Do rabbits hibernate ?

Like hares, wild rabbits do not fall into hibernation and are active throughout the year. During severe frost they remain in burrows. Homeland of wild rabbits – Southern Europe and North Africa. In Ukraine, imported in the 90-ies of the XIX century, they were released in the current territory of Odessa and Kherson regions.

Having found here fully favorable climatic conditions for life, the rabbits successfully acclimatized and began to quickly settle. Now wild rabbits are found on the entire Black Sea coast, from the Dniester to the Dnieper. In the 1970s, wild rabbits were imported from Ukraine’s south to its western regions to enrich the fauna of Ukraine, but their acclimatization in these areas did not yield the expected results – they did not take root here.

The economic significance of wild rabbits is ambiguous. First, they are valuable hunting animals, the beautiful fur of which has a determined commercial value, and meat of high quality. Secondly, settling in areas of shelter belts, near nurseries, rabbits do great harm: they bite wood plantations of trees and bushes, destroy green shoots of fruit tree saplings, damage vegetable and melon crops. They do not eat only cereals.

Consequently, the number of wild rabbits in such areas should be regulated. However, where wild rabbits have found particularly favorable conditions for reproduction and where their harmful activities have become threatening, it is very difficult to exterminate them. An example of this can be wild rabbits imported to Australia. Rapidly multiplying, they became the main pests of agriculture there.