Lagomorpha (Rabbits, Hares, and Pikas - Oh, My!)

Lagomorpha (Rabbits, Hares, and Pikas - Oh, My!)

BY : Rhiannon Nevinczenko

With Easter just around the corner, here are seven fun facts about rabbits!

1 - Rabbits are not rodents. Rather, they (along with hares and pikas) are lagomorphs - members of the order Lagomorpha.
2 - Though lagomorphs share certain traits with rodents, such as continuously growing incisor teeth, there are distinct differences. Rodents have two upper incisors, whereas lagomorphs have four. Rodents also have a layer of iron-stained enamel covering and coloring their incisors, which lagomorphs lack.
3 - Rabbits and their relatives have no paw pads! Their feet are completely covered in fur.
4 - Jackrabbits are actually a type of hare!
5 - Though rabbits and hares have much in common, they are distinguished by some notable differences. For instance, rabbits are born hairless and with their eyes closed. Hares, on the other hand, are born fully developed and ready to go - eyes open, covered in fur, and almost immediately able to fend for themselves. Also, rabbits are usually smaller than hares, and have shorter ears. Lastly, rabbits burrow underground, while hares nest in forms - shallow depressions in the ground.
6 - Domestic rabbits, when properly cared for, can live approximately 10 years. However, improper husbandry or handling can quickly and easily make for an early demise. (So if you're considering adopting one, be sure to research the care requirements very thoroughly before making the decision.)
7 - It is common to stumble on rabbit nests around this time of year. There are many resources available online that can help guide you on what to do if you discover a nest in your yard. In general, the mother rabbit will be back to care for her babies, and you can put any displaced nesting material or babies back the way it was safely without her rejecting them.
Photograph credit: Caroline Legg via Flickr, CC BY 2.0. (Pictured: Wild rabbit in Scotland.)

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