Meet the many species of “Remarkable Rabbits” on NATURE – March 27 at 8 pm

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Nature: Remarkable Rabbits

Airs Wednesday, March 27 at 8 p.m. on WOUB


There are more than 100 types of rabbits and hares, both domestic and wild, from swamp rabbits to Flemish giants to snowshoe hares. Yet these prolific creatures are often overlooked and rarely get the respect they deserve – due, in part, to their adorable appearance and storybook depictions.

Two-week-old baby Cottontail rabbits.
Two-week-old baby Cottontail rabbits. Port Rowan, Ontario, Canada.

Learn how hares are more than just a rabbit of longer ears and legs, how rabbits have managed to survive in ever-changing landscapes – from downtown Chicago to Canada’s frozen boreal forest – and how they turn the tables on their predators.

Join scientists in the field as they work tirelessly to save rabbit species from the brink of extinction and reveal ground-breaking discoveries. Explore how surprising and remarkable rabbits and hares can be as they face incredible challenges in the wild, from habitat loss to climate change.

Lionhead rabbit, a domestic breed
Lionhead rabbit, a domestic breed, at the 2018 American Rabbit Breeders Association rabbit show.

And once a year, rabbits from all over North America and as far as Japan come together to compete in the American Rabbit Breeders Association (ARBA) rabbit show. More than 3,000 people and 17,000 rabbits come to the show to compete. Forty-nine breeds, including the French lop, Tan rabbit and English Angora, compete for the coveted prize of “Best in Show.”

Noteworthy Facts:

    • The Antelope jackrabbit is the largest hare in North America, weighing more than nine pounds and standing almost two feet high.
    • Rabbits are born in nests, hairless and helpless, with their eyes and ears closed. Hares, meanwhile, are born on the ground with a full coat of fur and their eyes wide open. Hares are ready to run an hour after being born, while rabbits still depend on their mothers for the first two weeks.
Antelope jackrabbit.
Antelope jackrabbit. Despite their name, Antelope jackrabbits are hares, not rabbits. Tucson, Arizon
  • When outnumbered by predators in their environment, a Snowshoe hare reacts to this chronic stress by reducing its fertility. Hares usually give birth to around 20 babies per year but can limit their reproduction to 7-8 babies per year when threatened— just enough to sustain their population’s long-term survival and starve out their predators.
  • Swamp rabbits are the largest rabbits in the cottontail family. Their large size gives them increased buoyancy and musculature to be great swimmers. They are so comfortable in the water that they easily move about flood plains and swamps to evade predators and find food and mates. These shy, little-known creatures have been filmed for the first time in Nature: Remarkable Rabbits.