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Home Forum THE LOUNGE Hybrid Bunnies

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    • Taloan7
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      Random nature observation: we’ve got eastern cottontails all over here, and they usually have big ears. This year I have noticed a large number of them around my house that are distinctly different, they are a little stockier, built much more like domestic rabbits, and have tiny ears. We have a cottontail that has hung out by our fruit trees at the far end of our yard for years now, and two years ago I noticed some domestic rabbits had joined him/her. I haven’t seen those domestic rabbits since, but I’m wondering if these new bunnies are the offspring of them. They are a lot bolder than the fruit tree guy and will come way closer to the house and even zig zag in and out of our yard when we are out there with our dogs.  They are very cute and I hope their boldness doesn’t get them killed!  


    • Bunny House
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      From what I know, domestic and hares are different species so they can’t interbreed but i may be wrong!


    • Taloan7
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      Good question. I have found mixed answers online. Here was what one said:

      “Although the domestic and cotton tails may attempt to breed, the embryos will usually die before birth due to the difference in chromosomes. Domestic (European) rabbits have 22 pairs of chromosomes, cottontails have 21”

      So the answer is technically yes, it could result in hybrid babies, though it’s very extremely unlikely any offspring will survive.

      As note, there are hybrid animals with parents with a different number of chromosomes that are common, as the mule is the offspring of a horse and the donkey, for example. The horse has 64 and the donkey has 62. The mule ends up with 63 chromosomes. Due to the odd number, the mule is usually sterile, but a very few cases have been recorded of one managing to reproduce.

      There also has been a recorded case of animals so distantly related that they were different genuses (one degree farther removed than species) and still bred to produce living offspring, as there were offspring produced from a mating between a babirusa and a domesticated pig when the two were put in a zoo together. http://www.macroevolution.net/babirusa-domestic-pig-hybrids.html

      In conclusion, there’s always a chance for an exception, but by far the most likely outcome is no viable offspring would result.


    • Taloan7
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      Also, if these aren’t a cross breed, what are they? They have the coloruring of the cottontail tail and look just like them besides the tiny ears and stocky bodies. Just a genetic anomaly? I’ve only seen them in the greenbelt by my house and in my back and front yard.


    • LBJ10
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      Yes, cottontails and European rabbits do not produce viable offspring. However, there are some documented cases of hybridization with hares (e.g. Snowshoe Hare x European Rabbit).

      Depending on where you are, there are several species of cottontail found in different parts of the North America. For example, there is a marsh cottontail found in Florida and a New England cottontail found in the northeast. Perhaps you are seeing a different species? Or… they could just be Eastern cottontails with short ears. I’ve seen some rabbits around my house with varying ear lengths. There is a surprising amount of genetic variation in animals even when individuals look similar.


    • Taloan7
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      I live in Seattle. We don’t actually have any native rabbits here. Eastern cottontails were introduced in the 30s and have taken over. They must just be an odd deviation I guess. Their ears are tiny, like Netherland dwarf sized. Are there any domestic rabbit breeds that look like cottontails?


    • LBJ10
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      This website says Washington State is home to 8 different species of lagomorphs: https://www.paws.org/index.php/wildlife/having-a-wildlife-problem/mammals/rabbits/

      As for domestic rabbits, any breed or mix of breeds can have agouti coloring.


    • Taloan7
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      Only two of those are found west of the Cascades (the big mountain range that divides the state in half) the eastern cottontail and the snowshoe hare, so I guess they could also be snowshoe hares, which I actually didn’t know we had until now. I guess they are just odd looking and I will never get a better answer than that, haha.

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