and reproduce elsewhere.

It is a way for rabbit to minimize the risks of breeding between close relatives, to reduce competition among relatives for mates and resources. In contrast, female rabbit often stay in a familiar place with their young. This habitation helps them form “daughter and sisters” relationship, which enhance cooperation or limit competition among females. Indeed, rabbit often involve in many intense aggression, which cause them to lose bits of fur, skin and even lead to death. When food is care, several rabbit can fight with others in order to protect their homelands.

The fights can happen between males and males, females and females, or even between members of both sexes. Generally, females fight other females more often and violently than they do with males. A female European rabbit, for example, sometimes commits infanticide, killing the young of neighboring females when the young still stay in the nest. It is a way for her to reduce her own offspring’s future competitor. In addition, play behavior is also an interesting aspect of rabbit’s behavior When they are young, rabbit often play with each other as a way to develop the muscle, coordination, and stamina they need as adults to escape for predators.

As these young grow up, the plays gradually merge into fights. Play-fighting is also a way for young animals to size another up. A dominant youngster is likely to turn out to be a dominant adult. In other words, play interactions may form youngster’s behavior to others when they grow up. For a long time, rabbit becomes a popular home pet in human’s house. In fact, there is only the domestic European rabbit, which can be a good pet for human. In the United States, the amount of pet rabbit is approximate 5 million in over 2 million homes, and host people often love them (RB, p144).

However, domestic rabbits often have a fewer amount than dogs and cats because they are more fragile and sensitive. In certain situations, rabbit can scratch or bite with young human children. Besides, home family can train rabbits in little box. Some times rabbit can enjoy socializing and playing with their caretakers but most often they do not come when called and have no interest in sitting in human lap. The home, in which the owners raise rabbits, also need to be rabbit-proofed because rabbit can chew on everything and destroy furniture.

Besides selling rabbits as a food product, human also use rabbit furs, which have good quality if come from adult rabbits or the best quality if come from rabbits in their winter coast. In some areas, rabbit’s hair can be used for felt and hides to make fertilizer and glue. In Europe and China, rabbit-fur industry is developing strongly with a huge amount of export per year. In the past, rabbits also played a role in folk and traditional medicine. They became a symbol of good luck, which make people believed that they can help cure some disease.

According to RTAAG, the ancient Roman used to consider that eating rabbit meat could cure sexual problems or make a man become attractive for 9 days. In North America, people thought that placing a rabbit’s food under the pillow may help induce labor in pregnant woman. In China, people often prescribed eating rabbits as a medicine to alleviate fatigue and various digestive problems such as constipation. In India, habitants even drink rabbit blood to treat asthma. More interestingly, rabbits also appear frequently in human folklore and mythology.

In Vietnam, rabbits are often considered as a symbol of innocence and youthfulness. Vietnamese believe that who hunt and kill rabbits can have a strong power. In Japan, when people look on the moon and see the pattern of dark patches as the image of a rabbit standing on tiptoes on the left pounding, they consider that rabbits may live on the moon, where they make mochi, a Japanese traditional cake. However, in some countries such as UK and Portland, the rabbit was considered as an unlucky symbol for old habitant.

In these areas, people often call rabbit as “long ears” or “underground muttion” to avoid calling the actual words and bring bad luck to themselves. Works Cited Dr Tarnya Cox, Project Leader, Invasive Animals CRC, Rabit Biology. Retrieved October 2012,from http://www. dpi. nsw. gov. au/agriculture/pests-weeds/vertebrate-pests/pest-animals-in-nsw/rabbit-biology M. Piles, L. Tusell, O. Rafel, J. Ramon and J. P. Sanchez, Effect of heat intensity and persistency on prolificacy and pre-weaning kit growth at different stages of the rabbit production cycle, Journal of Animal Science, October 24, 2012, cited from http://www. ournalofanimalscience. org/content/early/2012/10/23/jas. 2012-5455. abstract Samantha Johnson. Voyageur Press. “The Rabbit Book”. Printed 2011. Susan Lumpkin and John Seidensticker. “Rabbits- The Animal Answer Guide”. The Johns Hopkins University Press Baltimore. September 2011 Symbiosis, 5 April 2012, from http://users. rcn. com/jkimball. ma. ultranet/BiologyPages/S/Symbiosis. html#rabbits_in_Australia Wikipedia, Modified 2013 January 19. Rabbit, from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Rabbit

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