Thursday, October 22, 2009

RABBITS! Part 1

Rabbits are cute furry, hopping animals with long ears.  They are especially yummy for dogs and coyotes and wolves and eagles and even people to eat.  Oh, but I just want to say to my buddy Trouble the Bunny that I would never think of eating him because he's way too nice!

There are rabbits in many parts of the world, including Europe and Japan and Africa.  The kind of rabbit we have here in Missouri is called the Eastern Cottontail.  This name is pretty silly because a rabbit's tail is not really made of cotton, but maybe somebody thought they were being clever when they gave the cottontail that name.

Most kinds of rabbits live in a hole that they dig in the ground.  This hole is called a burrow.  If you string a bunch of burrows together, it's called a warren.  If a dog digs a hole in the ground, it's called "No!  No!  Bad dog!"

Eastern Cottontails do not live in burrows.  I guess it is too much trouble for them to dig a big long hole, so the mama rabbit just digs a little nest and puts grass and fur inside it to make it soft and warm for the babies. Mom has found these bunny nests several times in the dog yards at the shelter.  I think it is very stupid of a rabbit to make a nest in a place where there is dog poop all around, which is kind of a big clue that lots of dogs live there.  Rabbits are not really known for their smartness, though, except for Bugs Bunny.  But I will wait until tomorrow to talk about him.



Anyway, earlier this summer, Mel found a rabbit nest right in our own back yard!  He went out and found the nest first thing in the morning, and it was under the ornamental grass.  We have lots of rabbits in our yard, especially at nighttime, but we never had a nest there before.  Mom thinks it happened because she was a little too lazy about getting the grass mowed.  Dogs are not supposed to be able to smell the baby bunnies because they don't have any scent until they get older.  And the mama rabbit stays away from the babies except when she feeds them.  But somehow Mel found the nest and he dug it up and if there were any baby bunnies there, he ate them all up before we even knew he had found a nest.  And then he ate his breakfast, too, which goes to show that Mel is always hungry!


Sometimes in the mornings when we go outside in the yard, there is bunny poop for us to eat, which makes us very happy.  When I was doing some rabbit research, I was shocked to learn that rabbits make TWO KINDS OF POOP!  Of course, dogs make two kinds of poop, too -- regular poop and diarrhea -- but that's not what I'm talking about.  See, what happens is that rabbits eat lots of plants, such as grass and clover and Mom's flowers, and it's hard to digest all these plants.  So after they eat, the rabbits make some soft poop which they then eat right up again.  This way everything they eat goes through twice so that all the good stuff gets sucked out of it by the rabbit's body.  And after that, the rabbit poops out whatever is left over in little hard pellet poop.  This is the poop that we dogs like to eat, but I'll bet we'd like the soft poop even better if the rabbits didn't already eat it up themselves.

Sometimes rabbits are called "bunnies," and now I will explain why they are called that.  The word bunny comes from a Scottish dialect word bun, which means "stump" or "bottom" or "the hind part of a rabbit or squirrel."  So "buns" are like "buttocks," which is the word that Americans use.  Except that "buns" is a cuter word.

You may have also heard of a "hare," which is a different type of rabbit that has long ears and long legs.  A jackrabbit is a hare, but we don't have jackrabbits here where I live.  They tend to like to live west of here.  And also in places like Texas.

Well, tomorrow I will tell you more about rabbits, including The Year of the Rabbit and Rabbits in Art.  So don't forget to come back and read my blog again tomorrow!

3 comments:

  1. Great info - thank you. Although...I did sort of make a funny face when reading about the bunnies eating their poop and then re-pooping! Ha! We have lots of little rabbits in my area...and I love watching them.

    :( sad day...kind of....went over to Panera's but no kitty/Wills....I told myself probably cause it's raining and he's staying in a dry place (I hope). There's always tomorrow - :)!
    Love, AP

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  2. Dear Aunt Patty,
    I'm sure that Wills the kitty is just staying dry, which is the only sensible thing to do in this wretched rainy weather! Maybe you will see him tomorrow. I'm glad you liked the interesting information I wrote about rabbit pooping habits!
    Love, Piper

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