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The bunny that hippity-hopped into most of our homes this past weekend was made of chocolate, and once spotted, lost its ears. But if we look out the window throughout the Midwest, it’s not hard to spot the real ones bouncing around gardens and parks as more than half of the world’s rabbit population lives in North America.

Bunny is an informal name for rabbit. Rabbits live in groups and wander meadows, forests, grasslands, wetlands, and even desserts. They are herbivores, feeding on grass and seemingly, all of our favorite garden flowers. They also eat large amounts of cellulose. Interestingly, rabbits are incapable of vomiting.

Rabbits, except for cottontail rabbits, are born blind and hairless and live underground. They are most active at dawn and dusk and will sleep more than 8 hours, often with their eyes open watching for predators. These little guys can live 9-12 years if left unharmed.

Although rabbits and hares are both in the family, Leporidae, they belong to two separate species. Hares are born with fur and good vision and are typically larger, have longer ears, and larger hind legs than rabbits. And they do not burrow as rabbits do. Rather they make nests in grass.

Rabbits are often domesticated but hares are not.

©2014, Mary K. Doyle

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