Portal:Rabbits and hares

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The rabbits and hares portal

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Rabbits are small mammals in the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha (along with the hare and the pika). Oryctolagus cuniculus includes the European rabbit species and its descendants, the world's 305 breeds of domestic rabbit. Sylvilagus includes thirteen wild rabbit species, among them the seven types of cottontail. The European rabbit, which has been introduced on every continent except Antarctica, is familiar throughout the world as a wild prey animal and as a domesticated form of livestock and pet. With its widespread effect on ecologies and cultures, the rabbit (or bunny) is, in many areas of the world, a part of daily life—as food, clothing, and companion, and as a source of artistic inspiration.

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Hares and jackrabbits are leporids belonging to the genus Lepus. Hares are classified into the same family as rabbits. They are similar in size and form to rabbits and eat the same diet. They are generally herbivorous and long-eared, they are fast runners, and they typically live solitarily or in pairs. Hare species are native to Africa, Eurasia, North America, and the Japanese archipelago.

Five leporid species with "hare" in their common names are not considered true hares: the hispid hare (Caprolagus hispidus), and four species known as red rock hares (comprising Pronolagus). Meanwhile, jackrabbits are hares rather than rabbits.

A hare less than one year old is called a leveret. The collective noun for a group of hares is a "drove".

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Still life by Johann Georg Seitz

Rabbits and hares in art have variable mythological and artistic meanings in different cultures. The hare is often associated with moon deities and signifies rebirth and resurrection. It is a symbol of fertility and sensuality, and appears in depictions of hunting and spring scenes in the Labours of the Months. Joseph Beuys, who always found a place for a rabbit in his works, saw it as symbolizing resurrection. The Welsh sculptor Barry Flanagan was best known for his energetic bronzes of hares which he produced throughout his career.

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Angora rabbit
The Angora rabbit (Turkish: Ankara tavşanı) is a variety of domestic rabbit bred for its long, soft wool. The Angora is one of the oldest types of domestic rabbit, originating in Ankara, Turkey, along with the Angora cat and Angora goat. The rabbits were popular pets with French royalty in the mid 18th century, and spread to other parts of Europe by the end of the century. They first appeared in the United States in the early 20th century. They are bred largely for their long Angora wool, which may be removed by shearing, combing, or plucking. There are many individual breeds of Angora rabbits, four of which are ARBA-recognized.

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Anita Brookner, sharing her insights
on the fable The Tortoise and the Hare

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Reversible figure optical illusion — is it a duck or a rabbit? ...or a duck? ...or a rabbit?
The rabbit–duck illusion is an ambiguous image first published in the German humor magazine Fliegende Blätter in 1892. It can either be interpreted as the head of a duck (facing left) or a rabbit (facing right). Joseph Jastrow (1863–1944), an American psychologist, noted for inventions in experimental psychology, design of experiments, and psycho-physics, popularized this image and was once considered its creator. The German Fraktur text reads Welche Thiere gleichen einander am meisten? ("Which two animals look most alike?")—Kaninchen und Ente. ("Rabbit and duck.")


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At a German rabbit show


Did you know…

  • … that a female rabbit is called a doe?
  • … that ARBA has over 24,000 members?
  • … that hares sleep during the day and are active at night?

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