You have likely heard the terms “rabbit” and “bunny” throughout your life, and people frequently use them interchangeably, which might make you wonder if they really mean the same thing. But there is no difference between a rabbit and a bunny, though some people might only say “bunny” to refer to a baby rabbit. Keep reading as we look at both terms and their history and provide several other interesting facts about these critters.
Bunny or Rabbit?
A rabbit is the proper name for several small mammals in the Leporidae family, which also contains the hare. Before the 18th century, people called an adult rabbit a “coney”, and their children were “rabbits”. Today, we call the adults “rabbits” and their children “kits” or “kittens,” though some people just call them all bunnies, especially if they are small and cute. “Bunny” is also a popular children’s term for a rabbit in general.
Other terminology includes the following:
What Do Rabbits Eat?
Rabbits have a diet consisting solely of plant material, as their digestive system is perfect for breaking down fibrous vegetation. They primarily consume grass, hay, leafy greens, and vegetables. You will often find them in gardens, and in some places, they are considered pests.
How Do Rabbits Communicate?
Rabbits communicate through various behaviors, including body language, scent marking, and vocalizations. Upright ears usually indicate alertness and curiosity, while flattened or backward-facing ears may suggest fear or aggression. The position of the tail can also convey a rabbit’s emotions. For example, a raised and relaxed tail indicates contentment, while a tucked or vibrating tail may show fear or aggression.
Are Rabbits Prolific Breeders?
Yes, rabbits earn their reputation for having a high reproductive capacity. Females can start reproducing as early as 4 to 6 months of age, and they have a relatively short gestation period of around 31 days, enabling them to produce multiple litters in a year. A single litter can have 6–10 kits, depending on the size of the mother rabbit. Therefore, if you’re a rabbit owner, it’s important to consider responsible breeding practices to prevent overpopulation.
Can Rabbits Jump Far?
Rabbits have amazing agility and jumping abilities. They have strong hind legs that enable them to leap high and far to escape predators or access food sources. They can often jump as high as 3 feet and as far as 9 feet when in danger.
Do Rabbits Make Good Pets?
Yes, rabbits can make wonderful pets for the right individuals. They are intelligent and form strong bonds with their owners. However, rabbits do require significant attention, space, and proper care, like any pet. They also have specific needs, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and social interaction, so it’s important to consider whether you can provide that care for several years before purchasing a rabbit.
How Long Do Rabbits Live?
The lifespan of rabbits can vary depending on factors like breed, genetics, diet, and overall care. most pet rabbits live 5–12 years, though some may live longer. Providing a healthy environment, regular veterinary check-ups, and a balanced diet can contribute to your rabbit’s longevity and will also help them be more comfortable.
Can I Keep Rabbits Outdoors?
You can keep rabbits outdoors by providing them with a secure and predator-proof enclosure that offers protection from extreme weather conditions. They also need sufficient space to exercise and explore and regular interaction with their human caregivers.
There is no difference between a rabbit and a bunny. The word “rabbit” is the animal’s actual name, while “bunny” is more of a nickname that children use, though some people refer to kits as bunnies. Rabbits make popular pets and can be fun to play with, especially if you have the room to let them explore. If you are limited on space indoors but have a large yard, you can set up an outdoor habitat to keep them safe and comfortable.
Featured Image Credit: Pablo Martinez, Unsplash