How much do you know about your pet rabbit? The more you know, the better you can look after your pet. One of the things you may be wondering is; are rabbits mammals?
It may seem a bit weird to think of a bunny as being in the same animal class as humans. We look very different from a rabbit! But it’s important to remember that mammals do not necessarily look alike. They just share some of the same characteristics.
Mammals are very different from each other in other ways which is why they are split into different families and orders.
Let’s take a look at what makes a mammal a mammal and how we can tell whether rabbits are part of that class of animals.
What makes a mammal a mammal?
If we’re going to answer the question “are rabbits mammals?”, it helps to first know what a mammal actually is!
Mammals are animals that share some characteristics: All mammals are warm blooded, have a backbone and are covered in fur or hair. Female mammals have mammary glands to feed their young until they are weaned.
Are rabbits mammals?
If you have a rabbit as a pet you’ll be able to see that is has all of the above characteristics.
Rabbits are mammals of the family leporidae, and the order lagomorpha, along with hares.
Female rabbits and their young
As we’ve said, female rabbits have mammary glands, the same as all other mammals.
After a female bunny (a doe) gives birth, the babies suckle at the mammary glands to get their milk and stay nourished. It’s important that baby rabbits are allowed to do this until they are old enough to be weaned. This can happen anywhere from four to six weeks after they are born. If you are thinking of breeding rabbits then you should remember that it can be distressing if all does not go to plan. Around 50% of baby rabbits do not live past the weaning process.
You should also only breed rabbits if you’re sure you have the time and the knowledge and you know you have good homes for the baby rabbits to go to. It’s very important not to bring unwanted baby rabbits into the world.
It may be a surprise to you that rabbits are mammals. This means that your pet has something in common with you! As a class of animals, mammals all have a connection even though they all look very different.
As we mentioned earlier, rabbits are part of the lagomorpha order of mammals. Hares and pika are also part of this order and they do look like rabbits. The lagomorpha order is closely related to rodents and you can probably see that rats and rabbits have some facial features that are similar.
As you break down the class of mammals into families and orders you start to see more similarities. Lagomorphs are very common in the mammal world and can be found on every continent except Antarctica.
So in answer to the question “are rabbits mammals?”; yes they are. They share some characteristics with other mammals, including humans, but they have more in common with mammals in the same or closely related families.