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Animal of the week...25

Rabbits are small mamals in the Leoporidae family and are found in many parts of the world. This family includes well eight different genera of rabbits, such as European rabbit and cottontail rabbit.

Rabbit's habitat can be represented by meadows, forests, grasslands, deserts or wetlands. In each of theese landscapes, evolution has created a more adapted rabbit specie which can better survive in it, featured by own DNA genotype and phenotype. In their habitat, rabbits live in groups, and the best known specie, the European rabbit, digs underground burrows. 

Because the rabbit's epiglottis is engaged over the soft palate except when swallowing, the rabbit is an obbligate nasal breather. Rabbit have two incisal teeth, one behind the other. This way thay can be distinguished from rodents, with wich they are often confused. The rabbit's long ears, which can be more than 10 cm in long, could be an adaptation for detecting predators. They have large, powerful legs. The two front paws have 5 toes; the hind feet, instead, have just 4 toes.

Their size can range from 20cm in lenght to 50cm in weight. The fur is often soft and long, with color raging from shadows of brown, gray or bluff. The tail is a little plume of brownish fur ( white on topo for the cottontail rabbits).

Rabbits are herbivores and feed theselves with grass, forbs and leafy weeds. In consequence, their diet is very rich of cellulose, which is hard to digest. In this way, rabbits have solved the problem by passing of two distinct types of feces: hard dropping and soft black viscous pellets.

The latter of wich are known as caecotrophs: rabbits reingest teir own droppings to digest their food further and extract sufficient nutrients.

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