adapted from a House
Rabbit Society article
The following article is extracted from the HRS in
USA, although there are no wild rabbits in Singapore,
we thought it was an informational article that could
come in handy when differentiating a domestic rabbit,
from its wild counterpart.
It still amazes us that people abandon lovely pet rabbits
in the "wild", believing that they will live
off the land," says Mary Morrison after repeated
calls to rescue domestic rabbits "set free"
in New Mexico. Abandoned rabbits are expected to survive
in rural and urban areas where even dogs or cats would
have trouble existing. And reports of stray rabbits
are increasing. But how do you know if the rabbit you
see is a stray or even domestic? Here are some guidelines.
Appearance: The obvious domestic stray is a lop-ear,
albino, or spotted individual. Less obvious in appearance
is a domestic rabbit with agouti coloring. Agouti is
the natural coloring of many small animal species, including
cottontails and jackrabbits. If appearance doesn't tell
you, observe the rabbit's behavior. Although many house
rabbits don't enjoy being held, surprisingly many stray
rabbits solicit interaction, rescue, and handling by
human passers-by. (If you do pick up a stray, be prepared
to hug the rabbit safely to you if he suddenly changes
his mind.) If a stray is following you or hanging out
near your back steps, you can bet it's not a cottontail.
But is the rabbit abandoned, or could he have escaped?
To understand how helpless a domestic rabbit is when
"set free," observe your house rabbit's behaviour.
When faced with a strange environment, she will proceed
cautiously from "home base." Frequent retreats
are made, to memorize the route. Why? If danger appears,
home base can be achieved in a flash. A wild rabbit's
life would depend on it.
A domestic rabbit turned loose has no home base, and
little time to find one before dark and predators set
in. A wild rabbit would have a lifetime of familiarity
with the area, plus reflexes and instincts domestic
rabbits lack. Reluctance to leave "home base"
is why you can figure most stray domestics have not
willingly left home. Unless from a nearby home, they
The bottom line is, any loose domestic rabbit you encounter
needs your help. For information on catching stray rabbits,