MSD Manual

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Professional Version

Overview of Rabbits

By

Joerg Mayer

, DVM, DABVP (ECM), DECZM, DACZM, Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia

Medically Reviewed Jul 2021 | Modified Oct 2022

The European or Old World rab`bit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is the only genus of domestic rabbits. Wild rabbits and hares include cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus spp) and the “true” hares or jackrabbits (Lepus spp). Rabbits have been bred for fur, meat, wool, exhibition (shows), and for use as laboratory animals. The closest relative to the rabbit is the pika (Ochotona spp), are two species which live in mountainous areas in Asia and in North America. Rabbits are classified as lagomorphs, not rodents.

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