Environmental problems

Rabbits have been a source of environmental problems when introduced into the wild by humans. As a result of their appetites, and the rate at which they breed, wild rabbit depredation can be problematic for agriculture. Gassing, barriers (fences), shooting, snaring, and ferreting have been used to control rabbit populations, but the most effective measures are diseases such as myxomatosis (myxo or mixi, colloquially) and calicivirus. In Europe, where rabbits are farmed on a large scale, they are protected against myxomatosis and calicivirus with a genetically modified virus. The virus was developed in Spain, and is beneficial to rabbit farmers. If it were to make its way into wild populations in areas such as Australia, it could create a population boom, as those diseases are the most serious threats to rabbit survival. Rabbits in Australia are considered to be such a pest that land owners are legally obliged to control them.


Rabbits and hares were formerly classified in the order Rodentia (rodent) until 1912, when they were moved into a new order Lagomorpha. This order also includes pikas.

Order Lagomorpha
*Family Leporidae
**Genus "Pentalagus"
***Amami Rabbit/Ryūkyū Rabbit, "Pentalagus furnessi"
**Genus "Bunolagus"
***Bushman Rabbit, "Bunolagus monticularis"
**Genus "Nesolagus"
***Sumatran Striped Rabbit, "Nesolagus netscheri"
***Annamite Striped Rabbit, "Nesolagus timminsi"
**Genus "Romerolagus"
***Volcano Rabbit, "Romerolagus diazi"
**Genus "Brachylagus"
***Pygmy Rabbit, "Brachylagus idahoensis"
**Genus "Sylvilagus"
***Forest Rabbit, "Sylvilagus brasiliensis"
***Dice's Cottontail, "Sylvilagus dicei"
***Brush Rabbit, "Sylvilagus bachmani"
***San Jose Brush Rabbit, "Sylvilagus mansuetus"
***Swamp Rabbit, "Sylvilagus aquaticus"
***Marsh Rabbit, "Sylvilagus palustris"
***Eastern Cottontail, "Sylvilagus floridanus"
***New England Cottontail, "Sylvilagus transitionalis"
***Mountain Cottontail, "Sylvilagus nuttallii"
***Desert Cottontail, "Sylvilagus audubonii"
***Omilteme Cottontail, "Sylvilagus insonus"
***Mexican Cottontail, "Sylvilagus cunicularis"
***Tres Marias Rabbit, "Sylvilagus graysoni"
**Genus "Oryctolagus"
***European Rabbit, "Oryctolagus cuniculus"
**Genus "Poelagus"
***Central African Rabbit, "Poelagus marjorita"
**Three other genera in family, regarded as hares, not rabbits


Rabbits are often known affectionately by the pet name "bunny" or "bunny rabbit", especially when referring to young, domesticated rabbits. Originally, the word for an adult rabbit was "coney " or "cony", while "rabbit" referred only to the young animals. The word rabbit, however, mostly replaced the older word during the nineteenth century after coney became a vulgarism by analogy to the word "cunt" (widely considered vulgar) due to their similar pronunciation. When coney was used to refer to rabbits, its pronunciation was changed to [IPA|koʊ.ni] (rhymes with "phoney"), instead of the original [IPA|kʌ.ni] (rhymes with "money") because of this. [Shipley, Joseph Twadell, "The Origins of English Words: A Discursive Dictionary of Indo-European Roots", JHU Press, 1984, p.129] [Carney, Edward, "A survey of English spelling", Routledge, 1994, p.469] [Morton, Mark, "Cupboard Love: A Dictionary of Culinary Curiosities", Insomniac Press, 2004, p.251] [Allen & Burridge, "Forbidden Words", Cambridge University Press, 2006, p.242] More recently, the term "kit" has been used to refer to a young rabbit. A group of young rabbits is referred to as a "kindle". Young hares are called "leverets", and this term is sometimes informally applied to any young rabbit. Male rabbits are called "bucks" and females "does". A group of rabbits or hares is often called a "fluffle" in parts of Northern Canada.

Rabbits in culture and literature

Rabbits are often used as a symbol of fertility or rebirth, and have long been associated with spring and Easter as the Easter Bunny. The species' role as a prey animal also lends itself as a symbol of innocence, another Easter connotation. Additionally, rabbits are often used as symbols of playful sexuality, which also relates to the human perception of innocence, as well as its reputation as a prolific breeder.See|Playboy Bunny

Folklore and mythology

The rabbit often appears in folklore as the trickster archetype, as he uses his cunning to outwit his enemies.
*In Aztec mythology, a pantheon of four hundred rabbit gods known as Centzon Totochtin, led by Ometotchtli or Two Rabbit, represented fertility, parties, and drunkenness.
*In Central Africa "Kalulu" the rabbit is widely known as a tricky character, getting the better of bargains. Fact|date=February 2007
*In Chinese literature, rabbits accompany Chang'e on the Moon. Also associated with the Chinese New Year (or Lunar New Year), rabbits are also one of the twelve celestial animals in the Chinese Zodiac for the Chinese calendar. It is interesting to note that the Vietnamese lunar new year replaced the rabbit with a cat in their calendar, as rabbits did not inhabit Vietnam.
*In the folklore of the United States, a rabbit's foot is frequently carried as an amulet, and is often used on keychains, where it is thought to bring luck. The practice derives from the system of African-American folk magic called "hoodoo."
*In Japanese tradition, rabbits live on the Moon where they make mochi, the popular snack of mashed sticky rice. This comes from interpreting the pattern of dark patches on the moon as a rabbit standing on tiptoes on the left pounding on an usu, a Japanese mortar (See also: Moon rabbit). A popular culture manifestation of this tradition can be found in the character title character of Sailor Moon, whose name is Usagi Tsukino, a Japanese pun on the words "rabbit of the moon."
*In Jewish folklore, rabbits (shfanim) are associated with cowardice.
*A Korean myth similar to the Japanese counterpart presents rabbits living on the moon making rice cakes (Tteok in Korean).
*In Native American Ojibwe mythology, Nanabozho, or Great Rabbit, is an important deity related to the creation of the world.
*In Ugandan folklore, Shufti the rabit was the leader of the peoples when the sun God burnt the crops to the ground after the skull of the golden albatross was left out on the plains on the first day of the year.
*A Vietnamese mythological story portrays the rabbit of innocence and youthfulness. The Gods of the myth are shown to be hunting and killing rabbits to show off their power.

On the Isle of Portland in Dorset, UK, the rabbit is said to be unlucky and speaking its name can cause upset with older residents. This is thought to date back to early times in the quarrying industry, where piles of extracted stone (not fit for sale) were built into tall rough walls (to save space) directly behind the working quarry face; the rabbit's natural tendency to burrow would weaken these "walls" and cause collapse, often resulting in injuries or even death.

The name rabbit is often substituted with words such as “long ears” or “underground mutton”, so as not to have to say the actual word and bring bad luck to oneself. It is said that a public house (on the island) can be cleared of people by calling out the word rabbit and while this was very true in the past, it has gradually become more fable than fact over the past 50 years.

Other fictional rabbits

The rabbit as trickster appears in American popular culture; for example the Br'er Rabbit character from African-American folktales and Disney animation; and the Warner Bros. cartoon character Bugs Bunny.

Anthropomorphized rabbits have appeared in a host of works of film, literature, and technology, notably the White Rabbit and the March Hare in Lewis Carroll's "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland"; in the popular novel "Watership Down," by Richard Adams (which has also been made into a movie) and in Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit stories.

Rabbits are also the subject of one of the first children's stories "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams, as well as the Little Golden Books story "The Lively LIttle Rabbit". They also appear as Rabbids in the Ubisoft game "Rayman Raving Rabbids" and "Rayman Raving Rabbids 2". In the movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", there is the "Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog" which is killed by the "Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch".

Rabbits are featured in two episodes of "The Goodies" TV series, namely Invasion of the Moon Creatures and Animals.

The Pokémon franchise has also released two new rabbit Pokémon, Buneary and its evolution Lopunny.

The namesake of the Open Source film Big Buck Bunny is a large anthropomorphized rabbit terrorized by a trio of rodents.

The "Sonic the Hedgehog" video game series features the character Cream the Rabbit, daughter to Vanilla the Rabbit.

Branny, from the webcomic is light blue-colored rabbit.

Urban legends

It was commonly believed that pregnancy tests were based on the idea that a rabbit would die if injected with a pregnant woman's urine. This is not true. However, in the 1920s it was discovered that if the urine contained the hCG, a hormone found in the bodies of pregnant women, the rabbit would display ovarian changes. The rabbit would then be killed to have its ovaries inspected, but the death of the rabbit was not the indicator of the results. Later revisions of the test allowed technicians to inspect the ovaries without killing the animal. A similar test involved injecting Xenopus frogs to make them lay eggs, but animal assays for pregnancy have been made obsolete by faster, cheaper, and simpler modern methods.

ee also

*Domestic rabbit
*Dwarf rabbits
*European Rabbit
*House rabbit
*List of fictional rabbits
*Rabbit hopping
*Rabbits in Australia


External links

* [http://www.arba.net/ American Rabbit Breeders Association] an organization which promotes all phases of rabbit keeping.
* [http://www.rabbit.org/ House Rabbit Society] an activist organization which promotes keeping rabbits indoors.
* [http://www.rabbitshows.com/ RabbitShows.com] an informational site on the hobby of showing rabbits.
* [http://www.muridae.com/rabbits/rabbittalk.html The (mostly) silent language of rabbits]
* [http://world-rabbit-science.org/ World Rabbit Science Association] an international rabbit-health science-based organization.

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Игры ⚽ Поможем написать реферат
(Lepus cuniculus)

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Rabbit — Rab bit (r[a^]b b[i^]t), n. [OE. rabet, akin to OD. robbe, robbeken.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any of the smaller species of the genus Lepus, especially the common European species ({Lepus cuniculus}), which is often kept as a pet, and has been introduced into …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Rabbit — (englisch für Kaninchen) ist die Bezeichnung für: Rabbit (Algorithmus), eine Stromverschlüsselung Rabbit (Film), einen animierten Kurzfilm Rabbit Junk, eine US amerikanischen Band den VW Golf der ersten Generation in den Vereinigten Staaten… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • rabbit — (n.) late 14c., young of the coney, from French dialect (Cf. Walloon robète), dim. of Flemish or M.Du. robbe rabbit, of unknown origin. A Germanic noun with a French suffix [Liberman]. The adult was a CONEY (Cf. coney) (q.v.) until 18c.… …   Etymology dictionary

  • rabbit — • (rabbit and pork) • Rhyming Slang for talk . Used in it s short form. Popularized by the classic(?) Chas & Dave song Rabbit rabbit(?) . The phrase You ve got more rabbit than Sainsbury s also comes from the song. Normally applied to someone who …   Londonisms dictionary

  • rabbit — [rab′it] n. pl. rabbits or rabbit [ME rabette, young of the cony, prob. < MFr dial. rabotte < MDu robbe, Fl robbe] 1. any of various swift, burrowing mammals (order Lagomorpha), smaller than most hares and characterized by soft fur, long… …   English World dictionary

  • Rabbit — (Аджерола,Италия) Категория отеля: Адрес: Via S. Lorenzo I° Trav. 8/B, 80051 Аджерола, Италия …   Каталог отелей

  • Rabbit — est le nom d un robot développé par le CNRS dans le cadre du projet ROBEA, qui s arrêta en novembre 2004. Rabbit fut conçu pour étudier les problèmes suivants : Rôle de la gravité dans la marche Effet des impacts avec le sol Commutation des… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • rabbit — ► NOUN 1) a burrowing plant eating mammal, with long ears and a short tail. 2) N. Amer. a hare. 3) the fur of the rabbit. 4) informal a poor performer in a sport or game. ► VERB (rabbited, rabbiting) 1) …   English terms dictionary

  • Rabbit — (engl.), s. Welsh rabbit …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • rabbit — The verb (= hunt rabbits or, usually as rabbit on = talk excessively) has inflected forms rabbited, rabbiting …   Modern English usage

  • rabbit — см. Приложение 1 (Oryctolagus cuniculus). (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

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