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The domestic rabbit, Oryctotagus cuniculus, is a descendant of wild rabbits living in western Europe and northern Africa In their natural environment, rabbits are gregarious and reproductively successful. They are completely herbivorous (eat only plants) and most actively forage in the twilight or nighttime hours. Rabbits use their claws to dig and burrow into the ground for shelter and protection. They rarely stand their ground when threatened but instead use their considerable speed and maneuverability to escape harm. Domestic rabbits or wild rabbits kept in captivity, however, can display an amazing degree of aggression when upset or threatened.

Domestic rabbits are bred and kept for commercial meat and fur, teaching and research, as indoor and outdoor pets, and for exhibition by rabbit fanciers. Rabbits make excellent pets. They are relatively easy to care, healthy, generally disease free, and can be litterbox-trained. Their fastidious nature, unaggressive behavior and quiet manner make them increasingly popular house pets. Rabbits live an average of 5-10 years (potential life span, 15 years). Males reach breeding age at 6-10 months of age, and females at 5-9 months of age. Pregnancy lasts 29-35 days (average of 32 days) and litters average 10 bunnies.

Rabbit Physiologic Values:

  • Normal Body Temperature:  101.5-103 F
  • Life Span:   5-10 years (rarely up to 15 years)
  • Breeding Age:   Males, 6-10 months; females, 5-9 months
  • Pregnancy:   29-35 days
  • Litter Size:   4-10
  • Weaning Age:   4-6 weeks