Rabbit (Orctolagus cuniculus)

Rabbit © Darin Smith


The European rabbit is a very familiar animal and can be seen throughout the country. The coat is normally greyish-brown but can range from sandy yellow to totally black. The Rabbit is a naturalised species in the UK being first introduced by the Normans for food and have since adapted to the climate and have spread. Females become sexually mature at around 3 months and can have up to 6 litters a year which has contributed to them being a very successful species.


The Rabbits diet consists of grasses, leaves, buds, tree-bark, and roots but they will also eat lettuce, carrots, cabbage, grains and other root vegetables.

How to track/identify?

Rabbits are smaller than hares and have comparatively shorter legs. Males (bucks) and females (does) are similar in appearance, but bucks tend to weigh more and have slightly broader heads. They are mostly seen in areas of grassland and marshland where they live in family groups called Warrens.

Did you know?

  • They can jump up to one metre high and three metres long
  • Rabbits stand upright on their hind legs to give themselves a better vantage point to look for predators.
  • They alert other Rabbits of predators or the presence of danger, by thumping their hind legs.
  • Rabbits have an excellent sense of smell with only a small blind spot on the top of their nose.

Reserves where they are present

Rabbits are present throughout Wiltshire especially in areas of chalk grassland like Dunscombe Bottom and Morgan’s Hill.

Others in the Mammal Family

American MinkBadger, Bank VoleBrown HareGrey Squirrel, Hazel DormouseHedgehogHouse MouseOtterRed FoxWeaselWild Boar

Print out a copy of the Rabbit fact sheet

If you'd like to help us continue to care for rabbit habitats in Wiltshire, please consider making a donation to support our work, or purchasing a rabbit soft toy from our shop. Thank you!