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If you ask any of the 3 million Americans who own rabbits as pets if they could call their rabbits bunnies, you’ll get a mixed response. Here in the US, the two are used interchangeably, but if you were to ask a UK rabbit owner the same question, they would tell you that a bunny is a baby rabbit, and an adult is simply a rabbit. But there is a little more than that simplified age-based difference.

Often the word bunny is also used in the US as a term of endearment, while the rabbit is more likely to be used when discussing the animal as a whole. In addition, some people believe that bunnies are cuter than rabbits and have taken on the image in popular culture as being cuddly and adorable, while rabbits are seen as more standoffish.

Rabbits were domesticated around the 5th century in the Iberian Peninsula in southern France. Monks were the first to domesticate them and used them for their meat and fur. They were then brought to the UK in the 12th century by the Normans and became popular as pets in Victorian times.

The word bunny most likely came about as a derivative of the Dutch word “bunte,” which means “little rabbit.” As bunnies are often associated with childhood and Easter, they have taken on a more whimsical image in the US.

How they look; Bunny vs Rabbit:

Bunnies are young and appear very small and laid back and are calm compared to rabbits. You’ll see bunnies chilling with ears lopped and crouched-down, while rabbits are more upright with standing ears and are super active. Bunnies also have shorter tails than rabbits.

Rabbits on the other hand are adults and mostly look bigger than bunnies and are known to be active, standing upright and ready to move at any moment. They have long tails that they use to signal their feelings.

The images below show the difference more clearly;

An image of a bunny:

An image of a rabbit:

The two images below should tell you why people think bunnies are cute and rabbits being regular pets – who are still considered great and somewhat cute pets.

But there are soo many rabbit breeds.

Some people believe that all rabbits look the same, but there are actually over 50 breeds of domestic rabbits! Some popular types include the Mini Lop and Holland Lop.

I actually think the Holland Lop breed is super cute with their super large lopped ears. They are miniature rabbit breeds that perhaps can be confused more for bunnies as small with fluffy coats and calm behavior.

For these ‘bunny-like’ behaviors, Holland Lop is the most popular rabbit breed in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Origin of word bunny and rabbit:

According to Oxford Dictionary, the word bunny first appeared in the English language in the 17th century as a term of endearment to a person. Other dialects used squirrel rabbit, or just rabbit to refer to bunny.

The word rabbit has been in use since the 14th century, coming from the Anglo-Norman rabete and the Old French robez. It is thought to be derived from the Latin rabbus, meaning “strong” or “powerful,” as rabbits were known for their high reproductive rates.

The word appeared in late Middle English from Old French as a dialect rabotte or ‘young rabbit’ Robbe, from the Germanic form *rabuz, probably of Celtic origin.

Enough of word-origin differences between a rabbit and a bunny.

What is a bunny, rabbit and hare?

A bunny is a young rabbit, though not the official name of a young rabbit. Bunny is a word also used as a term of endearment, especially for children.

A rabbit is an adult rodent with long ears and is in the same family as hares. They are known for their high reproductive rates and have been domesticated since the 5th century.

A hare is a wild member of the rabbit family and is larger than a rabbit. Hares are born with fur and are able to see and run shortly after birth, while rabbits are born blind and hairless.

Bottom line:

An adult rabbit is simply called a rabbit. It’s the same as saying an adult human is just a human, or an adult cat is just a cat. When people say “rabbit,” they usually mean the common

As we highlight the differences between a bunny and a rabbit, it is important to point out that the two are the same species. A bunny is simply a baby rabbit, while a rabbit is an adult of the species.

When rabbits are born, they are altricial, which means they are born blind and hairless. This makes them very vulnerable, and they require a lot of care from their mothers. At two weeks old, bunnies start to grow their fur and open their eyes.

Rabbits reach sexual maturity at around three to four months old, at which point they are considered adults. Baby rabbits are called kittens, while adult male rabbits are called bucks and adult female rabbits are called does.

All bunnies are rabbits but not all rabbits are bunnies:

To put it simply, all bunnies are rabbits but not all rabbits are bunnies. A bunny is a baby rabbit while a rabbit is an adult of the species.

Baby rabbits are actually formally called kittens, just like cats. Once they reach adult size and weight, around six months old, they are then referred to as rabbits.

Which one is bigger, Rabbit, bunny or hare?

In general, hares are larger than rabbits. Hares also have longer hind legs which give them a greater leaping ability. When running, hares also keep their long ears tilted back so that they can hear predators coming from behind them.

Rabbits, on the other hand, have shorter hind legs and their long ears are always erect. When running, they thump their hind legs on the ground which gives them a distinctive sound that helps warn other rabbits of danger.

So, in terms of size, bunny refers to the smallest rabbit while hare refers to the largest member of the rabbit family.

Do all bunnies live in warrens?

No, not all bunnies live in warrens. In fact, most bunnies actually live solitary lives. However, there are some species of rabbits that do live in warrens.

Warrens are complexes of underground tunnels and chambers that are used by rabbits for shelter and raising their young. The warren is usually home to several families of rabbits and can be quite extensive, with some warrens covering more than a hectare of land.

So, while not all bunnies live in warrens, some do. It really depends on the species of rabbit.

Are all rabbits herbivores?

Yes, all rabbits are herbivores. This means that they only eat plants, and not meat.

Rabbits are actually very efficient at digesting plant matter. They have a large intestine that is specially adapted for breaking down plant cellulose.

This allows them to extract a lot of nutrients from the plants they eat, which is why rabbits are able to live on a diet that is mostly plant-based.

So, while all rabbits are herbivores, they are still able to get the nutrients they need from plants.

Do all rabbits like carrots?

No, not all rabbits like carrots. In fact, some rabbits actually prefer other vegetables, such as lettuce or celery.

It is thought that the preference for carrots is actually a myth that started with the rabbits in Bugs Bunny cartoons. In reality, rabbits will eat a variety of vegetables, and each rabbit will have its own preferences.

There is a common misconception that rabbits and hares are different animals. In fact, they are the same species. The only difference is that hares are born with fur and can see, while rabbits are born blind and hairless.

Are all rabbits social animals?

No, not all rabbits are social animals. While some species of rabbits live in groups, others prefer to live solitary lives.

Rabbits that live in groups are called colonial, while those that live alone are called solitary.

The type of rabbit will determine whether it is social or not. For example, the Belgian Hare is a colonial rabbit while the American Rabbit is a solitary rabbit.

Rabbits, Hare, and Bunnies are not nocturnal, they are Crepuscular:

One key similarity of rabbits, hares, and bunnies is that they are all crepuscular animals. This means that they are most active at dawn and dusk.

While rabbits, hares, and bunnies are all active during the day, they tend to be more active at dawn and dusk. This is when they are able to find the most food and avoid predators.

Rabbits are small mammals and bunnies are small rabbits:

All rabbits are small mammals, but not all small mammals are rabbits. For example, rats and mice are also small mammals. A mammal is an animal that is warm-blooded and has fur or hair.

The term bunny is often used to describe a young rabbit. However, technically, a bunny is any rabbit that is less than 8 weeks old and by extension also mammals.

When to use the term rabbit:

The term rabbit can be used to describe any member of the family, including hares and bunnies and should be used in all formal writing in topics such as rabbit breeding, rabbit care, rabbit breed and more.

When referring to a specific species of rabbit, it is best to use the scientific name. For example, the European Rabbit is Oryctolagus cuniculus while the American Rabbit is Sylvilagus floridanus.

When writing informally about rabbits, bunnies, and hares, any of the terms can be used interchangeably.

When to use bunny:

The term bunny is generally used to describe a young rabbit and here in the States, it is used to show affection or endearment to others. For example, “Aww, look at that cute little bunny!”

In the UK, however, the term bunny is not used as much and is often seen as a bit silly or childish. In most countries, the word ‘bunny’ is being used unofficially to refer to hares and rabbits.

If you are writing any informal article about rabbits, feel free to use the term bunny. Just remember that it is not the correct term to use in all situations.

When to use hare:

The term hare is used to describe a species of rabbit that is larger in size and has longer legs. Hares change the color from brown or gray in the summer to white in the winter while rabbits’ fur stays the same all year-round. In terms of food, hares eat mostly plants while rabbits eat mostly grass – slight difference but worth noting.

If you are writing about a specific species of hare, it is best to use the scientific name. For example, the European Brown Hare is Lepus europaeus while the Mountain Hare is Lepus timidus. The African Hare’s scientific name is Lepus capensis

In general, the term hare can be used interchangeably with the term rabbit. However, if you are writing about a specific species of hare, it is best to use the scientific name.

What is the difference between bunny vs rabbit?

The main difference between a bunny and a rabbit is that the word rabbit with Dutch origins is incorrectly used as a synonym for the word bunny with Germanic origins. On the other hand, bunnies are used as an endearment.

What is an endearment?

Endearment is the act of making someone or something more likable, lovable, or dear. It is often used in the form of affectionate words or actions.

For example, “Aww, look at that cute little bunny!” would be an example of using the word bunny as an endearment.

To give you a good idea of the difference, take the use of bunny and rabbit in this case of endearment.

You can’t say “Aww, look at that cute little rabbit!” because the word rabbit is not seen as being as cute or lovable as the word bunny. Although, the word ‘rabbit’ is technically still considered with affection and love and are used in various parts of the world as endearment.

Summary: Bunny vs Rabbit

When trying to decide whether to use the word bunny or rabbit, keep these key points in mind:

-Bunnies are young rabbits while rabbits can be of any age.

-The term bunny is used as an endearment while the term rabbit is not.

-The term rabbit is used more often when referring to the family as a whole while the term bunny is used more informally.

-The term hare is used when referring to a larger species of rabbit with longer legs.

-In most cases, the terms can be used interchangeably. Just remember that if you are writing about a specific species of hare, rabbit, or bunny, it is best to use the scientific name.

Do all rabbits live in warrens?

No, not all rabbits live in warrens. In fact, most bunnies actually live

Rabbits are not nocturnal, but they are crepuscular. This means that they are most active at dawn and dusk.

Rabbits are relatively inactive during the day and night. However, they will occasionally come out to forage for food or stretch their legs.

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