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Bunny vs. Rabbit: What’s the Difference? (With Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove

You hear “bunny” and “rabbit” interchanged all the time within the rabbit community. Is there a difference between the two, and are you correct if you call any rabbit a bunny? This article will hash out the differences between a bunny and a rabbit so you know for sure what you should be calling that cute, fuzzy animal.

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What Is a Rabbit?

Rabbit in Yellow Background
Image: David Mark from Pixabay

A rabbit is a small mammal from the Leporidae family. When someone says rabbit, most people think of an adult rabbit. When referring to them in written form, rabbit is the correct term to use in formal writing.

There are many breeds of rabbits, which include wild and domesticated. Some refer to rabbits as rodents, which is not correct since they have been classified in different families since 1912. Rabbits have an extra pair of incisors and different skeletal features.

Rabbits can be raised for their fur or meat, as a family pet, for research, and as a show animal. Rabbits have been domesticated since the Middle Ages, and all domesticated breeds have evolved from the European rabbit. You will find that rabbits can exhibit a wide array of colors, markings, and body types depending on their breed.


What Is a Bunny?

bunny in one hand
Image: Simona Robová from Pixabay

A bunny is another name for a rabbit, but it specifically refers to a young or baby rabbit. It is not a scientific name and was traditionally used as a term of endearment for a young girl that evolved into the meaning related to a rabbit.

When you hear the word bunny, you visualize a cute and fuzzy creature that needs cuddles and hugs. Also, using the term “Easter Bunny “is generally more acceptable than “Easter Rabbit” because “bunny” tells you that it is a cute creature that will be delivering eggs and other treats to your children. The cartoon character Bugs Bunny is obviously not a young rabbit, but in order for the character to appeal to a young audience, it was in their best interest to include bunny in his name.

The correct term for a baby rabbit is a kit or a kitten. But if you use bunny, everyone will understand what you are referring to.

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Conclusion

Next time you see a rabbit, remember that you shouldn’t call it a bunny unless it is a young rabbit. However, most people probably won’t become upset if you accidentally call their adult rabbit a bunny, especially if you are saying that because you think it is cute and cuddly.


Featured Images: Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto and Rebekka D  from Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.