Rabbit

Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha (along with the hare and the pika). Oryctolagus cuniculus includes the European rabbit species and its descendants, the world's 305 breeds[1] of domestic rabbit. Sylvilagus includes 13 wild rabbit species, among them the 7 types of cottontail. The European rabbit, which has been introduced on every continent except Antarctica, is familiar throughout the world as a wild prey animal and as a domesticated form of livestock and pet. With its widespread effect on ecologies and cultures, the rabbit (or bunny) is, in many areas of the world, a part of daily life—as food, clothing, a companion, and as a source of artistic inspiration.

Rabbit
Temporal range: Late Eocene-Holocene, 53–0 Ma
Oryctolagus cuniculus Rcdo
Scientific classification
Kingdom:
Phylum:
Subphylum:
Class:
Order:
Family:
Leporidae
in part
Genera

Terminology

Male rabbits are called bucks; females are called does. An older term for an adult rabbit is coney, while rabbit once referred only to the young animals.[2] Another term for a young rabbit is bunny, though this term is often applied informally (especially by children) to rabbits generally, especially domestic ones. More recently, the term kit or kitten has been used to refer to a young rabbit.

A group of rabbits is known as a colony or nest (or, occasionally, a warren, though this more commonly refers to where the rabbits live).[3] A group of baby rabbits produced from a single mating is referred to as a litter,[4] and a group of domestic rabbits living together is sometimes called a herd.[5]

Taxonomy

Rabbits and hares were formerly classified in the order Rodentia (rodent) until 1912, when they were moved into a new order, Lagomorpha (which also includes pikas). Below are some of the genera and species of the rabbit.

BRACHYLAGUS IDAHOENSIS

Brachylagus Idahoensis
Pygmy rabbit

Sumatran Striped Rabbit Recontruction

Nesolagus netscheri
Sumatran Striped Rabbit
(Model)

Oryctolagus cuniculus Tasmania 2

Oryctolagus cuniculus
European rabbit
(Feral Tasmanian specimen)

Amami rabbit Stuffed specimen

Pentalagus furnessi
Amami rabbit
(Taxidermy specimen)

Taxidermied romerolagus diazi

Romerolagus diazi
Volcano rabbit
(Taxidermy specimen)

Southern swamp rabbit baby

Sylvilagus aquaticus
Swamp rabbit
(Juvenile)

What's Up Doc

Sylvilagus audubonii
Desert cottontail

Sylvilagus bachmani 01035t

Sylvilagus bachmani
Brush rabbit

Sylvilagus brasiliensis meridensis (Sylvilagus meridensis) - Museo Civico di Storia Naturale Giacomo Doria - Genoa, Italy - DSC02875

Sylvilagus brasiliensis
Tapeti
(Taxidermy specimen)

Eastern Cottontail

Sylvilagus palustris
hefneri

Lower Keys
marsh rabbit

Order Lagomorpha
    Family Leporidae

Meyer Zeit-Vertreib 2 Tafel 032
Hare
Johann Daniel Meyer (1748)
Meyer Zeit-Vertreib 1 Tafel 083
Rabbit
Johann Daniel Meyer (1748)

Differences from hares

Hares are precocial, born relatively mature and mobile with hair and good vision, while rabbits are altricial, born hairless and blind, and requiring closer care. Hares (and cottontail rabbits) live a relatively solitary life in a simple nest above the ground, while most rabbits live in social groups underground in burrows or warrens. Hares are generally larger than rabbits, with ears that are more elongated, and with hind legs that are larger and longer. Hares have not been domesticated, while descendants of the European rabbit are commonly bred as livestock and kept as pets.

Domestication

Rabbits have long been domesticated. Beginning in the Middle Ages, the European rabbit has been widely kept as livestock, starting in ancient Rome. Selective breeding has generated a wide variety of rabbit breeds, many of which (since the early 19th century) are also kept as pets. Some strains of rabbit have been bred specifically as research subjects.

As livestock, rabbits are bred for their meat and fur. The earliest breeds were important sources of meat, and so became larger than wild rabbits, but domestic rabbits in modern times range in size from dwarf to giant. Rabbit fur, prized for its softness, can be found in a broad range of coat colors and patterns, as well as lengths. The Angora rabbit breed, for example, was developed for its long, silky fur, which is often hand-spun into yarn. Other domestic rabbit breeds have been developed primarily for the commercial fur trade, including the Rex, which has a short plush coat.

Biology

Evolution

Set of wax models showing development of the rabbit heart, twentieth century (24226156252)
Development of the rabbit heart
(wax models)

Because the rabbit's epiglottis is engaged over the soft palate except when swallowing, the rabbit is an obligate nasal breather. Rabbits have two sets of incisor teeth, one behind the other. This way they can be distinguished from rodents, with which they are often confused.[6] Carl Linnaeus originally grouped rabbits and rodents under the class Glires; later, they were separated as the scientific consensus is that many of their similarities were a result of convergent evolution. However, recent DNA analysis and the discovery of a common ancestor has supported the view that they do share a common lineage, and thus rabbits and rodents are now often referred to together as members of the superorder Glires.[7]

Morphology

Cmglee Horniman rabbit skin skeleton
Skeleton of the rabbit

Since speed and agility are a rabbit's main defenses against predators (including the swift fox), rabbits have large hind leg bones and well developed musculature. Though plantigrade at rest, rabbits are on their toes while running, assuming a more digitigrade form. Rabbits use their strong claws for digging and (along with their teeth) for defense.[8] Each front foot has four toes plus a dewclaw. Each hind foot has four toes (but no dewclaw).[9]

Wild black Oryctologus cuniculus
Melanistic coloring
Oryctologus cuniculus
European rabbit (wild)

Most wild rabbits (especially compared to hares) have relatively full, egg-shaped bodies. The soft coat of the wild rabbit is agouti in coloration (or, rarely, melanistic), which aids in camouflage. The tail of the rabbit (with the exception of the cottontail species) is dark on top and white below. Cottontails have white on the top of their tails.[10]

As a result of the position of the eyes in its skull, the rabbit has a field of vision that encompasses nearly 360 degrees, with just a small blind spot at the bridge of the nose.[11]

Hind limb elements

Rabbit hind limb skeleton
This image comes from a specimen in the Pacific Lutheran University natural history collection. It displays all of the skeletal articulations of rabbit's hind limbs.

The anatomy of rabbits' hind limbs are structurally similar to that of other land mammals and contribute to their specialized form of locomotion. The Bones of the hind limbs consist of long bones (the femur, tibia, fibula, and phalanges) as well as short bones (the tarsals). These bones are created through endochondral ossification during development.[12] Like most land mammals, the round head of the femur articulates with the acetabulum of the ox coxae. The femur articulates with the tibia, but not the fibula, which is fused to the tibia. The tibia and fibula articulate with the tarsals of the pes, commonly called the foot. The hind limbs of the rabbit are longer than the front limbs. This allows them to produce their hopping form of locomotion. Longer hind limbs are more capable of producing faster speeds. Hares, which have longer legs than cottontail rabbits, are able to move considerably faster.[13] Rabbits stay just on their toes when moving this is called Digitigrade locomotion. The hind feet have four long toes that allow for this and are webbed to prevent them from spreading when hopping.[14] Rabbits do not have paw pads on their feet like most other animals that use digitigrade locomotion. Instead, they have coarse compressed hair that offers protection.[15]

Musculature

Lateral view of rabbit hind limb
The rabbits hind limb (lateral view) includes muscles involved in the quadriceps and hamstrings.

Rabbits have muscled hind legs that allow for maximum force, maneuverability, and acceleration that is divided into three main parts; foot, thigh, and leg. The hind limbs of a rabbit are an exaggerated feature, that are much longer than the forelimbs providing more force. Rabbits run on their toes to gain the optimal stride during locomotion. The force put out by the hind limbs is contributed to both the structural anatomy of the fusion tibia and fibula, and muscular features.[16] Bone formation and removal, from a cellular standpoint, is directly correlated to hind limb muscles. Action pressure from muscles creates force that is then distributed through the skeletal structures. Rabbits that generate less force, putting less stress on bones are more prone to osteoporosis due to bone rarefaction.[17] In rabbits, the more fibers in a muscle, the more resistant to fatigue. For example, hares have a greater resistant to fatigue than cottontails. The muscles of rabbit's hind limbs can be classified into four main categories: hamstrings, quadriceps, dorsiflexors, or plantar flexors. The quadriceps muscles are in charge of force production when jumping. Complimenting these muscles are the hamstrings which aid in short bursts of action. These muscles play off of one another in the same way as the plantar flexors and doriflexors, contributing to the generation and actions associated with force.[18]

Ears

Within the order lagomorphs, the ears are utilized to detect and avoid predators. In the family leporidae, the ears are typically longer than they are wide. For example, in black tailed jack rabbits, their long ears cover a greater surface area relative to their body size that allow them to detect predators from far away. Contrasted to cotton tailed rabbits, their ears are smaller and shorter, requiring predators to be closer to detect them before fleeing. Evolution has favored rabbits to have shorter ears so the larger surface area does not cause them to lose heat in more temperate regions. The opposite can be seen in rabbits that live in hotter climates, mainly because they possess longer ears that have a larger surface area that help with dispersion of heat as well as the theory that sound does not travel well in more arid air, opposed to cooler air. Therefore, longer ears are meant to aid the organism in detecting prey sooner rather than later in warmer temperatures.[19] The rabbit is characterized by its shorter ears while hares are characterized by their longer ears.[20] Rabbits' ears are an important structure to aid thermoregulation and detect predators due to how the outer, middle, and inner ear muscles coordinate with one another. The ear muscles also aid in maintaining balance and movement when fleeing predators.[21]

Anatomy of mammalian ear

Outer ear

The Auricle (anatomy), also known as the pinna is a rabbit's outer ear.[22] The rabbit's body surface is mainly taken up by the pinnae. It is theorized that the ears aid in dispersion of heat at temperatures above 30 °C with rabbits in warmer climates having longer pinnae due to this. Another theory is that the ears function as shock absorbers that could aid and stabilize rabbit's vision when fleeing predators, but this has typically only been seen in hares.[23] The rest of the outer ear has bent canals that lead to the eardrum or tympanic membrane.[24]

Middle ear

The middle ear is filled with three bones called ossicles and is separated by the outer eardrum in the back of the rabbit's skull.The three ossicles are called hammer, anvil, and stirrup and act to decrease sound before it hits the inner ear. In general, the ossicles act as a barrier to the inner ear for sound energy.[24]

Inner ear

Inner ear fluid called endolymph receives the sound energy. After receiving the energy, later within the inner ear there are two parts: the cochlea that utilizes sound waves from the ossicles and the vestibular apparatus that manages the rabbit's position in regards to movement. Within the cochlea there is a basilar membrane that contains sensory hair structures utilized to send nerve signals to the brain so it can recognize different sound frequencies. Within the vestibular apparatus the rabbit possesses three semicircular canals to help detect angular motion.[24]

Thermoregulation

Thermoregulation is the process that an organism utilizes to maintain an optimal body temperature even if there are severe external conditions.[25] This process is carried out by the pinnae which takes up most of the rabbit's body surface and contain a vascular network and arteriovenous shunts.[26] In a rabbit, the optimal body temperature is around 38.5-40℃.[27] If their body temperature exceeds or does not meet this optimal temperature, the rabbit must return to homeostasis. Homeostasis of body temperature is maintained by the use of their large, highly vascularized ears that are able to change the amount of blood flow that passes through the ears.

Jack Rabbit (14398629508)
Rabbits use their large vascularized ears which aid in thermoregulation to keep their body temperature at an optimal level.

Constriction and dilation of blood vessels in the ears are used to control the core body temperature of a rabbit. If the core temperature exceeds its optimal temperature greatly, blood flow is constricted to limit the amount of blood going through the vessels. With this constriction, there is only a limited amount of blood that is passing through the ears where ambient heat would be able to heat the blood that is flowing through the ears and therefore, increasing the body temperature. Constriction is also used when the ambient temperature is much lower than that of the rabbit's core body temperature. When the ears are constricted it again limits blood flow through the ears to conserve the optimal body temperature of the rabbit. If the ambient temperature is either 15 degrees above or below the optimal body temperature, the blood vessels will dilate. With the blood vessels being enlarged, the blood is able to pass through the large surface area which causes it to either heat or cool down.

During the summer, the rabbit has the capability to stretch its pinnae which allows for greater surface area and increase heat dissipation. In the winter, the rabbit does the opposite and folds its ears in order to decrease its surface area to the ambient air which would decrease their body temperature.

Rabbit lungs
Ventral view of dissected rabbit lungs with key structures labeled. This image comes from a preserved dissection specimen provided by Pacific Lutheran University.

The jackrabbit has the largest ears within the Oryctolagus cuniculus group. Their ears contribute to 17% of their total body surface area. Their large pinna were evolved to maintain homeostasis while in the extreme temperatures of the desert.

Respiratory System

Rabbits do not possess septa within their lungs. Instead, the lungs are divided into lobes, which can be broken down into four sections: the cranial, middle, caudal, and accessory lobes. The right lung is made up of all four lobes, while the left lung only has two: the cranial and caudal lobes.[28] In order to provide space for the heart, the left cranial lobe of the lungs is significantly smaller than that of the right.[29] The diaphragm is a muscular structure that lies dorsal to the lungs and contracts to facilitate respiration.[30][29]

Digestion

Rabbits are herbivores that feed by grazing on grass, forbs, and leafy weeds. In consequence, their diet contains large amounts of cellulose, which is hard to digest. Rabbits solve this problem via a form of hindgut fermentation. They pass two distinct types of feces: hard droppings and soft black viscous pellets, the latter of which are known as caecotrophs or "night droppings" [31] and are immediately eaten (a behaviour known as coprophagy). Rabbits reingest their own droppings (rather than chewing the cud as do cows and numerous other herbivores) to digest their food further and extract sufficient nutrients.[32]

Rabbits graze heavily and rapidly for roughly the first half-hour of a grazing period (usually in the late afternoon), followed by about half an hour of more selective feeding. In this time, the rabbit will also excrete many hard fecal pellets, being waste pellets that will not be reingested. If the environment is relatively non-threatening, the rabbit will remain outdoors for many hours, grazing at intervals. While out of the burrow, the rabbit will occasionally reingest its soft, partially digested pellets; this is rarely observed, since the pellets are reingested as they are produced.

Video of a wild European rabbit with ears twitching and a jump

Hard pellets are made up of hay-like fragments of plant cuticle and stalk, being the final waste product after redigestion of soft pellets. These are only released outside the burrow and are not reingested. Soft pellets are usually produced several hours after grazing, after the hard pellets have all been excreted. They are made up of micro-organisms and undigested plant cell walls.

Rabbits are hindgut digesters. This means that most of their digestion takes place in their large intestine and cecum. In rabbits, the cecum is about 10 times bigger than the stomach and it along with the large intestine makes up roughly 40% of the rabbit's digestive tract.[33] The unique musculature of the cecum allows the intestinal tract of the rabbit to separate fibrous material from more digestible material; the fibrous material is passed as feces, while the more nutritious material is encased in a mucous lining as a cecotrope. Cecotropes, sometimes called "night feces", are high in minerals, vitamins and proteins that are necessary to the rabbit's health. Rabbits eat these to meet their nutritional requirements; the mucous coating allows the nutrients to pass through the acidic stomach for digestion in the intestines. This process allows rabbits to extract the necessary nutrients from their food.[34]

The chewed plant material collects in the large cecum, a secondary chamber between the large and small intestine containing large quantities of symbiotic bacteria that help with the digestion of cellulose and also produce certain B vitamins. The pellets are about 56% bacteria by dry weight, largely accounting for the pellets being 24.4% protein on average. The soft feces form here and contain up to five times the vitamins of hard feces. After being excreted, they are eaten whole by the rabbit and redigested in a special part of the stomach. The pellets remain intact for up to six hours in the stomach; the bacteria within continue to digest the plant carbohydrates. This double-digestion process enables rabbits to use nutrients that they may have missed during the first passage through the gut, as well as the nutrients formed by the microbial activity and thus ensures that maximum nutrition is derived from the food they eat.[10] This process serves the same purpose in the rabbit as rumination does in cattle and sheep.[35]

Rabbits are incapable of vomiting.[36] Because rabbits can't vomit, if buildup occurs within the intestines (due often to a diet with insufficient fiber[37]), intestinal blockage can occur.[38]

Reproduction:

The average female rabbit becomes sexually mature at 3 to 8 months of age and can conceive at any time of the year for the duration of her life. However, egg and sperm production can begin to decline after three years.[39]During mating, the male rabbit will mount the female rabbit from behind and insert his penis into the female and makes rapid pelvic hip thrusts. The encounter lasts only 20-40 seconds and after, the male will throw himself backwards off of the female.[40]

Sleep

Rabbits may appear to be crepuscular, but their natural inclination is toward nocturnal activity.[41] In 2011, the average sleep time of a rabbit in captivity was calculated at 8.4 hours per day.[42] As with other prey animals, rabbits often sleep with their eyes open, so that sudden movements will awaken the rabbit to respond to potential danger.[43]

Diseases

In addition to being at risk of disease from common pathogens such as Bordetella bronchiseptica and Escherichia coli, rabbits can contract the virulent, species-specific viruses RHD ("rabbit hemorrhagic disease", a form of calicivirus)[44] or myxomatosis. Among the parasites that infect rabbits are tapeworms (such as Taenia serialis), external parasites (including fleas and mites), coccidia species, and Toxoplasma gondii.[45][46] Domesticated rabbits with a diet lacking in high fiber sources, such as hay and grass, are susceptible to potentially lethal gastrointestinal stasis.[47] Rabbits and hares are almost never found to be infected with rabies and have not been known to transmit rabies to humans.[48]

Ecology

Rabbit 1hr old gnangarra
Rabbit kits
(one hour after birth)

Rabbits are prey animals and are therefore constantly aware of their surroundings. For instance, in Mediterranean Europe, rabbits are the main prey of red foxes, badgers, and Iberian lynxes.[49] If confronted by a potential threat, a rabbit may freeze and observe then warn others in the warren with powerful thumps on the ground. Rabbits have a remarkably wide field of vision, and a good deal of it is devoted to overhead scanning.[50] They survive predation by burrowing, hopping away in a zig-zag motion, and, if captured, delivering powerful kicks with their hind legs. Their strong teeth allow them to eat and to bite in order to escape a struggle.[51] The longest-lived rabbit on record, a domesticated European rabbit living in Tasmania, died at age 18.[52] The lifespan of wild rabbits is much shorter; the average longevity of an eastern cottontail, for instance, is less than one year.[53]

Rabbit burrow entrance
Rabbit burrow entrance

Habitat and range

Rabbit habitats include meadows, woods, forests, grasslands, deserts and wetlands.[54] Rabbits live in groups, and the best known species, the European rabbit, lives in underground burrows, or rabbit holes. A group of burrows is called a warren.[54]

More than half the world's rabbit population resides in North America.[54] They are also native to southwestern Europe, Southeast Asia, Sumatra, some islands of Japan, and in parts of Africa and South America. They are not naturally found in most of Eurasia, where a number of species of hares are present. Rabbits first entered South America relatively recently, as part of the Great American Interchange. Much of the continent has just one species of rabbit, the tapeti, while most of South America's southern cone is without rabbits.

The European rabbit has been introduced to many places around the world.[10]

Environmental problems

Rabbits have been a source of environmental problems when introduced into the wild by humans. As a result of their appetites, and the rate at which they breed, feral rabbit depredation can be problematic for agriculture. Gassing, barriers (fences), shooting, snaring, and ferreting have been used to control rabbit populations, but the most effective measures are diseases such as myxomatosis (myxo or mixi, colloquially) and calicivirus. In Europe, where rabbits are farmed on a large scale, they are protected against myxomatosis and calicivirus with a genetically modified virus. The virus was developed in Spain, and is beneficial to rabbit farmers. If it were to make its way into wild populations in areas such as Australia, it could create a population boom, as those diseases are the most serious threats to rabbit survival. Rabbits in Australia and New Zealand are considered to be such a pest that land owners are legally obliged to control them.[55][56]

As food and clothing

Taddeo Crivelli (Italian, died about 1479, active about 1451 - 1479) - Saint Jerome in the Desert - Google Art Project
Saint Jerome in the Desert
[Note rabbit being chased by a (trained?) domesticated hound]
Taddeo Crivelli (Italian, died about 1479)
Kitchen - Hotel Dieu, Beaune
Rabbit being prepared in the kitchen
Simulation of daily life, mid-15th century
Hospices de Beaune, France
Australian rabbiter, NSW from The Powerhouse Museum Collection
An Australian "rabbiter" (c. 1900)

In some areas, wild rabbits and hares are hunted for their meat, a lean source of high quality protein.[57] In the wild, such hunting is accomplished with the aid of trained falcons, ferrets, or dogs, as well as with snares or other traps, and rifles. A caught rabbit may be dispatched with a sharp blow to the back of its head, a practice from which the term rabbit punch is derived.

Wild leporids comprise a small portion of global rabbit-meat consumption. Domesticated descendants of the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) that are bred and kept as livestock (a practice called cuniculture) account for the estimated 200 million tons of rabbit meat produced annually.[58] In 1994, the countries with the highest consumption per capita of rabbit meat were Malta with 8.89 kilograms (19.6 lb), Italy with 5.71 kilograms (12.6 lb), and Cyprus with 4.37 kilograms (9.6 lb), falling to 0.03 kilograms (0.066 lb) in Japan. The figure for the United States was 0.14 kilograms (0.31 lb) per capita. The largest producers of rabbit meat in 1994 were China, Russia, Italy, France, and Spain.[59] Rabbit meat was once a common commodity in Sydney, Australia, but declined after the myxomatosis virus was intentionally introduced to control the exploding population of feral rabbits in the area.

In the United Kingdom, fresh rabbit is sold in butcher shops and markets, and some supermarkets sell frozen rabbit meat. At farmers markets there, including the famous Borough Market in London, rabbit carcasses are sometimes displayed hanging, unbutchered (in the traditional style), next to braces of pheasant or other small game. Rabbit meat is a feature of Moroccan cuisine, where it is cooked in a tajine with "raisins and grilled almonds added a few minutes before serving".[60] In China, rabbit meat is particularly popular in Sichuan cuisine, with its stewed rabbit, spicy diced rabbit, BBQ-style rabbit, and even spicy rabbit heads, which have been compared to spicy duck neck.[58] Rabbit meat is comparatively unpopular elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific.

An extremely rare infection associated with rabbits-as-food is tularemia (also known as rabbit fever), which may be contracted from an infected rabbit.[61] Hunters are at higher risk for tularemia because of the potential for inhaling the bacteria during the skinning process. An even more rare condition is protein poisoning, which was first noted as a consequence of eating rabbit meat to exclusion (hence the colloquial term, "rabbit starvation"). Protein poisoning, which is associated with extreme conditions of the total absence of dietary fat and protein, was noted by Vilhjalmur Stefansson in the late 19th century and in the journals of Charles Darwin.

In addition to their meat, rabbits are used for their wool, fur, and pelts, as well as their nitrogen-rich manure and their high-protein milk.[62] Production industries have developed domesticated rabbit breeds (such as the well-known Angora rabbit) to efficiently fill these needs.

In art, literature, and culture

Rabbits are often used as a symbol of fertility or rebirth, and have long been associated with spring and Easter as the Easter Bunny. The species' role as a prey animal with few defenses evokes vulnerability and innocence, and in folklore and modern children's stories, rabbits often appear as sympathetic characters, able to connect easily with youth of all kinds (for example, the Velveteen Rabbit, or Thumper in Bambi).

Tile al-Qazwini Louvre MAO1194
Tile (19th c.) inspired by
Marvels of Creatures and
Strange Things Existing

(13th century Iranian book)

With its reputation as a prolific breeder, the rabbit juxtaposes sexuality with innocence, as in the Playboy Bunny. The rabbit (as a swift prey animal) is also known for its speed, agility, and endurance, symbolized (for example) by the marketing icon the "Energizer Bunny" (known in Europe and Australia as the "Duracell Bunny").

Folklore and mythology

The rabbit often appears in folklore as the trickster archetype, as he uses his cunning to outwit his enemies.

Syrischer Maler von 1354 001
"Rabbit fools Elephant by showing the reflection of the moon".
Illustration (from 1354) of the Panchatantra

The rabbit as trickster is a part of American popular culture, as Br'er Rabbit (from African-American folktales and, later, Disney animation) and Bugs Bunny (the cartoon character from Warner Bros.), for example.

Anthropomorphized rabbits have appeared in film and literature, in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (the White Rabbit and the March Hare characters), in Watership Down (including the film and television adaptations), in Rabbit Hill (by Robert Lawson), and in the Peter Rabbit stories (by Beatrix Potter). In the 1920s, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, was a popular cartoon character.

United States Eighth Air Force in Britain, 1942-1945 FRE39
WWII USAF pilot D. R. Emerson
"flys with a rabbit's foot talisman,
a gift from a New York girl friend"

Superstition and urban legend

A rabbit's foot may be carried as an amulet, believed to bring protection and good luck. This belief is found in many parts of the world, with the earliest use being recorded in Europe c. 600 BC.[65]

On the Isle of Portland in Dorset, UK, the rabbit is said to be unlucky and even speaking the creature's name can cause upset among older island residents. This is thought to date back to early times in the local quarrying industry where (to save space) extracted stones that were not fit for sale were set side in what became tall, unstable walls. The local rabbits' tendency to burrow there would weaken the walls and their collapse resulted in injuries or even death. Thus, invoking the name of the culprit became an unlucky act to be avoided. In the local culture to this day, the rabbit (when he has to be referred to) may instead be called a “long ears” or “underground mutton”, so as not to risk bringing a downfall upon oneself. While it was true 50 years ago that a pub on the island could be emptied by calling out the word "rabbit", this has become more fable than fact in modern times.

In other parts of Britain and in North America, invoking the rabbit's name may instead bring good luck. "Rabbit rabbit rabbit" is one variant of an apotropaic or talismanic superstition that involves saying or repeating the word "rabbit" (or "rabbits" or "white rabbits" or some combination thereof) out loud upon waking on the first day of each month, because doing so will ensure good fortune for the duration of that month.

The "rabbit test" is a term, first used in 1949, for the Friedman test, an early diagnostic tool for detecting a pregnancy in humans. It is a common misconception (or perhaps an urban legend) that the test-rabbit would die if the woman was pregnant. This led to the phrase "the rabbit died" becoming a euphemism for a positive pregnancy test.

See also

References

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  22. ^ Capello, Vittorio (2006). "Lateral Ear Canal Resection and Ablation in Pet Rabbits" (PDF). The North American Veterinary Conference. 20: 1711–1713.
  23. ^ Vella, David (2012). Ferrets, Rabbits, and Rodents: Clinical Medicine and Surgery. Elsevier. ISBN 978-1-4160-6621-7.
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  35. ^ The Private Life of the Rabbit, R. M. Lockley, 1964. Chapter 10.
  36. ^ The forbidden list of the things a rabbit cannot eat due to being unable to produce the enzymes to break certain minerals in their bodies are the following:
    • Parsley (Induces an accelerated heart rhythm and finally producing heart attack)
    • Grapes (Contains phosphorus and potassium in high levels that the rabbits cannot produce the enzymes to break it)
    • Avocado Leaf (Produces instestinal blockage due to the toxicity of the leaf)
    • Tomato Leaf (Due to its high content of toxic glycoalkaloids, can cause internal bleeding)
    • Non-Vegetable leafs (Contains high content of toxic substances, can cause instant death to instestinal blockage)
    • Cherries (High potassium content and the impossibility of producing the enzymes to break this mineral, can induce to muscular blockage and most common cause of death in this case is by asfyxia)
    • Brussel sprouts (Due that this vegetable is known for producing gases it induces bloating in stomach and intestines producing bleeding ulcers on them)
    • Potato (Due to its high content of potassium, phosphorus and calcium can induce to a sudden heart attack)
    • Mustard seeds (Due to his hight content of potassium, phosporus, magnesium and calcium can produce from a heart attack to internal necrosis)
    • Spearmint leaf (It contains menthone, phelandrene and limonene can produce a respiratory arrest prompting a sudden heart attack)
    "True or False? Rabbits are physically incapable of vomiting. (Answer to Pop Quiz)". Archived from the original on 10 February 2007.
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  43. ^ Wright, Samantha (2011). For The Love of Parsley. A Guide To Your Rabbit's Most Common Behaviours. Lulu. pp. 35–36. ISBN 978-1-4467-9111-0.
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  47. ^ Krempels, Dana. "GastroIntestinal Stasis, The Silent Killer". Department of Biology at the University of Miami. Archived from the original on 19 June 2017. Retrieved 21 September 2017.
  48. ^ "Rabies: Other Wild Animals". Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 15 November 2011. Archived from the original on 20 December 2010. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
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  50. ^ Tynes, Valarie V. Behavior of Exotic Pets Archived 6 May 2016 at the Wayback Machine. Wiley Blackwell, 2010, p. 70.
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  53. ^ Cottontail rabbit at Indiana Department of Natural Resources Archived 17 November 2016 at the Wayback Machine
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  58. ^ a b Olivia Geng, French Rabbit Heads: The Newest Delicacy in Chinese Cuisine Archived 14 July 2017 at the Wayback Machine. The Wall Street Journal Blog, 13 June 2014
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  60. ^ 'Traditional Moroccan Cooking, Recipes from Fez', by Madame Guinadeau. (Serif, London, 2003). ISBN 1-897959-43-5.
  61. ^ "Tularemia (Rabbit fever)". Health.utah.gov. 16 June 2003. Archived from the original on 26 May 2010. Retrieved 30 August 2010.
  62. ^ Houdebine, Louis-Marie; Fan, Jianglin (1 June 2009). Rabbit Biotechnology: Rabbit Genomics, Transgenesis, Cloning and Models. シュプリンガー・ジャパン株式会社. pp. 68–72. ISBN 978-90-481-2226-4. Archived from the original on 26 April 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  63. ^ Brian Morris, The Power of Animals: An Ethnography, p. 177 (2000).
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Further reading

External links

Br'er Rabbit

Br'er Rabbit (Brother Rabbit), also spelled Bre'r Rabbit or Brer Rabbit, is a central figure as Uncle Remus tells stories of the Southern United States. Br'er Rabbit is a trickster who succeeds by his wits rather than by brawn, provoking authority figures and bending social mores as he sees fit. The Walt Disney Company later adapted this character for its 1946 animated motion picture Song of the South.

Bugs Bunny

Bugs Bunny is an animated cartoon character, created in the late 1930s by Leon Schlesinger Productions (later Warner Bros. Cartoons) and voiced originally by Mel Blanc. Bugs is best known for his starring roles in the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of animated short films, produced by Warner Bros. Though a similar character debuted in the WB cartoon Porky's Hare Hunt (1938) and appeared in a few subsequent shorts, the definitive character of Bugs is widely credited to have made his debut in director Tex Avery's Oscar-nominated film A Wild Hare (1940).Bugs is an anthropomorphic gray and white rabbit who is famous for his flippant, insouciant personality. He is also characterized by a Brooklyn accent, his portrayal as a trickster, and his catch phrase "Eh... What's up, doc?" Due to Bugs' popularity during the golden age of American animation, he became an American cultural icon and the official mascot of Warner Bros. Entertainment. He can thus be seen in the older Warner Bros. company logos.Since his debut, Bugs has appeared in various short films, feature films, compilations, TV series, music records, comics, video games, award shows, amusement park rides, and commercials. He has also appeared in more films than any other cartoon character, is the ninth most-portrayed film personality in the world, and has his own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Domestic rabbit

A domestic or domesticated rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)—more commonly known as a pet rabbit, a bunny, or a bunny rabbit—is any domesticated variety of the species of European rabbit. A domestic rabbit kept as a pet may be considered a pocket pet, depending on its size. A male rabbit is known as a buck, a female is a doe, and a young rabbit is a kit or kitten.

Rabbits were first exploited by the Romans as sources of food and fur, and have been kept as pets in Western nations since the 19th century. Beginning in the 1980s, the idea of the domestic rabbit as a house companion, a so-called house rabbit, was promoted. Rabbits can be litter box-trained and may come when called, but they need exercise and can damage a house that is not "rabbit proof". Unwanted rabbits end up in animal shelters, especially after the Easter season. Because they have become invasive in Australia, pet rabbits are banned in the state of Queensland.

Easter Bunny

The Easter Bunny (also called the Easter Rabbit or Easter Hare) is a folkloric figure and symbol of Easter, depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter eggs. Originating among German Lutherans, the "Easter Hare" originally played the role of a judge, evaluating whether children were good or disobedient in behavior at the start of the season of Eastertide. The Easter Bunny is sometimes depicted with clothes. In legend, the creature carries colored eggs in his basket, candy, and sometimes also toys to the homes of children, and as such shows similarities to Santa Claus or the Christkind, as they both bring gifts to children on the night before their respective holidays. The custom was first mentioned in Georg Franck von Franckenau's De ovis paschalibus ('About Easter Eggs') in 1682, referring to a German tradition of an Easter Hare bringing Easter eggs for the children.

European rabbit

The European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) or coney is a species of rabbit native to southwestern Europe (including Spain, Portugal and western France) and to northwest Africa (including Morocco and Algeria). 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 and the Spanish imperial eagle. 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. Feral 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 burrows, called warrens, where it spends most of its time when not feeding. Unlike the related hares (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.

Hare

Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares are classified in the same family as rabbits. They are similar in size and form to rabbits and have similar herbivorous diets, but generally have longer ears and live solitarily or in pairs. Also unlike rabbits, their young are able to fend for themselves shortly after birth rather than emerging blind and helpless. Most are fast runners. Hare species are native to Africa, Eurasia, North America, and the Japanese archipelago.

Five leporid species with "hare" in their common names are not considered true hares: the hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), and four species known as red rock hares (comprising Pronolagus). Conversely, jackrabbits are hares, rather than rabbits.

A hare less than one year old is called a leveret. A group of hares is called a "drove".

List of Sonic the Hedgehog characters

The Sonic the Hedgehog video game franchise began in 1991 with the game Sonic the Hedgehog for the Sega Genesis, which pitted a blue anthropomorphic hedgehog named Sonic against a rotund male human villain named Doctor Eggman (or Doctor Ivo Robotnik). The sequel, Sonic 2, gave Sonic a fox friend named Tails. Shortly afterward, Sonic CD introduced Amy Rose, a female hedgehog with a persistent crush on Sonic, and Sonic 3 introduced Knuckles the Echidna, Sonic's rival and, later, friend. All five of these have remained major characters and appeared in dozens of games.

The series has introduced dozens of additional recurring characters over the years. These have ranged from anthropomorphic animal characters like Shadow the Hedgehog and Cream the Rabbit to robots created by Eggman like Metal Sonic and E-123 Omega, as well as human characters like Eggman's grandfather Gerald Robotnik. The series also features two fictional species: Chao, which have usually functioned as digital pets and minor gameplay and plot elements, and more recently, Wisps, which have been used as power-ups.

The Sonic games keep a separate continuity from the Sonic the Hedgehog comics published by Archie Comics and other Sonic media and, as a result, feature a distinct yet overlapping array of characters.

Moon rabbit

The moon rabbit in folklore is a rabbit that lives on the Moon, based on pareidolia that identifies the markings of the Moon as a rabbit. The folklore originated in China, and then spread to other Asian cultures. In East Asian folklore, it is seen pounding with a mortar and pestle, but the contents of the mortar differ among Chinese, Japanese, and Korean folklore. In Chinese folklore, it is often portrayed as a companion of the Moon goddess Chang'e, constantly pounding the elixir of life for her; but in Japanese and Korean versions, it is pounding the ingredients for rice cake. In some Chinese versions, the rabbit pounds medicine for the mortals.

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit

Oswald the Lucky Rabbit (also known as Oswald the Rabbit or Oswald Rabbit) is an anthropomorphic rabbit and animated cartoon character created by Walt Disney for cartoon animal films and distributed by Universal Studios in the 1920s and 1930s, serving as the Disney studio's first animated character to feature in their own series. A total of 27 animated Oswald one-reelers were produced at Walt Disney Animation Studios (the Walt Disney Studio at the time). In 1928, Charles Mintz took the rights of Oswald from Walt Disney and claimed Oswald as an official Universal Studios character. In November 1928, as a replacement to compete with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks created Mickey Mouse for the Walt Disney Studio.In 2003, Buena Vista Games pitched a concept for an Oswald-themed video game to Disney President and COO Bob Iger, who then became committed to bringing Oswald back to Disney. In 2006, nearly 80 years after the Disney studio broke away from Universal, The Walt Disney Company managed to acquire the intellectual property of Oswald and the catalog of Disney-produced Oswald films (with NBCUniversal effectively trading Oswald for the services of Al Michaels as play-by-play announcer on NBC Sunday Night Football).

Oswald returned to prominence in Disney's 2010 video game, Epic Mickey. The game's metafiction plot parallels Oswald's real-world history, dealing with the character's feelings of abandonment by Disney, and envy towards Mickey Mouse. He has since appeared in Disney theme parks and comic books, as well as two follow-up games, Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two and Epic Mickey: Power of Illusion. Oswald made his first appearance in a Disney animated production in 85 years through his cameo appearance in the 2013 animated short Get a Horse!. He was the subject of the 2015 feature film Walt Before Mickey. Oswald also appears as a townsperson in Disney Infinity 2.0.

Peter Rabbit (film)

Peter Rabbit is a 2018 American live-action/computer-animated comedy film directed by Will Gluck and written by Rob Lieber and Gluck, based on the stories of Peter Rabbit created by Beatrix Potter. The film stars the voice of James Corden as the title character, with Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson, Sam Neill, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, and Margot Robbie also starring. The film was released on February 9, 2018, and grossed $351 million worldwide. A sequel is set to be released on February 7, 2020.

Playboy

Playboy is an American men's lifestyle and entertainment magazine. It was founded in Chicago in 1953, by Hugh Hefner and his associates, and funded in part by a $1,000 loan from Hefner's mother. Notable for its centerfolds of nude and semi-nude models (Playmates), Playboy played an important role in the sexual revolution and remains one of the world's best-known brands, having grown into Playboy Enterprises, Inc. (PEI), with a presence in nearly every medium. In addition to the flagship magazine in the United States, special nation-specific versions of Playboy are published worldwide.

The magazine has a long history of publishing short stories by novelists such as Arthur C. Clarke, Ian Fleming, Vladimir Nabokov, Saul Bellow, Chuck Palahniuk, P. G. Wodehouse, Roald Dahl, Haruki Murakami, and Margaret Atwood. With a regular display of full-page color cartoons, it became a showcase for notable cartoonists, including Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Cole, Eldon Dedini, Jules Feiffer, Shel Silverstein, Erich Sokol, Roy Raymonde, Gahan Wilson, and Rowland B. Wilson. Playboy features monthly interviews of notable public figures, such as artists, architects, economists, composers, conductors, film directors, journalists, novelists, playwrights, religious figures, politicians, athletes, and race car drivers. The magazine generally reflects a liberal editorial stance, although it often interviews conservative celebrities.

After a year-long removal of most nude photos in Playboy magazine, the March–April 2017 issue brought back nudity.

Pulp Fiction

Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American crime film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino; it is based on a story by Tarantino and Roger Avary. Starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Ving Rhames, and Uma Thurman, it tells several stories of criminal Los Angeles. The film's title refers to the pulp magazines and hardboiled crime novels popular during the mid-20th century, known for their graphic violence and punchy dialogue.

Tarantino wrote Pulp Fiction in 1992 and 1993, incorporating scenes that Avary originally wrote for True Romance (1993). Its plot occurs out of chronological order. The film is also self-referential from its opening moments, beginning with a title card that gives two dictionary definitions of "pulp". Considerable screen time is devoted to monologues and casual conversations with eclectic dialogue revealing each character's perspectives on several subjects, and the film features an ironic combination of humor and strong violence. TriStar Pictures reportedly turned down the script as "too demented". Miramax co-chairman Harvey Weinstein was enthralled, however, and the film became the first that Miramax fully financed.

Pulp Fiction won the Palme d'Or at the 1994 Cannes Film Festival, and was a major critical and commercial success. It was nominated for seven Oscars, including Best Picture, and won Best Original Screenplay; it earned Travolta, Jackson, and Thurman Academy Award nominations and revitalized and/or elevated their careers. Its development, marketing, distribution, and profitability had a sweeping effect on independent cinema.

Pulp Fiction has been widely regarded as Tarantino's masterpiece, with particular praise for its screenwriting. The self-reflexivity, unconventional structure, and extensive homage and pastiche have led critics to describe it as a touchstone of postmodern film. It is often considered a cultural watershed, influencing movies and other media that adopted elements of its style. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly named it the best film since 1983 and it has appeared on many critics' lists of the greatest films ever made. In 2013, Pulp Fiction was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Rabbit-Proof Fence (film)

Rabbit-Proof Fence is a 2002 Australian drama film directed by Phillip Noyce based on the book Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence by Doris Pilkington Garimara. It is loosely based on a true story concerning the author's mother Molly, as well as two other mixed-race Aboriginal girls, Daisy Kadibil and Gracie, who ran away from the Moore River Native Settlement, north of Perth, Western Australia, to return to their Aboriginal families, after being placed there in 1931. The film follows the Aboriginal girls as they walk for nine weeks along 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of the Australian rabbit-proof fence to return to their community at Jigalong, while being pursued by white law enforcement authorities and an Aboriginal tracker.The soundtrack to the film, called Long Walk Home: Music from the Rabbit-Proof Fence, is by Peter Gabriel. British producer Jeremy Thomas, who has a long connection with Australia, was executive producer of the film, selling it internationally through his sales arm, HanWay Films. In 2005 the British Film Institute included it in the BFI list of the 50 films you should see by the age of 14.

Rabbit (zodiac)

The Rabbit (卯) is the fourth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The Year of the Rabbit is associated with the Earthly Branch symbol 卯.

In the Vietnamese zodiac and the Gurung zodiac, the cat takes the place of the Rabbit.

Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf (listen ) is a compact car produced by the German automotive manufacturer Volkswagen since 1974, marketed worldwide across seven generations, in various body configurations and under various nameplates – such as the Volkswagen Rabbit in the United States and Canada (Mk1 and Mk5), and as the Volkswagen Caribe in Mexico (Mk1).

The original Golf Mk1 was a front-wheel drive, front-engined replacement for the air-cooled, rear-engined, rear-wheel drive Volkswagen Beetle. Historically, the Golf is Volkswagen's best-selling model and is among the world's top three best-selling models, with more than 30 million built by June 2013.Initially, most Golf production was in the 3-door hatchback style. Other variants include a 5-door hatchback, station wagon (Variant, from 1993), convertible (Cabriolet and Cabrio, 1979–2002, Cabriolet, 2011–present), and a Golf-derived notchback sedan, variously called Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Vento (from 1992) or Volkswagen Bora (from 1999). The cars have filled many market segments, from being a basic, everyday car, to high-performance hot hatches.

The Volkswagen Golf has won many awards throughout its history. The Golf won the World Car of the Year in 2009, with the Volkswagen Golf Mk6 and in 2013 with the Volkswagen Golf Mk7. The VW Golf is one of only three cars, the others being the Renault Clio and Opel/Vauxhall Astra, to have been voted European Car of the Year twice, in 1992 and 2013. The Volkswagen Golf has made the annual Car and Driver 10Best list multiple times. The Golf Mk7 won the Motor Trend Car of the Year award in 2015, and the Mk1 GTI also won the award in 1985.

Welsh rarebit

Welsh rarebit (spelling based on folk etymology) or Welsh rabbit (original spelling) is a traditional Welsh dish made with a savoury sauce of melted cheese and various other ingredients and served hot, after being poured over slices (or other pieces) of toasted bread, or the hot cheese sauce may be served in a chafing dish like a fondue, accompanied by sliced, toasted bread. The names of the dish originate from 18th-century Britain. Despite the name, the dish contains no rabbit meat.

White Rabbit

The White Rabbit is a fictional character in Lewis Carroll's book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. He appears at the very beginning of the book, in chapter one, wearing a waistcoat, and muttering "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" Alice follows him down the rabbit hole into Wonderland. Alice encounters him again when he mistakes her for his housemaid Mary Ann and she becomes trapped in his house after growing too large. The Rabbit shows up again in the last few chapters, as a herald-like servant of the King and Queen of Hearts.

Who Framed Roger Rabbit

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is a 1988 American live-action/animated comedy film directed by Robert Zemeckis, produced by Frank Marshall and Robert Watts, and written by Jeffrey Price and Peter S. Seaman. The film is based on Gary K. Wolf's 1981 novel Who Censored Roger Rabbit? The film stars Bob Hoskins, Christopher Lloyd, Charles Fleischer, Stubby Kaye, and Joanna Cassidy. Combining live-action and animation, the film is set in Hollywood during the late 1940s, where cartoon characters and people co-exist. The story follows Eddie Valiant, a private detective who must exonerate "Toon" (i.e. cartoon character) Roger Rabbit, who is accused of murdering a wealthy businessman.

Walt Disney Pictures purchased the film rights for Who Framed Roger Rabbit's story in 1981. Price and Seaman wrote two drafts of the script before Disney brought in executive producer Steven Spielberg, and his production company, Amblin Entertainment. Zemeckis was brought on to direct the film, and Canadian animator Richard Williams was hired to supervise the animation sequences. Production was moved from Los Angeles to Elstree Studios in England to accommodate Williams and his group of animators. While filming, the production budget began to rapidly expand and the shooting schedule ran longer than expected.

Disney released the film through its Touchstone Pictures division on June 22, 1988, to critical and commercial success, becoming a blockbuster hit. The film brought a renewed interest in the Golden Age of American animation, spearheading modern American animation and the Disney Renaissance. The film won three Academy Awards for Best Film Editing, Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Visual Effects and received a Special Achievement Academy Award for its animation direction by Williams.

In 2016, the film was selected for the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Extant Lagomorpha species

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