Who cares about these darned rabbits?

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When I first sniffed the internet buzz surrounding a woman being attacked by a stampede of rabbits, I admit I was both confused and intrigued. But basically, this is what happened:

And this is all.

The International Business Times reckoned this woman had “a lucky escape.” Here’s their moment-by-moment account of her horrifying ordeal:

A woman in Japan made a lucky escape after getting caught up in a rabbit stampede. A video of the stampede was uploaded to YouTube and shows the woman fleeing from what seems to be hundreds of rabbits, who chase her down the street then crowd around her…The animals swarm around her and she is cornered…

You can tell those are giggles of terror, can’t you?

Of mild interest, I suppose, is the fact that these rabbits are not native to the Japanese island of Okunoshima, but rather are the descendants of a group that were introduced there in 1946 by scientists, and who now live without having to worry about natural predators.

And so now there are lots of them. Who knew? Rabbits breed.

Let’s consider briefly the pure breeding prowess of them there rabbits.

The gestation stage for a rabbit is about 28 days, and she can and will get pregnant the day she gives birth if a human guardian does not separate her from her mate. Without any human intervention, and with free full-time access to fertile males, most female rabbits will give birth to about one litter every 28 days.

And how big is a litter?

Litter size in rabbits varies…Smaller breeds will have about three to four kits per litter, but others will have litters with as many as 14 kits. In my experience as a breeder, 7 is an average litter size for most female rabbits. If the female reproduces at this rate, she will average about 92 kits per year. Another factor can double this rate. Although it is not healthy for the mother or kits, rabbits have a remarkable ability to be pregnant with two litters at one time.

That would be 184 babies per year, then.

And rabbits don’t care who you are. After they reach the age of 6 months, they’ll breed with any other rabbit, including their own cousins and siblings, without a second thought. Hell, they’ll breed with their own parents if the mood strikes them. This is why a single pair of rabbits can become a flock of 1,000 in just twelve months.

So the real question regarding this so-called Rabbit Island is not “How come there are so many rabbits?” it’s “How come there are so few?”

But rabbits are practically the Pope when compared to rats. Those guys seriously know how to breed. A female rat can copulate with up to 500 different males in six hours, and a pair of rats will have a whopping 2,000 babies in a year (“if left unchecked,” which I’m guessing is usually the case). Each one of these little babies can themselves start breeding from when they’re 12 weeks old.

After a year, that’s gonna be a helluva lotta rats. Give it half a century on an island with no predation and…

A YouTube clip of a woman being chased by a billion rats on Rat Island. Now that would be news.



Categories: Animals, Environment, Evolution, International Business Times, Video

Tags: , , ,

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