Rabbit

©Jon Hawkins

Rabbit kit

©Jon Hawkins

Rabbit

Scientific name: Oryctolagus cuniculus
The rabbit was introduced into the UK by the Normans for food and fur. It provides an easy encounter with wildlife for many, often spotted on roadsides or in parks.

Species information

Statistics

Length: 40cm
Weight: 1.2-2kg
Average lifespan: 3 years

Conservation status

Introduced, but naturalised species. Common.

When to see

January to December

About

The rabbit is a very familiar animal that can be spotted grazing grasses, cereals, root vegetables, tree bark and shoots on farmland, heathland and grasslands. It can also be found on sand dunes and moorland, at woodland edges, on roadside verges, and in towns and cities. Rabbits live in large groups in extensive underground burrow systems known as 'warrens'. They are famous breeders; females, known as 'does', produce one litter of between three and seven young every month during the breeding season (January to August). Rabbits are prey for a variety of animals, including stoats, buzzards, polecats and red foxes.

How to identify

The rabbit is grey-brown in colour, with long ears and hind legs, and a fluffy white tail. It is smaller than the brown hare and does not have black tips on its ears.

Distribution

Widespread.

Did you know?

The rabbit is native to Spain and was introduced to this country by the Normans in the 12th century to provide food and fur.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts work closely with farmers and landowners to ensure that our wildlife is protected and to promote wildlife-friendly practices. By working together, we can create Living Landscapes: networks of habitats stretching across town and country that allow wildlife to move about freely and people to enjoy the benefits of nature. Support this greener vision for the future by joining your local Wildlife Trust.