Oryctolagus – European rabbit

Known for their ability to dig extensive tunnel systems called warrens with several entrances and exits

This genus includes the European rabbit, a small mammal that humans have widely spread across many parts of the world. Originally from the Iberian Peninsula and southern France, these rabbits are now found in various regions, including Australia, New Zealand, and parts of the Americas. This spread has happened due to their popularity as pets and use for food and fur. The European rabbit is well known for its adaptability to different environments, from grasslands and forests to urban areas.

Physically, rabbits in this genus are small, with soft fur, long ears, and a short, fluffy tail. Their fur is typically grey-brown, but domestic breeds can come in many colors and patterns. Their strong hind legs allow them to hop quickly, which is important for escaping predators. They also have sharp teeth that continuously grow, which they keep short by chewing on plants and other materials.

Rabbits in this genus are herbivores, meaning they eat plants. Their diet includes grasses, herbs, and leafy plants. They also eat the bark of trees, roots, and twigs, especially in winter when other food is scarce. Rabbits have a special way of digesting their food. They produce two types of droppings: hard pellets and soft ones called cecotropes. They eat the cecotropes to digest their food a second time and get more nutrients. This process is important for their health and survival.