The habitats of the domestic rabbit (our pets) have changed dramatically from the preferences of their wild rabbit ancestors. Sadly, not for the better.
A rabbit’s range depends on the species but typically a wild rabbit can be found on every continent in the world. As far as wild rabbits go, the only place they can not be found in Antarctica. They are also not native to Australia.
A wild rabbits habitat can range from prairies and meadows to thickets and farmland to woods, forests, and taiga, grassland, and moorlands.
Rabbits are very durable and have adapted to most weather conditions too.
Our clever little wild bunnies can also be found in the heat of the desert in the sand dunes and the edge of beaches and braving the bleak, cold, biting winds of the tundra. (However, the rabbits in the tundra are not really rabbits they are hares, a completely different species.)
You can find Arctic Hares and Snowshoe Rabbits (actually hares), in the really cold climates of the artic.
In general, wild rabbits like to have firm dirt to dig in, shrubs to hide in and shade to cool down in.
Cottontail rabbits live in forests, in fields and grasslands, and even sand dunes.
Cottontails mainly live above ground like hares. Most can be found in mountainous areas but can actually be found all over the US and Europe. There are even Desert cottontails in Arizona.
This is the species all pet rabbits were bred from. They live in the Mediterranean region and are native to southwestern Europe (Spain and Portugal), but can also be found in northwest Africa (Morocco and Algeria). The European rabbit prefers grassland habitats.
Rabbits are largely crepuscular. This means they are most active at dawn and dusk, although they can be seen active during the day.
Rabbits prefer to spend their days in vegetated areas where they have some protection from predators. At night, they move into open land to feed.
Wild rabbits make their homes in places that are close to a source of food and away from their enemies. Most of the vegetation found around a warren is normally short due to being frequently fed on by the rabbits.
Rabbit populations are the highest in ecotone habitats (transition area between two communities) and less in scrublands or grasslands.
Wild rabbits only defenses include good eyesight, excellent hearing, and the ability to run fast.
Their fast reproduction rates compensate for heavy losses due to predation.
Females can breed at 3 months of age and have multiple litters in a year. The young stay in the nest for only about 2 weeks before venturing off.
Rabbits are very friendly and love the company of other rabbits. They naturally live in groups which are called colonies and create a burrow system which is called a warren.
Most rabbits live in the ground, in burrows or warrens. Hares and cottontail rabbits live in nests above the ground and are not normally found living in groups.
Most rabbit warrens are 9 feet deep and one warren can have many entrances. They are almost always dug and created by the females.
The inside of a warren is a maze of tunnels. The rabbits use these tunnels as nesting chambers to raise their babies and living quarters.
Rabbits Habitat Predators
The poor old Ecotone rabbits are preyed on by carnivores and many types of birds of prey.
Pet Rabbits Habitat
Let’s not forget a rabbit’s habitat can also be your backyard, garden, the local city field, and even your home.
They will live in a hutch on your lawn or in your garden, sometimes in their own run and often indoors. It’s widely recommended that pet rabbits are kept indoors because there’re many dangers outside. They can be house trained and wander around your house safely all day.