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  • Writer's pictureJon Stoddard

Is a Rabbit a Rodent?

Rabbit laying down in a field

One common question I get asked is, "Is a Rabbit a rodent?" The answer is yes, kind of, but not now. In the early 20th century, that was changed. Rabbits are not considered rodents because they have different digestive systems; rabbits have four incisor teeth and are almost exclusively herbivorous. There are many differences between the two mammals. These traits make them quite similar in some ways and different in others. Here we'll look at their common characteristics and how they differ from other rodents. Also, learn about their diet and habits. Hopefully, I will be able to answer this question more efficiently.

Common traits

Chinese zodiac rabbit image

For Humans, The Chinese zodiac "Year of the Rabbit" is a time of peace, tranquility, and generosity. Rabbits are social creatures with a natural sense of adventure but are also cautious and conservative. Despite their social and conservative tendencies, they are tolerant and enjoy intellectual pursuits. Generally, people born within these years want mellow environments and a sense of order. They do not like conflict but prefer a more relaxed lifestyle.

A rabbit's personality is similar to that of a "supposed" human born in those years. Although some breeds are known to be naturally playful, others are prone to aggression and standoffishness. As a pet, you can try to influence a rabbit's personality by changing its environment and training it. However, remember that a rabbit's personality is shaped by its environment and upbringing, so it's essential to consider the environment your rabbit will be living in when choosing a pet.

Differences from other rodents

closeup of a rats face

Researchers have discovered some significant differences between rabbits and other rodents. For one, rabbits have a shorter gestation period (about 28-33 days), giving birth to altricial young underground, whereas hares give birth to precocious young on the ground. Despite these differences, both species have a similar set of cognitive abilities. Listed below are some of the critical differences between rabbits and other rodents.

The word 'rodent' is derived from the Latin word 'rodere,' which means 'to gnaw.' This incessant gnawing behavior may cause concern for free-roaming bunnies as rodent incisors continually grow and wear down. This can lead to gastrointestinal and oral health problems. Rabbits may also be difficult to keep indoors due to their gnawing habits.


The habits of a rabbit vary according to their habitat. Although most of these creatures live in underground burrows, they can also be found living on open fields. The primary mode of movement for these small creatures is hopping. However, they can also run. This means their pace can vary, and you should be aware of the rabbit's physical abilities and general environment before trying to tame them. In addition to hopping, rabbits can run up to 50 miles per hour!

A rabbit's natural diet is primarily composed of plant material. It feeds on leaves, grass, forbs, and weeds. They also eat fruit and vegetables. Because their digestive system is so effective and efficient, they can stay outdoors for long periods. However, if their dietary needs are disturbed, they can become sick. As such, you should always ensure that your rabbit's environment is as natural as possible.


Young girl with rabbit eating vegetables on a table

The diet of rabbits and rodents is generally based on plant material. They can digest complex carbohydrates, including hay. Hay contains the proper ratio of calcium and phosphorus. Although fruits and non-leafy vegetables are good energy sources, they may cause obesity in rabbits. Studies have shown that rabbits fed a diet mainly of hay have less adipose tissue than those fed grain or cereal-based diet.

Most rodent and lagomorph species do well on commercial laboratory-quality pellets. Rabbits can be kept on a variety of rabbit pellets, as well as grass hay and assorted vegetables. Rats, mice, and sunflower seeds are also suitable for rats. Ground squirrels can be fed various vegetables, including carrots, apples, and green leafy vegetables. In addition, smaller species, such as mice and guinea pigs, can be fed a mixture of seed and grain.

Hereditary lineage

Rabbits share several characteristics that may help to determine their hereditary lineage. The European rabbit is one of the most well-known progenitors of domesticated species. This species originates in the Iberian Peninsula and has two subspecies: O. c. algirus in the southwestern part of the peninsula and O. c. cuniculus in the northeastern part of the peninsula and France. There is great evidence of gene flow between these two subspecies as many animals possess alleles from both O. c. algirus and O. c. cuniculus. This evidence suggests that the contact between the two subspecies occurred before the domestication of rabbits.

The E gene controls the extension of dark pigments in the coat. Only the back and legs are dark when a rabbit is homozygous for the e allele. This results in a marked reduction of size. This hereditary disease affects only the female and is fatal if detected during the fourth to fifth weeks of a rabbit's life. The cause is unknown but hereditary and determined by a simple recessive unit factor.


Although this pest control blog post is out of my normal post of pest control-related concerns, I still felt it might serve of importance to some since I have been asked numerous times over the years, "Is a Rabbit a Rodent." Should you have any pest control-related needs, do not hesitate to contact Imperial Pest Prevention at (386) 956-9506.


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