Comparative investigations on behaviour of wild and domestic rabbits in the nestbox

 D. Selzer, St. Hoy


Infrared video observations were used to study behaviour in the nestboxes of both adult wild and domestic rabbits. A total of 1080 hours of observations of wild rabbits and 1008 hours of observations of domestic rabbits kept in two enclosures with free access to two nestboxes and some other hiding-places were analysed. Both wild and domestic adult rabbits spent a considerable part of their time (54.9 % in wild and 30.6 % in domestic rabbits) in pairs or in groups of three and voluntarily were in body contact between 65.3 % (domestic rabbits) and 80.4 % (wild rabbits) of the time. While crouching together, both wild and domestic rabbits used only a very small nestbox space: 0.08 to 0.125 m2/animal in wild and 0.14 to 0.21 m2/animal in domestic rabbits. Between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m., an average of 2.9 animals from a maximum of 3 wild rabbits stayed in the nestboxes. Domestic rabbits used nestboxes less: an average of 0.9 adults were in the nestbox between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Adult domestic rabbits spent much more time than wild rabbits resting outside the nestbox including a wooden tube leading to the nestbox. The use of a small area for resting is a species-specific behaviour both in wild and domestic rabbits.


Wild rabbits; domestic rabbits; testing behaviour; social behaviour

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1. Use of straw and wood shavings as nest material in primiparous does
Oscar Blumetto, Irene Olivas, Antonio German Torres, Arantxa Villagrá
World Rabbit Science  vol: 18  issue: 4  year: 2010  
doi: 10.4995/wrs.2010.776

 Universitat Politècnica de València

Official journal of the World Rabbit Science Association (WRSA)

e-ISSN: 1989-8886     ISSN: 1257-5011