There are more than 30 breeds of rabbits, including the fluffy Angora, the disproportionately long-eared little German Mini Lops and the stark white French Blanc de Hotot with its long black eye lashes. There are also many varieties of the officially recognized breeds. Rabbits are only native to the Iberian Peninsula, where Spain and Portugal are located, but the breeding of rabbits for their meat and for their fur has populated rabbits throughout the world. In some regions, wild rabbits have even become so numerous that they are now considered to be pests.
The male rabbit, like the male deer, is called a “buck,” and the female rabbit, also like the female deer is called a “doe.” The doe is larger than the male rabbit. Rabbits and hares look similar, but hares are larger and have longer ears and longer hind legs than their rabbit relatives. Like kittens, rabbits first open their eyes at about 10 days after their birth and are born without any fur. Hares are born with their eyes wide open and with a full coat of fur. Rabbits are very social animals that live together in large communities called warrens, having populations of up to 100, but hares usually live alone until they mate. The smallest rabbit breed is the Netherland Dwarf Rabbit, which weighs just about 2 pounds (1 kg.) when fully grown, and one of the largest rabbit breeds, the Flemish Giant Rabbit, weighs twice the size of the average cat at about 18 pounds (8 kgs.).
Bunnies have become popular house pets. Their life expectancy varies by breed from 5 to 15 years. They are intelligent animals who need affection, and they can become wonderful companions for their human families. Bunnies, like cats, are quiet and do not demand a lot of attention, but daily play and exercise are important to their good health. Bunnies need to chew, and any areas where bunnies are allowed to run free must be carefully rabbit-proofed.
Bunnies groom themselves just as cats do, and just like cats, bunnies ingest fur balls. Unlike cats, however, bunnies and rabbits cannot expel these fur balls, and excessive amounts of swallowed fur may cause a fatal intestinal blockage. Preventive care against such blockages, under the supervision of a veterinarian, includes brushing the bunny’s fur daily, daily exercise time, ample space in which to explore, giving the bunny about a cup of fresh hay each day, including fresh vegetables in its diet and administering laxatives during the heaving molting season .