1. Rabbits, Bunnies and Hares: What’s in a Word?
The words “bunny” and “rabbit” are in part synonyms and in another way are like accessories to each other. “Bunny” comes from the Celtic/Scottish word “bun,” which dates back to the 1600s and was used to describe someone’s rear-end or the hide of a rabbit that someone may have ʜᴜɴᴛᴇᴅ or trapped. At some point in the 1800s, “bunny” started to catch on as a colloquial term for a young woman or girl. This slang is still in use today, albeit with a more “adult” context a la a Playboy bunny.
Rabbits were most commonly referred to as “coneys” up until the 1700s. This is where the name for Coney Island comes from (I had always thought it was an ice cream reference!). Hares are the crocodiles to rabbits’ alligators. A hare will be bigger than a bunny/rabbit and live in grass as opposed to the ground. Hares generally live in the wild, while bunny rabbits are more domesticable animals.
As far as the Easter Bunny goes, it came from Germany just like Santa Claus. Many people abstained from eggs because of Lent, so they always resumed eating eggs on Easter. Since eggs only stay fresh for so long, this also may be why we hard boil our eggs before we decorate them. Decorating them makes sense, because who wants to look at eggs for very long?
Eventually, German immigrants brought over their practice of “Osterhase,” a chase to find decorated eggs, to the states in the 1700s. How a rabbit became the mascot of an egg-related holiday that’s also meant to commemorate the Resurrection of Christ is unclear, but historians speculate that rabbits as a symbol of fertility fit so well with spring that the animal eventually became emblematic of the holiday.
2. These masters of hearing can turn their ears 180 degrees. (Wow) And that impressive rotation can pinpoint the exact location of a sound
3. Rabbits have almost 360 degree vision but they are born with their eyes shut
4. When rabbits grab their ears and bring them down across their faces to give them a wash, you are officially watching one of the cutest animal behaviours in existence.
5. Rabbits communicate using a secret code. Well, it’s not actually a secret code, but you could be forgiven for thinking it is because their body movements are so subtle. Bunnies clench their facial muscles and change their body position when they are feeling worried; signs you wouldn’t notice if you weren’t looking out for them. This is one of the main reasons why they’re so often misunderstood, particularly by children.
6. Pet bunnies may come in domesticated colours and breeds, but their perspective on the world remains ever so close to that of their wild relatives. Because they are a prey species, life is all about survival and they are in a constant state of alert. This explains why many rabbits don’t like being picked up and may nip if you try – your hands are not too dissimilar to a bird of prey swooping down to catch them.
7. A single bunny is a lonely bunny. Rabbits are social creatures and are happiest in the company of their own species. The best combination is a neutered male and neutered female. They can become extremely sad and depressed if kept on their own.
8. Young rabbits that don’t have enough space to run about are more likely to ʙʀᴇᴀᴋ ʙᴏɴᴇs, according to studies. This is because they don’t get the right opportunities to build up their bodies properly.
9. Bunnies ‘binky’ when they’re happy. You’ll know a rabbit is binkying because the happy hop in the air, twist of the body, and kicking of the feet look unmistakably like pure joy.
10. Rabbits are banned from some ferries. Legend has it that bunnies being transported for food chewed through the hull of a 17th century ship, causing the ᴅ.ᴇ.ᴀ ᴛ.ʜs of many sailors. To this day, you cannot bring your bun with you should you wish to cross the Channel on Brittany Ferries. (Not that you would want to as rabbits find travelling even on short car journeys extremely stressful.)
11. Bugs Bunny has a lot to answer for. Root vegetables aren’t a natural part of a rabbit’s diet, and carrots are high in sugar so should only be fed occasionally and in small amounts.