European Rabbit

Jeff Foott/DCI

Domesticated rabbits are derived from this species of lagomorph.

It lives in colonies and is frequently found sharing multichambered burrows with several individuals.

It feeds on grasses, weeds, buds, sprouts, and, in winter, bark.

When alarmed, it loudly thumps the ground with its hind foot to warn of approaching danger.

The young are born in a special burrow lined with soft fur and located away from the rest of the colony.

Originally from North Africa and Spain, the species was introduced in Europe in ancient times, and more recently elsewhere around the world, especially Australia and New Zealand, where it is considered an agricultural pest.

Animal Facts

Name: European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)

Family: Leporidae (Hares and Rabbits)

Range: Europe and throughout world

Habitat: Woodland to grassland and sandy, scrubby areas

Diet: Grass, herbs, twigs, and bark

Head and Body Length: 14 to 18 inches (35 to 45 cm)

Tail Length: 2 to 3 inches (4 to 7 cm)

Weight: 3 to 5 pounds (1 to 2 kg)

Life Cycle: Mating usually December to May, may be year-round; gestation 28 to 33 days, three to nine young born; usually three or four litters per year

Description: Brown fur mixed with black hair; buff between shoulders, around eyes and under limbs; long, black-tipped ears; white hair underneath tail

Conservation Status: Common