Brown rabbits are the wild role models for the Easter bunny. Their fast running and deflection are well known. But they have many other cool abilities: getting pregnant from multiple fathers, for example.
Easter is approaching – and there’s plenty to do again for the mythical Easter bunnies. They hide sweets for children in the most likely places.
The Easter bunny is modeled after a real animal, the bunny. Since they are found throughout Europe and therefore also in many parts of Germany, many people have already seen real rabbits in the wild. And many know that the rabbit is a wonderful animal. It is known that he can run very fast and throw hooks. The gray-brown animal possesses a whole set of special abilities. Here are some facts about the brown rabbit.
Can a rabbit run as fast as people say?
Anyone who sees a rabbit hopping leisurely might be surprised. Can this animal accelerate to 80 kilometers per hour? Yes, she can. Rabbits have very long and strong hind legs, and they can run faster than any major athlete in extreme situations. It can jump up to two meters in height and three meters in width. It sprints to 80-somethings in extreme distress when on the run. To get rid of pursuers, rabbits also make their famous hooks, which are sudden changes in direction.
However, a quick sprint takes a lot of energy – so brown rabbits only try such an amazing escape when they are afraid for their lives. By the way, the famous lameness occurs because the hind legs are longer than the front legs.
Brown rabbits are very cautious on their way home and also use their great jumping ability. In order to get rid of any stalker and not abandon themselves by their scent, they take the road to their gang. This is called the hollow in which they sleep. Then they jump into the sink with a big jump so as not to leave any trace of the smell.
They also monitor their surroundings from the ground, an overview of the terrain essential to their survival. Brown rabbits primarily depict movement. Short-sighted animals.
You’ve seen hares before – are they always the same?
This is quite possible, because brown rabbits remain faithful to their position throughout their lives. This also applies to boys. Since the animals are nocturnal, you rarely see them in broad daylight.
The number of brown rabbits found in Germany can only be roughly estimated. The German Wildlife Foundation estimates the stock at about three million specimens in Germany, although there are strong regional differences, as the foundation’s president, Professor Klaus Hacklander, recently explained in an interview with “Futterpost”. In general, stocks have declined significantly over the past 100 years, according to a wildlife expert. This can be seen from the annual hunting distances, that is, from the statistics of fishermen in Germany documenting the game they killed.
The “real Easter bunny” suffers from intensive farming
The brown hare is relatively well represented in the lowlands of northwestern Germany and in the low mountain ranges of southwestern Germany. On the other hand, things look much worse in northeastern Germany. There, intensive farming is particularly hard on animals.
Rabbits need open and semi-open landscapes where they can find plenty of weeds, raise their young in peace, and hide well from predators. Cornfields and constant mowing in the areas keep the animals away – and kill their young.
According to Hackländer, other animals that are becoming more rare here, such as partridges and Skylarks as well as many other songbirds, insects and other small mammals, also find suitable habitat in areas where brown rabbits live. Biodiversity is also in the house where the rabbit lives.
Do rabbits really breed “like rabbits”?
definitely yes. This is also necessary because many young animals die in intensive farming or are hunted by predators. Most baby rabbits don’t live to be a year old. A rabbit gives birth to young three to five times a season – and there are up to five animals in a litter.
The offspring of a litter can come from several parents. This is because the doe mates multiple times and then also bears the embryos of these different fathers.
They can even be fertilized again during pregnancy: the young animals mature at different stages of development in their womb. In biology, this phenomenon is called lactation. Double fertilization is known mainly in the animal kingdom, with brown rabbits being the most prominent representatives. However, such double pregnancies are not completely impossible in humans either.
However, the multiple mating of brown rabbits does not mean that the rabbit falls in love with any long-eared bat. On the contrary: Females are highly selective: only male animals that prove how strong they are in races or boxing matches are chosen by the Rabbit ladies as partners. Regardless of the mating season, hares are reclusive
What are the sounds that rabbits make? Or are they silent?
Wild rabbits are not silent, but most people have probably never heard of a rabbit making noise, because the animals are very shy.
When they are in extreme distress, they can make very squeaky squeaking sounds, according to a species picture prepared by the German Wildlife Foundation. This reminds us of Jagger’s screaming babies. So little rabbits can make squeaking sounds. The quiet “grumble” of brown rabbits was also conveyed.
Sources: German Wildlife Foundation, “Futterpost”, Biology School.de, Hunting methods of the German Hunting Association, Austrian Animal Welfare Association, article on superpregnancy at “Brigitte.de”
Watch a video from our archives: For Easter, many families plan big feasts. But can you save yourself the hassle of relying on takeaway? The family ran the big test: Ready-to-cook or fresh-cooked meal – which Easter menu tastes better?