Rabbits are small mammals that belong to the same family as hares and jackrabbits. They are best known for their large ears, ability to hop or jump and rapid rate of breeding. Throughout history they have also been an important source of meat and fur, although the popularity of these rabbit products has declined in recent years. There are many different species of rabbit and some of these have been domesticated as pets. Keep reading to find out more about the distribution and habitat of these species.
Where do rabbits live?
More than half of the entire population of rabbits can be found in North America where many species are found natively. Rabbits can also be found natively in parts of Europe, Southeast Asia, Sumatra, Japan, Africa and South America.
Rabbits will live in a variety of different habitats including forests, woodlands, meadows, deserts, wetlands and grassland. Rabbits usually live in groups and choose locations based on the availability of suitable food. The European rabbit is one of the best known species and is well known for living underground in a burrow.
The European rabbit has been introduced into many other countries where it is not a native species. In many of these countries the rabbit is considered to be a pest because they damage land, eat crops and reproduce rapidly. Australia and New Zealand are two countries that have been negatively impacted by the introduction of rabbits. The spread of rabbits in Australia is the fastest recorded spread of any mammal in the world! To combat the problem the myxomatosis virus was released into the Australian rabbit population. Although this reduced the numbers considerably the surviving rabbits became immune to the virus and the number of rabbits is again increasing.