European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus)


Distribution of the European Rabbit


The exact origin of the European Rabbit, also known as the Old World Rabbit, is unclear, but scientific evidence makes it appear that after the end of the last glacial period, the rabbits were only found only on the Iberian Peninsula.  Because of their quick breeding habits, they quickly spread west to some Mediterranean countries as well as other parts or Europe.

The Ancient Greek historian Polybius, was the first to refer to the European Rabbit while writing Corsica.  He noted that there were burrowing animals on the island, which resembled small hares.  He called these animals kunikloi.  It is thought however that rabbits entered human history probably when the Phoenicians landed on the shores of Spain.

The European Rabbit was eventually given a scientific name in Latin, Oryctolagus cuniculus.  Cuniculus means underground tunnel/burrow/hole; rabbit.  If you put them together you come up with the burrowing rabbit.



Speaking of burrows click on to learn about the rabbit's habitat
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