The European rabbit (''Oryctolagus cuniculus'') or coney
is a species of rabbit
native to the Iberian Peninsula
, and southwestern France
). It has been widely introduced elsewhere, often with devastating effects on local biodiversity
. However, its decline in its native range (caused by the diseases myxomatosis
and rabbit calicivirus
, as well as overhunting and habitat loss), has caused the decline of its highly dependent predators, the Iberian lynx
(''Lynx pardinus'') and the Spanish imperial eagle
(''Aquila adalberti''). It is known as an invasive species
because it has been introduced to countries on all continents with the exception of Antarctica, and has caused many problems within the environment and ecosystems; in particular, European rabbits in Australia
have had a devastating impact, due in part to the lack of natural predators there.
The European rabbit is well known for digging networks of burrow
s, called warrens, where it spends most of its time when not feeding. Unlike the related hare
s (''Lepus'' spp.), rabbits are altricial
, the young being born blind and furless, in a fur-lined nest in the warren, and they are totally dependent upon their mother. Much of the modern research into wild rabbit behaviour was carried out in the 1960s by two research centres. One was the naturalist Ronald Lockley
, who maintained a number of large enclosures for wild rabbit colonies, with observation facilities, in Orielton, Pembrokeshire
. Apart from publishing a number of scientific papers, he popularised his findings in a book ''The Private Life of the Rabbit'', which is credited by Richard Adams
as having played a key role in his gaining "a knowledge of rabbits and their ways" that informed his novel ''Watership Down
''. The other group was the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation
(CSIRO) in Australia
, where numerous studies of the social behavior of wild rabbits were performed. Since the onset of myxomatosis, and the decline of the significance of the rabbit as an agricultural pest, few large-scale studies have been performed and many aspects of rabbit behaviour are still poorly understood.
Naming and etymology
Because of its non-British origin, the species does not have native names in English
, with the usual terms "cony" and "rabbit" being foreign loanword
s. "Rabbit" is also pronounced as ''rabbidge'', ''rabbert'' (North Devon
) and ''rappit'' (Cheshire
). More archaic pronunciations include ''rabbette'' (15th-16th centuries), ''rabet'' (15th-17th centuries), ''rabbet'' (16th-18th centuries), ''rabatte'' (16th century), ''rabytt'' (17th century) and ''rabit'' (18th century). The root word
is the Walloon
''rabett'', which was once commonly used in Liège
. ''Rabett'' itself is derived from the Middle Dutch
''robbe'', with the addition of the suffix
The term "cony" or "coney" predates "rabbit", and first occurred during the 13th century to refer to the animal's pelt. Later, "cony" referred to the adult animal, while "rabbit" referred to the young. The root of "cony" is the old French
''connil'' or ''counil'', of which the Norman
plural was ''coniz'', and later ''conis''. Its forerunner is the Greek
κύνικλος, from which the Latin
''cuniculus'' is derived. The origin of κύνικλος itself is unclear: Ælian
, who lived during the 3rd century, linked the word to Celtiberian
and later authors relate it to its Basque
name ''unchi''; Varo
connected it to ''cuneus'', which refers to a wedge, thus making reference to the animal's digging ability.
The species' dwelling place is termed a warren or cony-garth. "Warren" comes from the Old English ''wareine'', itself derived from the Old French ''warenne'', ''varenne'', or ''garenne''. The root word is the Low Latin
''warenna'', which originally signified a preserve in general, only to be later used to refer specifically to an enclosure set apart for rabbits and hares.
"Cony-garth" derives from the Middle English
''conygerthe'', which may be a compound
of ''connynge''+''erthe'' (cony+earth). The term stems from the Old French ''conniniere'' or ''coninyere'', and later ''conilliere''. The root word is the Low Latin ''cunicularia'', the feminine form of the adjective
''cunicularius'', which pertains to the rabbit.
Though originally assigned to the genus
'', the European rabbit was consigned to its own genus in 1874, on account of its altricial
young, burrowing habits, and numerous skeletal characters.
The European rabbit is superficially similar to the North America
s, as both ''Oryctolagus'' and ''Sylvilagus'' are born blind and naked, have white flesh, and little sexual dimorphism
. However, the two differ in skull characteristics, and cottontails do not habitually construct their own burrows as the European rabbit does.
Molecular studies confirm that the resemblance between the two is due to convergent evolution
, and that the European rabbit's closest relatives are the hispid hare
, the riverine rabbit
and the Amami rabbit
The oldest known fossils attributed to the modern European rabbit species are around 0.5 Ma
old (Middle Pleistocene
is from Matthee et al., 2004, based on nuclear and mitochondrial gene analysis.
, six subspecies are recognised by MSW3. Genetic studies undertaken in 2008 however, indicate the presence of only two subspecies, ''O. c. algirus'' and ''O. c. cuniculus'', with a hybrid zone connecting the two populations in central Iberia.
The European rabbit is smaller than the European hare
and mountain hare
, and lacks black ear-tips, as well as having proportionately shorter legs.
An adult European rabbit can measure in length, and weigh . The hind foot measures in length, while the ears are long from the occiput
Size and weight varies according to food and habitat quality, with rabbits living on light soil with nothing but grass to feed on being noticeably smaller than specimens living on highly cultivated farm-lands with plenty of roots and clover. Pure European rabbits weighing and upwards are uncommon, but are occasionally reported. One large specimen, caught in February 1890 in Lichfield
, was weighed at .
Unlike the brown hare, the male European rabbit is more heavily built than the female.
is short, and lacks a baculum
and true glans
The fur of the European rabbit is generally greyish-brown, but this is subject to much variation. The guard hair
s are banded brown and black, or grey, while the nape
of the neck and scrotum
are reddish. The chest patch is brown, while the rest of the underparts are white or grey. A white star shape is often present on kits' foreheads, but rarely occurs in adults. The whiskers
are long and black, and the feet are fully furred and buff-coloured.
The tail has a white underside, which becomes prominent when escaping danger. This may act as a signal for other rabbits to run.
occurs once a year, beginning in March on the face and spreading over the back. The underfur is completely replaced by October–November.
The European rabbit exhibits great variation in colour, from light sandy, to dark grey and completely black. Such variation depends largely on the amount of guard hairs relative to regular pelage. Melanist
s are not uncommon in mainland Europe
, though albino
es are rare.
Life history and behaviour
thumb|Entrances to a rabbit warren
Social and territorial behaviours
The European rabbit lives in warrens that contain 2-10 other individuals living in smaller groups to ensure greater breeding success. Territoriality
and aggression contribute greatly to the rabbits' maturation process, and help ensure survival of the population.
Females tend to be more territorial than males, although the areas most frequented by females are not defended.
Territories are marked with dung hills. The size of the species' home range
varies according to habitat, food, shelter, cover from predators, and breeding sites, though it is generally small, encompassing about 0.3-0.7 hectare
s. Except during times of low rabbit density and abundance of high-quality food, male ranges tend to be larger than those held by females. The European rabbit rarely strays far from its burrow: when feeding on cultivated fields, it typically only moves 25 metres away from its burrow, and rarely 50 metres. It may however move as far as 500 metres after an abrupt change in environment, such as a harvest
. This behaviour may be an anti-predator adaptation, as rabbits in areas where predators are under rigorous control may move three times further from their burrows than those in areas without predator management.
The European rabbit is a gregarious animal, which lives in stable social groups centred around females sharing access to one or more burrow systems. However, social structures tend to be looser in areas where burrow construction is relatively easy. Dominance hierarchies
exist in parallel for both bucks and does. Among bucks, status is determined through access to does, with dominant bucks siring the majority of the colony's offspring. The dominant does have priority access to the best nesting sites, with competition over such sites often leading to serious injury or death. Subordinate does, particularly in large colonies, typically resort to using single-entrance breeding spots far from the main warren, thus making themselves vulnerable to fox
Reproduction and development
In the European rabbit's mating system
, dominant bucks exhibit polygyny
, whereas lower-status individuals (both bucks and does) often form monogamous
breeding relationships. Rabbits signal their readiness to copulate by marking other animals and inanimate objects with an odoriferous substance secreted though a chin gland, in a process known as "chinning". Though male European rabbits may sometimes be amicable with one another, fierce fights can erupt among bucks during the breeding season
typically January to August. A succession of litters (usually 3-7 kittens each) are produced, but in overpopulated areas, pregnant does may lose all their embryo
s through intrauterine resorption.
Shortly before giving birth, the doe will construct a separate burrow known as a "stop" or "stab", generally in an open field away from the main warren. These breeding burrows are typically a few feet long and are lined with grass and moss as well as fur plucked from the doe's belly. The breeding burrow protects the kittens from adult bucks as well as from predators.
The gestation period
of the European rabbit is 30 days,
with the sex ratio
of male to female kittens tending to be 1:1. Greater maternal investment over male offspring may result in higher birth weight
s for bucks.
Kittens born to the dominant buck and doe—who enjoy better nesting and feeding grounds—tend to grow larger and stronger and to become more dominant than kittens born to subordinate rabbits.
It is not uncommon for European rabbits to mate again immediately after giving birth, with some specimens having been observed to nurse previous young whilst pregnant.
Female European rabbits nurse their kittens once a night, for only a few minutes. After suckling is complete, the doe seals the entrance to the stop with soil and vegetation. In its native Iberian and southern French range, European rabbit kittens have a growth rate
of per day, though such kittens in non-native ranges may grow per day. Weight at birth is and increases to by 21–25 days, during the weaning
European rabbit kittens are born blind, deaf, and nearly naked. The ears do not gain the power of motion until 10 days of age, and can be erected after 13. The eyes open 11 days after birth.
At 18 days, the kittens begin to leave the burrow. Sexual maturity
in bucks is attained at four months, while does can begin to breed at three to five months.
The European rabbit's burrows occur mostly on slopes and banks, where drainage
is more efficient. The burrow entrances are typically 10–50 cm in diameter,
and are easily recognisable by the bare earth at their mouths. Vegetation growth is prevented by the constant passing and repassing of the resident rabbits. Big burrows are complex excavations which may descend to depths of several feet. They are not constructed on any specified plan, and appear to be enlarged or improved as a result of the promiscuous activity of several generations. Digging is done by pulling the soil backwards with the forefeet and throwing it between the hind legs, which scatter the material with kicking motions. While most burrows are dug from the outside, some warrens feature holes dug from the inside which act as emergency exits when escaping from predators below ground. These holes usually descend perpendicularly to 3–4 feet, and their mouths lack the bare earth characteristic of burrow entrances. While kittens sleep in chambers lined with grass and fur, adults sleep on the bare earth, likely in order to prevent damp, with warmth being secured by huddling
Although both sexes dig, does do so more skillfully, and for longer periods.
The European rabbit is usually a silent animal, though it has at least two vocalisations. The most well known is a high treble scream or squeal.
This distress call has been likened to the cry of a piglet.
This sound is uttered when in extreme distress, such as being caught by a predator or trap.
During the spring, bucks express contentment by emitting grunting sounds when approaching other rabbits. These grunts are similar to shrill hiccup
s, and are emitted with the mouth closed. Aggression is expressed with a low growl.
The European rabbit's ideal habitat consists of short grasslands with secure refuge (such as burrows, boulders, hedgerows, scrub and woodland) near feeding areas. It may dwell up to treeline
, as long as the land is well drained and shelter is available. The size and distribution of its burrow systems depend on the type of soil
present: in areas with loose soil, it selects sites with supporting structures, such as tree roots or shrubs in order to prevent burrow collapse. Warrens tend to be larger and have more interconnected tunnels in areas with chalk
than those in sand. In large coniferous plantations, the species only occurs on peripheral areas and along fire breaks and rides.
The European rabbit eats a wide variety of herbage
, especially grass
es, favouring the young, succulent leaves and shoots of the most nutritious species, particularly fescue
s. In mixed cultivated areas, winter wheat
is preferred over maize
s. During the summer period, the European rabbit feeds on the shortest, and therefore less nutritious grass swards, thus indicating that grazing grounds are selected through anti-predator considerations rather than maximising food intake. In times of scarcity, the rabbit increases its food intake, selecting the parts of the plant with the highest nitrogen
Hungry rabbits in winter may resort to eating tree bark
are also eaten, and captive-bred European rabbits have been fed on fodder
consisting of furze
s, which can lead to considerable weight gain.
The European rabbit is a less fussy eater than the brown hare: when eating root vegetable
s, the rabbit eats them whole, while the hare tends to leave the peel.
Depending on the body's fat and protein reserves, the species can survive without food in winter for about 2–8 days.
, cases are known of rabbits eating snail
Like other leporids, the European rabbit produces soft, mucus-covered faecal pellets, which are ingested directly from the anus
The soft pellets are produced posterior to the colon
in the hind-gut
soon after the excretion of hard pellets and the stomach begins to fill with newly-grazed food. The soft pellets are filled with protein
, and pass down to the rectum in glossy clusters. The rabbit swallows them whole, without perforating the enveloping membrane.
The European rabbit is prey to many different predatory species. Fox
s and dog
s kill both adult and young rabbits by stalking and surprising them in the open. However, relatively few rabbits are caught this way, as rabbits can quickly rush back to cover with a burst of speed. Further, evidence from a study in Spain suggests they may avoid areas where the recent scat
of predators which have eaten rabbit is detected. Both foxes and badger
s will dig out kittens from shallow burrows, with the latter predators being too slow to catch adult rabbits. Both wild
and domestic cat
s will stalk and leap upon rabbits, particularly young specimens leaving their burrows for the first time.
Wildcats take rabbits according to availability: in eastern Scotland, where rabbits are abundant, they can comprise over 90% of the wildcats' diet.
Most domestic cats are incapable of killing healthy, full-grown adults, but will take weak and diseased ones. Does can be fiercely protective of their kittens, having been observed to chase away large cats and mustelid
s, including ferret
s and weasel
s. However, rabbits typically run from mustelids, and may fear them innately. Cases are known of rabbits becoming paralysed with fear and dying when pursued by stoats or weasels, even when rescued unharmed.
It is known that the European rabbit comprises 85% of the polecat
's diet, and its availability is important to the success of breeding female mink
s can be a serious threat to kittens, as they will reside in rabbit burrows during the summer, and attack them in groups.
Although many birds of prey
are capable of killing rabbits, few are strong enough to carry them. Large species, such as golden
and sea eagle
s, may carry rabbits back to their nests, while small eagles, buzzard
s and harrier
s struggle to do so. Hawk
s and owl
s typically only carry off very small kittens.
Diseases and parasites
The European rabbit is the only species fatally attacked by myxomatosis
. The most lethal strain has a five day incubation period, after which the eyelids swell, with the inflammation quickly spreading to the base of the ears, the forehead and nose. At the same time, the anal and genital area also swells. During the last stages of the disease, the swellings discharge a fluid rich in viral material, with death usually following on the 11th-12th day of infection.
In Britain, the primary carrier of myxomatosis is the flea ''Spilopsyllus cuniculi
'', while in Australia it is mosquito
es. Rabbit haemorrhagic disease
(RHD), also known as viral haemorrhagic disease (VHD) or rabbit calicivirus disease in Australia, is specific to the European rabbit, and causes lesions of acute necrotising hepatitis
, disseminated intravascular coagulation, and haemorrhaging, mainly in the lungs. Susceptible specimens may die within 30 hours of infection. Most rabbits in the UK are immune to RHD, due to exposure to a weaker strain.
Human relationship with rabbits
Recent research has shown that all European rabbits carry common genetic markers and descend from one of two maternal lines. These lines originated between 12,000 and 6.5 million years ago when glaciers isolated two herds; one on the Iberian Peninsula
and the other in Southern France
. It can be surmised that humans began hunting rabbits as a food source, but further research needs to be done to verify this. Little comprehensive evidence of the relationship of humans with European rabbits is documented until the medieval period.
Humans' relationship with the European rabbit was first recorded by the Phoenicians prior to 1000 BC
, when they termed the Iberian Peninsula
''i-Shaphan-ím'' (literally, the land of the hyraxes
). This phrase closely resembles related modern Hebrew
: ''I'' (אי) meaning island and ''shafan'' (שפן) meaning hyrax, plural ''shfaním'' (שפנים). Phoenicians called the local rabbits 'hyraxes' because rabbits resemble hyraxes in some ways, and hyraxes are native to Phoenicia
, unlike rabbits. Hyraxes, like rabbits, are not rodents. One theory states that the Romans converted the phrase ''i-Shaphan-ím'', with influence from the Greek ''Spania'', to its Latin form, ''Hispania
'', which evolved in all the Iberian languages: into Castilian ''España'', Portuguese ''Espanha'', Catalan ''Espanya'' (English "Spain"), and such other variations in modern languages. The precise meaning of ''shafan'' remains unclear, but the balance of opinion appears to indicate that the hyrax is indeed the intended meaning.
Like the Phoenicians, neither the later Greek
colonizers had a specific name for the rabbit, because the species is not native to Greece
(though it is present there nowadays). They commonly called it "small hare" and "small digging hare", in contrast to the European hare
, which is larger and doesn't make burrows. Catullus
used the name ''cuniculus'' (a latinization of the Iberian
word ''kiniklos'' and the etymological origin of the Castilian name ''conejo'', Portuguese ''coelho'' and Catalan ''conill'', and the old English name, ''coney''), and referenced its abundance in Celtiberia
by calling this region ''cuniculosa'', i.e. rabbit-ridden.
[López Seoane, V. (1861) ''Fáuna Mastológica de Galicia, ó historia natural de los mamíferos de este antiguo Reino, aplicada á la medicina, á la agricultura, á la industria, á las artes y al comercio.'' Manuel Mirás, 544 pages.] [Blázquez, J.M. (1975) ''La romanización.'' Ediciones Akal, 437 pages.]
The European rabbit is the only rabbit species that has been domesticated and all 305 global rabbit breeds
— from Netherland Dwarf
to Flemish Giant
— are descendants of the European rabbit. Rabbits are an example of an animal that can be treated as a food, a pet, or a pest by different members of the same culture. In some urban areas, infestations of feral European rabbits (descended from pets) have become a problem. Helsinki
, for example, host to one of the northernmost populations of the species, had an estimated 2,500 European rabbits at the end of 2006, doubling to 5,000 by autumn 2007. In Iceland, populations of ''O. cuniculus'' are found in urban Reykjavik
as well as in the Vestmannaeyjar
archipelago. In Finland, the introduced European rabbit vies with the native lagomorphs: the European hare
and the mountain hare
As an introduced species
The European rabbit has been introduced as an exotic species
into several environments, often with harmful results to vegetation and local wildlife, making it an invasive species
. The first known mention of the rabbit as an invasive species (and possibly the first documented instance of an invasive species ever) was made in regard to the introduction of the rabbit to the Balearic Islands
after the Roman conquest
of the 1st century BCE. According to both Strabo
and Pliny the Elder
, the multiplying rabbits caused famines by destroying crop yields and even collapsed trees and houses with their burrowing. The inhabitants petitioned Augustus
for help, who sent troops to curb the rabbit population with the help of ferret
Other locations where the European rabbit was introduced include: Great Britain
(by the Romans following their invasion in AD 43); the Hawaiian Islands of Laysan Island
(in 1903) and Lisianski Island
; Oceania's Macquarie Island
; Washington state's Smith Island
and San Juan Island
(around 1900 and later spreading to the other San Juan Islands); several islands off the coast of Southern Africa
(including Robben Island
); as well as Australia
and New Zealand
. There are two conflicting accounts over the introduction of rabbits in Ukraine
. One holds that the species was brought there in the early 20th century by the Austrian nobleman Graf
Malokhovsky, who released them on his estate near the Khadzhibey Estuary
, while another holds that rabbits were first brought to Kherson
in 1894-1895 by the landowner Pinkovsky.
In the British Isles
The European rabbit is widespread in both Great Britain
and most islands, except for Isles of Scilly
, and some small Scottish islands, such as Gunna
, and most of the Treshnish Isles
It was likely first brought to Britain by the Normans
after the 1066 conquest of England
, as there are no pre-Norman British allusions to the animal. The rabbit was nonetheless scarce or absent throughout most of England a short time afterwards, as warrens are not mentioned in the Domesday Book
or any other 11th century documents. Rabbits became well known, but not necessarily accepted members of British fauna between the 12th-13th centuries, with the first real evidence of their presence consisting of a number of bones from the midden
of Rayleigh Castle
, which was occupied from the 11th-13th centuries. The first references to rabbits in Ireland
occur roughly at the same time as English ones, thus indicating another Norman introduction. They had become plentiful, probably at a local level, by the 13th century, as indicated by an inquisition of Lundy Island
made in 1274 describing how 2,000 rabbits were caught annually. Subsequent allusions in official documents became more frequent, with the species later becoming an important food item in feasts.
Increases in truly wild populations occurred slowly, primarily in the coastal areas and lowland heaths of Breckland
. Notable population increases occurred after 1750, when changes in agricultural practices created favourable habitat, and increasing interest in game management resulted in intensive predator control campaigns.
Although now common in the Scottish lowlands, the species was little known in Scotland
before the 19th century. Until then, it was confined to portions of the Edinburgh
district at least as far back as the 16th century, certain islands and the coastal sand dune
s of the Scottish mainland. Although unknown in Caithness
in 1743, the species became well established there by 1793.
entered Britain from France in 1953, and reached Ireland by 1954,
prompting the RSPB
to set up "Mercy Squads" meant to euthanise myxomatous rabbits.
Major myxomatosis outbreaks still occur in Britain, peaking twice annually in during spring and especially in the late summer or autumn periods, though immunity
has reduced the mortality rate
from 99% to 5-33%.
Twenty-four specimens of the European rabbit were introduced to Australia
in 1859 by estate owner Thomas Austin
. Their descendants multiplied and spread throughout the country thanks to the lack of natural predators, a conducive habitat (provided by widespread farming), and the mild Australian winters that allowed year-round breeding. Australia's native equivalent, the bilby
, was quickly pushed out by the invasive rabbit. (The bilbies are endangered, but are now making a comeback due to government protection.) Between 1901 and 1907, Australia built an immense "rabbit-proof fence
" to halt the westward expansion of the infestation. The European rabbit, however, can not only jump very high but also burrow underground, making fencing essentially futile. During the 1950s, the intentional introduction of a virus, ''Myxomatosis cuniiculi
'', provided some relief in Australia, but not in New Zealand, where the insect vector
s necessary for the spread of the disease were not present. Myxomatosis can also infect pet rabbits (the same species). Today's remaining feral rabbits in Australia are largely immune to myxomatosis. A second deadly rabbit virus, rabbit hemorrhagic disease
(RHD), has been cleared in Australia as a biological control
agent and has already killed millions of the European rabbits there. RHD was also introduced—illegally— in New Zealand with less success due to improper timing.
The exact date on which the European rabbit was introduced into Chile
is unknown, though the first references to it occur during the mid-18th century. By the 19th century, several authors referred to the presence of both rabbits and rabbit hutches in central Chile. The importation and breeding of rabbits was encouraged by the State, as rabbits were seen as cheap sources of food for peasants. Whether or not their escape into the wild was intentional is unknown, however, warnings over the dangers of feral rabbits were raised during the early 20th century, and the species had propagated dramatically by the late 1920s in central Chile, Tierra del Fuego
, and the Juan Fernández Islands
. In the 1930s, the State sought to tackle the rabbit problem by banning fox hunting, though it was later discovered that indigenous South American fox
es rarely preyed on rabbits, preferring native species. In modern times, the European rabbit problem has not been resolved definitively, though a deliberate outbreak of myxomatosis in Tierra del Fuego successfully reduced local rabbit populations. The species remains a problem in central Chile and on Juan Fernández, despite international financing.
The only rabbit to be widely domesticated
is the European rabbit, which has been extensively domesticated for food or as a pet
. It was first widely kept in ancient Rome
, where fetal rabbits were known as ''laurices
'' and considered a delicacy, and has been refined into a wide variety of breeds
during and since the Middle Ages
Domesticated rabbits have mostly been bred to be much larger than wild rabbits, though selective breeding
has produced a range sizes from "dwarf" to "giant", which are kept as food animals and pets across the world. They have as much color variation among themselves as other livestock and pet animals. Their fur is prized for its softness; today, Angora rabbits
are raised for their long, soft fur, which is often spun into yarn. Other breeds are raised for the fur industry, particularly the Rex
, which has a smooth, velvet
-like coat and comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes.
Meat and fur
In the United Kingdom, rabbit was a popular food source for the poorer classes. Among wild rabbits, those native to Spain were reputed to have the highest meat quality, followed by those in the Ardennes
. As rabbits hold very little fat, they were hardly ever roasted, being instead boiled, fried or stewed.
The pelt of the rabbit is heavier and more durable than the hare's.
[Petersen, Marcus (1914), ] Marshall
The fur traders, and fur bearing animals
', Buffalo : Hammond Press, p. 291
calculated that the value of the skin in proportion to the carcass was greater than that of the sheep
Its fur is primarily used for felt
ing or hat
s. It is also dyed or clipped, and sold as imitations of more valuable furbearers, such as fur seal
. Although cheap and easily acquired, rabbit fur has little durability.
Though the European rabbit thrives in many of the locations where it was introduced, in its native Iberia, populations are dwindling. In 2005, the Portuguese Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests
(ICNB) classified ''Oryctolagus cuniculus'' in Portugal as "Near Threatened",
while in 2006, Spanish authorities (SECEM) reclassified it in Spain as "Vulnerable".
In 2018, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature
(IUCN) reclassified ''Oryctolagus cuniculus'' in Spain, Portugal and France as "Endangered", due to the extent of recent declines. However, Worldwide, the species is Near Threatened.
* Cuniculture, on the practice of breeding and raising the domesticated version of the ''European rabbit''
* List of breeds of the domesticated version of the ''European rabbit''
* View th
Category:Rabbits and hares
Category:Mammals described in 1758
Category:Fauna of Gibraltar
Category:Mammals of Europe
Category:Mammals of North Africa
Category:Taxa named by Carl Linnaeus