Saturday, April 27, 2013


The ancestral species for Domestic Rabbits, European Rabbit is the only Rabbit of her kind. Originally living only in the Western Mediterranean area, European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus (which means “hare-like digger”)) was introduced throughout Europe by the Romans. Later the Normans bought Her to Great Britain. Because of her popularity as a food source, European Rabbit has been introduced places far from Europe. She was brought to hundred of islands as food for hungry sailors. Unfortunately now, European Rabbit is now considered a pest in Australia, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S.A. These countries now have programs to rid their lands of European Rabbit.

Unlike other Rabbits and Hares, European Rabbit is quite sociable, living in large colonies. Preferring to live close to home, She shares burrows with her Friends. Her colony (warren) is a network of tunnels, dens, bolt holes, and entrances to live in.

European Rabbit has ways of expressing her many moods in her colony. Her grunts mean, “I am unhappy. LEAVE ME ALONE.” When She is mad, European Rabbit thumps her hind feet. Feeling sassy, She will twitch her tail.

Christians associate much with European Rabbit. She stands for vigilance as well as dependence on Christ. There is an Easter Story of a young Rabbit who waited for his friend, Christ to return to the Garden of Gethsemane. After Christ rose, He returned to the Garden to visit his faithful little friend.

Because of European Rabbit’s social nature, She was domesticated as a pet for people. European Rabbit places trust in them to keep her safe. In the wild, She and her colony trust each other for security. A part of trust is faith as demonstrated by the Little Rabbit who waited for his Friend Jesus.

Conservation Note: It is illegal to own Rabbits in Australia and New Zealand.

European Rabbit Christian Symbols:
White one at Virgin Mary’s feet: Triumph over lust
Rabbit’s Warren: Christ’s Tomb
Rabbits munching on grapes: Saints in Heaven
Three Rabbits in a circle with their ears creating a shape of a triangle: Holy Spirit

Wednesday, April 17, 2013


Jackalope is an antlered species of Hare, native to the American West. An aggressive Hare, Jackalope is usually seen spearing Buffalo with his horns. Milk from Female Jackalopes is often sought by lonely people for its powers to attract mates. However, the only way to catch Jackalope is to lure Him with whiskey. Once intoxicated, He is slower and easier to hunt.

Besides Jackalope, other Horned Rabbits live in various places of the world -- Raurackl of Austria, Wolpertinger of Bavaria, Skvader of Sweden, and Dilldapp of Switzerland. In Asia, noted Persian scholar al-Qazurini (13th Century) wrote about the “al Muradj”, the Horned Hare. In addition, ancient texts of Buddhism hint at Buddha’s thoughts about Horned Rabbits.

Wolpertinger of Bavaria has a body of a rabbit, but with the feathered wings of a bird. Some of the other Horned Rabbits have fangs and antlers. Unlike Jackalope, They are very shy and hardly ever seen in the wild.

Jackalope and Horned Rabbits teach people about whimsy. Jackalope tells people to look at life less seriously, and to expect merriment every day. Somewhere in the mists of time and space, Jackalope and His Fellow Horned Rabbits romp with impunity and glee.

Note: Actually Horned Rabbits do exist. They are Rabbits with a virus that causes tumors to grow on their bodies. The tumors resemble horns.

Friday, April 12, 2013

JACKRABBIT: Having A Sense of Humor

One of the symbols of the American West, Jackrabbit lives in open areas such as grasslands and deserts.  Jackrabbit is actually the name for a Family of Hares-- Black-Tailed, White-Tailed, Antelope (the largest Hare in North America), and White-Sided. The biggest, fastest, and flashiest of this Family is Antelope Jackrabbit, who can outrun run everything except Antelope. Antelope Jackrabbit is also the source of Jackalope (horned rabbit) legends.

Jackrabbit got his name because of his long ears. These oversize ears allow Him to hear the faintest sounds, and as well as to stay cool during the hot day. Since He looked like a Mule, early European settlers called Him “Jackass Rabbit”.

Jackrabbit is well adapted to his life in the open. His brown fur provides camouflage against the vegetation. If spotted by Predators, Jackrabbit runs faster than Race Horse, and leaps over rocks and bushes to evade capture. His eyes on the sides of his head gives Jackrabbit all-around vision, and also help Him to spot danger from any direction.

Clever Jackrabbit zigzags across the desert, and dashes about confounding his pursuers. Often while being chased, He flashes a white patch on his rump. Most hunters say that this is to warn their Dogs that the chase is hopeless.

With his strange ears, Jackrabbit is one of the Animals of the American West that people often remember.  One joke that Westerners play on new people is to tell them about the Jackalope (a large Jackrabbit with Antelope horns). The Jackalope is often seen by people who have had too much to drink. Having a sense of humor is what Jackrabbit teaches people. Just don’t be too gullible, or you will be the object of ridicule.

Monday, April 08, 2013


Native to the Western Hemisphere, Cottontail Rabbit Sub-Family lives in a wide variety of habitats. Called “cottontail” because their tails resemble white cotton balls, this Sub-Family of Rabbits is also known as the “hares of the woods” (Sylvilogus). Cottontails can be found in marshes and swamps, such as Marsh Rabbit, who takes to water as readily as Duck. However, these “woods hares” are Rabbits, who spend much of their day concealed in a shallow form called a shelter. These small stocky Rabbits become active after sunset.

Cottontails have many strategies to escape. Their strong hind legs and bulgy eyes are assets in escaping and evading predators. Since They dislike being in the open, Cottontails will run quickly to find a hiding place. Unlike Hares, Cottontails are swift runners, and can easily zigzag away from predators. They flash their white tails to warn any other Rabbit remaining near by. When pursued by Coyote, Cottontails will run in circles, often jumping sideways to avoid leaving a scent trail. If necessary, Cottontail will bowl Ferret over by kicking Him with her powerful hind legs.

Because of Cottontails’ many defense strategies, the Algonquin peoples of North America regarded Them as tricksters. Manabohzo, the Great White One, is the Great Trickster of the Northeast. A transformer and creator, He represents the life force. Meanwhile, Michabo, the Great Hare is one of the founders of the human race.

Cottontail Rabbit Sub-Family teaches people that even small helpless ones can defend themselves.  They can escape by freezing in place so that none see them, race zigzagging around the ground to evade being caught, or kick with their strong hind legs. People can learn self-defense and courage from Cottontails.

Friday, April 05, 2013

BROWN HARE Divine Madness

a brown hare in the forest
Larger and more athletic than his counterpart (European Rabbit), Brown Hare lives a solitary life. Scraping out a shallow depression (called a form), Brown Hare sleeps and rests during the day. At dusk, He comes out to feed. Because Brown Hare is usually seen at dawn and dusk, He is associated with the moon.

Since He did not arrive in the British Isles until after the Romans did, traditions about Brown Hare came from the Anglo-Saxons, who called Him “hara”. Ostara, their Goddess of Spring, was a woman with a Brown Hare’s head and ears. Her name became the name for the Christian feast of Easter. The Easter Bunny legend came from Ostara leaving eggs wherever She went. Besides Ostara, Brown Hare has been associated with other Germanic Goddesses. Holda, protector of Mothers and Housewives, and Freya, Goddess of Fertility, had Hare attendants as well.

With his long legs and sleek body, Brown Hare can outrun most pursuers by jumping and running zigzag across the country side. The saying, “Mad as a March Hare”, originated when Brown Hare dashed about in a demented fashion in spring. During their mating season, fields of Brown Hares can be seen leaping in the air, chasing and boxing each other. Finally, Everyone settles down and selects Their Mate.

“As Mad as a March Hare” can have many meanings. As the Friend of Goddesses, Brown Hare’s madness is divinely inspired. He receives joy from the heavens and leaps in excitement. Be open to divine madness yourself, and leap high with bliss. But just don’t be so eccentric that people think that you are crazy.

Note: Hares are larger than Rabbits. Baby Hares are born with open eyes and with fur, while Baby Rabbits are naked and dependent on their Mothers.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013


No group of mammals has established their place in world folklore so firmly as the Lagomorph Family. People talk being “Mad as March Hares”, carry lucky Rabbit’s feet, or tell tall tales of crafty Rabbits. Moreover, children’s stories about Bunnies abound. In addition, it seems that everyone has a version of the “Tortoise and the Hare Story”.

An Asian Rabbit story goes as follows: to feed Buddha, Rabbit threw himself into the fire. As a reward for his sacrifice, He was given a new home on the moon. In China, Moon Hare is the guardian of all wild animals. Also, the Japanese see a Rabbit in the Moon.

Once considered Rodents, Lagomorphs (“hare-shape”) are now in their own family. They grow two pairs of upper incisor teeth, that rodents do not. These small furry animals are more closely related to Deer than to Rodents. In fact, Lagomorphs are descended from the same ancestors as Deer.

Lagomorphs are divided into two families – Leporidae (Rabbits and Hares) and Ochotonidae (Pikas). Pikas look like Guinea Pigs with short round ears. They live where many other Mammals would freeze to death – above the tree line of mountains in Asia, Europe, and North America.
a pika
Rabbits and Hares (Leporidae) are more familiar to people. However, Hares and Rabbits belong in their own Sub-families.  Cottontail Rabbits (Sylvilagus) and European Rabbits (Oryctalgus) live in underground burrows. Cottontails have elaborate nests lined with fur and grass. European Rabbit lives in large colonies, which is a complex network of nests and tunnels. Hares (Lepus), in contrast, live solitary lives in their shallow depressions called forms. Their young, born with fur and eyes open, are ready to hop away at birth without a mother’s care.

Many people think that Lagomorphs are fearful animals. People see Them freeze at a moment of danger or dash away quickly. However, Pikas are hearty animals, well adapted to the cold and high altitudes. Hares run zigzag to confuse predators. Jackrabbits taunt their pursuers by flashing a white patch on their rump. Rabbits box their pursuers with their hind legs.

Although Lagomorphs are preyed upon by a wide variety of animals, They manage to cope and thrive. Pikas live among mountain boulders, that have chinks to hide in. Cottontails flash their white tails in warning. To hide in plain sight, European Rabbits freeze. Hares run zigzag to confuse their pursuers. Learn coping strategies from Rabbits, Hares, and Pikas.