The baby rabbit is one of those baby animals who is called by a different name than that of the adult ones. It states clearly that a baby rabbit is not called a rabbit. But a scientific name for both the young and the adult rabbit is the same that is Oryctolagus cuniculus.
Many children grow up calling the baby rabbit a “bunny”; however, the word bunny is only an unofficial name, or we can say a nickname for rabbits that is used to call them out of affection. So, if a baby rabbit is neither referred to as rabbit nor the bunny, what do we call it then?
The rabbit was used to call the baby rabbit in old times. Now, “Kitten” is the proper English word for the baby rabbit, the same word which is used to call the baby cats. The word kitten is sometimes abbreviated to kit or may be altered to the word kittie.
Many rabbit kittens are born in a nest at the same time from the same mother rabbit. We call these babies kittens up to almost nine months of age. After this duration, they are no longer babies but fully grown adults.
Newborn rabbits are naked and blind, unable to move on their own, and are fully reliant on their mother for warmth and nutrition.
Why Are Baby Rabbits Called Kittens?
Well! There is no logical explanation for this question. The rabbit babies are called kits or kittens, and the name is common to both rabbits and cats.
But it isn’t known why they share a common name, maybe because the word kitten or kittie sounds cute and is suitable for the cute fluffy baby of the cat and the rabbit (lol). The real similarity is that both are mammals and are born in a litter.
Some people believe that the common name for both the cat and the rabbit is because they share a common ancestor. But this explanation is just like the same if I say that a human and potato are related because they share a common ancestor, and both have evolved from bacteria.
Scientifically speaking, the cat and the rabbit belong to two different mammalian orders. Rabbits belong to the family Leporidae of the order Lagomorpha, whereas the cats belong to the family Felidae of the order Carnivora. The cat is a carnivore, whereas the rabbit is a herbivore.
The rabbit has a short gestation period compared to cats; rabbits live in burrows while cats do not. The rabbits are originally wild animals, whereas cats had long been kept as pets, and the list of differences is much longer than this.
Why Are Baby Rabbits Called Bunnies?
The term bunny was first used in the meaning of love and affection. Later on, the same word bunny was used to represent a victim or a person who has been deceived or cheated. Whatever the case was of its origin, the word bunny fits for a rabbit very well.
Rabbit is a prey animal when we see its position in a food chain. It lies below secondary consumers showing that predators can devour them as a tasty treat. So, it fits in the definition of a victim. In the case of the meaning love and affection of the word bunny, we do love pets.
In fact, everyone does so. They are affectionate animals who make friends with their owners real quick and are loved by adults and kids alike.
The question is, how did the name bunny come into use for baby rabbits? The European rabbits were actually called coney. But the term was more commonly used for pikas, who are small animals that are pig-like in their appearance and are the cousins of rabbits.
When one studies their taxonomic classification, one comes to know that they belong to the same order but different species. The term coney is still used in business language to indicate rabbit fur. Later the term was changed to the bunny.
Now baby rabbits are called bunnies because it’s a cute name just like the creature and shows more love and affection than other names.
Then there comes the tale of Easter, in which children prepared nests for an easter bunny. Actually, it was called easter hare, but the people didn’t find the name cute enough and changed it to easter bunny. They think both the hares and the bunnies are the same. No, my dear, that’s not how it is.
Let’s go through a bit of zoology to understand the basic difference between these two. The rabbits and hares belong to the same family but not the same species. They have a similar physique with longer ears and stronger hind legs. But there are more differences such as larger bodies and faster pace of hares.
Unlike rabbit babies, the time female hare gives birth to its babies; they do have fur with their eyes open.In contrast to a rabbit, the hare is an animal that is able to move around its nest just after some hours of its birth. Moreover, hares don’t burrow, while both the wild and the domesticated rabbits do.But here comes an exception of American rabbit from the rabbit community that doesn’t burrow.
In addition to these interesting facts, the word bunny was used to refer to a young girl in the past.
Are Baby Hares Called With the Same Name?
No, baby hares are not called kittens or bunnies like rabbit babies; in fact, they are called leverets.
Other Rabbit Terminologies
Rabbit females are called does.
A male rabbit is called a buck.
Lagomorph is the order of the mammals to which the rabbit belongs. This order accommodates three types of animals, including rabbits, hares, and pikas.
The group of baby rabbits born from the same animal at the same time is called litter. Usually, it contains one to twelve kits with an average of five.
The mother of the same young rabbits belonging to the same group is called a dam.
The father of the same young rabbits belonging to the same group is called a sire.
It is a tunnel or a hole dug by rabbits for shelter. Rabbits dig burrows in the wild to save themselves and their baby rabbits from predators whenever they sense danger, have to give birth to kits, or want to have a comfy sleep.
Rabbits living together in a burrow are called warren. Warren is usually not a single tunnel but a series of tunnels interconnected, with the width varying according to the number of rabbits living together.
The parturition process in rabbits is called kindling. The gestation period in rabbis is usually 30-35 days.
Weaning is when the baby bunny stops feeding on the mother’s milk and starts to rely on the adult diet. The baby rabbits are usually weaned between 4-6 weeks after they are born, but the time of weaning may vary according to the breed of the bunny.