The European Rabbit, also popular as Coney is a species of rabbit, native to northwest Africa and southwestern Europe. They are known for being the most destructive environmental vertebrate pests. Their browsing and digging results in loss of vegetation cover.
Small in size, they create a devastating impact on biodiversity. Let’s find out some more information about this invasive mammal.
Genus: Oryctolagus Lilljeborg, 1873
Species: O. cuniculus
These rabbits are identified by their long floppy ears, long jumping gait, and a short tail. Grey-brown in color, the underside of these rabbits are completely white.
They have small black color eyes that make them look adorable. Male rabbits weigh more than the female ones. Their usual weight ranges somewhere between 1200-2000 grams. Their length is not more than 16 inches and hindfoot stretches to a length of 8-10cm. The guard hairs of these rabbits are brown and black in texture. They also have long whiskers and a short tail that has a white underside.
Let’s find out their behavioral traits;
European rabbits are capable of establishing in new areas because of their ability to reproduce quickly.
European rabbits need a high-quality diet that should comprise 40 percent fiber and 10-12 percent protein. They are known to be selective grazers, eating plants or parts of plants with a high level of nutritional content.
Unlike other rabbits, these species eat a wide variety of herbage, especially grasses and fescues. During summer, European rabbit feeds on grass swards. As they are a less fuzzy eater, when eating, they eat them whole. Although herbivorous, European rabbits are found eating snails. During winter, the species can even survive without food.
They prefer staying in areas that provide them shelter from predators. Thus, they are mostly seen near scrub trees, boulders, and woodlands. The area should have soft soil so that they can dig burrows. The area they choose needs to be open for the foraging of grasses and cereals for food.
European rabbits are mostly found in several parts of southwestern Europe including Portugal, Spain, and western France. Their population is also huge in northwest Africa including Algeria and Morocco.
These rabbits are known for having a high reproductive capability. Their population increases very fast. The breeding period starts in autumn and continues till summer. They become sexually active at the age of three to four years. They give birth to four-six kittens, born blind, deaf and naked. Babies are kept in nesting burrows till the period they start walking. Mating can start immediately after giving birth.
European rabbits can live up to 9 years in the wild.
The European rabbit is prey to many species like a fox, wolf, wolverine, dogs, etc. these predators can kill both young and adult rabbits by surprising them. European rabbits are smart enough to get caught by these species as they can run faster. Foxes and badgers even dig out kittens from burrows and kill them. Even brown rats are considered a serious threat to kittens.
Take a glance at some of the interesting facts about this cute little mammal;
In the year 2005, the Portuguese Institute of Conservation and Forests declared this species as “near threatened”. In the year 2008, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature reclassified this species as Near Threatened.
Here you can find out all about thousands of mammals, reptiles, birds, amphibians, and fishes walking, flying, and swimming the Earth.
© 2018 (Animals Planet). All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Designed and Developed by Bedanta Softech