Where Do Wild Rabbits Sleep?

Surely, you have already seen on occasion wild rabbits hopping about in parks, your backyard, or even the small strips of green at the side of a road or a parking lot. At certain times of the day, these places, though, are suspiciously empty. Where do they go?

Where do wild rabbits sleep? 

Wild rabbits sleep in a system of burrows, that is holes or tunnels, which is called a warren. A warren can be up to three meters deep, between one and two meters long, and has several entrances and exits, so they can quickly hop in to hide from a predator. You can imagine it as an underground apartment complex for rabbits! 

Just like a human apartment has a living room, bedrooms, and so on, so does a warren. A nest, the equivalent of the bedroom where the rabbits sleep, is usually at a safe place far inside the warren, at the end of a tunnel. A nest is lined with grass, moss, and the soft belly fur of rabbits so that it is cozy to sleep in.

The various “rooms” are connected by tunnels. Most breeds of rabbits are social creatures that live in groups of up to 20 individuals that all share a warren. To mark their territory as well as tunnels that are used often, they use urine, fecal pellets, as well as rubbing the scent glands that are spread all over their body against walls or objects. 

Do Wild Rabbits Hibernate? 

No, rabbits are active all year round. Since they are most active at dusk or dawn or even during the night, you just might see them more seldomly, since it is either too dark too soon or you and your neighborhood rabbits do not have similar daily routines anymore. 

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How Often Do Rabbits Breed? 

Rabbits are often used idiomatically to refer to families with a lot of children in a derogatory way. In our cultural conception, they occupy the idea of being active and frequent breeders. This is true – rabbits are able to breed from when they are about five or six months old and they can do so four or five times a year. This is due to the fact that the gestation period – the pregnancy – of rabbits only takes about a month!

A litter can consist of from about seven to up to twelve baby rabbits. Newborn rabbits are naked and blind. Depending on the breed they develop a coat of fur in about a week and are fully weaned – not dependent on their mother for feeding them anymore – in about a month. 

What Is the Difference Between Rabbits, Hares, and Bunnies? 

There is a bit of confusion surrounding the terminology with which we talk about these animals. What is the difference between rabbits, hares, and bunnies? Are there even differences or are those words all synonyms? 

Rabbits and hares are indeed closely related but they are not the same! They both belong to the family Leporidae and the order Lagomorpha, but they refer to different genus and species. 

Hares are similar in size and form to rabbits and have similar (herbivorous) diets, but generally have longer ears and live solitarily or in pairs.

Some species of hare even change their fur to a different color according to the season, so that they are better camouflaged in the snow. While rabbits have thicker fur in winter, their coat of fur does not change its color from brown to white and vice versa. In contrast to subterranean rabbit babies, young hares are born with fur and open eyes.

Baby rabbits are called kittens or kits whereas baby hares are called leverets.  

Bunnies are just a different name for rabbits. Maybe some people thought such a cute animal needed a cuter name! It is not clear where the word bunny comes from, but there are two main theories: On the one hand, it might have derived from the word that has been used for rabbits in the 13th century, coney (pronounced “cunny”). On the other hand, it might come from the word “bun”, which in the Scottish dialect referred to the round tail of rabbits. 

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Where Do Hares Live And Sleep?

Hares are bigger and faster than rabbits and do not live in burrows. They live and sleep above the ground. Because they do not hide in tunnels, it is necessary for them to be able to outrun predators, so it makes sense for them to be bigger and thus be able to jump and run in bigger strides.