Rabbits. Bunnies. Bunny rabbits. Kittens? It seems that the fluffy creature belonging to the Leporidae family multiples its monikers almost as quickly as its population size. All the various names may make us wonder if there’s a correct way to identify a group of rabbits. For example, are some of them informal nicknames while others are scientific classifications? Let’s take a look.
What Do You Call a Group of Rabbits?
A group of wild rabbits living together is typically referred to as a colony or a herd. Rabbits are social animals. In the wild, they live in underground burrows called warrens. A group of rabbits living in a particular warren may actually be called a warren, but colony is still technically correct. However, newborn rabbits who haven’t yet moved from their birthplace are more likely to be called a nest.
What’s the Difference Between a Rabbit and a Bunny?
A bunny is an informal name for a small rabbit. Technically speaking, “kit” or “kitten” is the correct scientific word to refer to baby rabbits, not “bunny.” Similarly, a group of bunnies born at the same time from the same mother may be called a litter of kittens. However, for those of us who also love cats, the term “kitten” probably doesn’t bring Peter Rabbit to mind, which is probably why “bunny” became so popular. A group of bunnies—or young rabbits—is actually called a “fluffle” in conversation. How adorable!
Is There a Difference Between a Rabbit and a Hare?
While the rabbit congregates in underground burrows with their friends and family, the hare spends its days isolated in nests above ground. The social differences between a rabbit and a hare provide the most striking difference between the two groups. But maybe you see a creature wandering around your backyard and don’t have time to study their behaviors. Can you still tell the difference between a rabbit and a hare at a glance? Yes, you can.
The word rabbit was derived from the French word “rabbotte” which translates to “young rabbit.” These days the term rabbit doesn’t give us any information about the animal’s life stage but is the adoptive English word for them.
The word for hare is derived from the Old English word “hara” which means “gray.” Hares tend to be larger than rabbits with gray fur, longer ears, and thicker hind legs for running and kicking. No wonder the hare thought he could beat the tortoise.
Rabbits and hares are still closely related. Both belong to the family Leporidae and the order Lagomorpha. However, they are completely separate species, and cannot be bred together.
Although there are plenty of names floating around for rabbits and hares, there are some subtle differences among all of them. For example, bunny is probably the most common term for a young rabbit, but if you’re talking to a scientist, you’ll want to refer to them as “kits” or “kittens.” A group of rabbits is known as a colony or a herd, but sometimes people refer to them as warrens. If you get a “wild hare” and decide to buy a rabbit, you should probably get two since they’re social animals. However, given their high reproduction rates, you’ll want to get them spayed and neutered unless you want a fluffle of bunnies or kittens on your hands.