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Five Lies You’ve Been Told About Rabbits

Is salad rabbit food? Are you really falling down an internet rabbit hole? In honor of the Easter Bunny’s annual visit, let’s find out the truth.

The world is full of lies, and it’s hard to get through life without taking a few on board. Luckily, we’re here to sort the fact from the fiction, and find the plankton of truth in the ocean of bullshit. This week: Rabbits! Just how horny are they? And who is going round pulling them from hats? Let’s hop to it.

Lie #1: Rabbits Just Can’t Stop Fucking

From Playboy bunnies to vibrator brands, rabbits are seen as the horniest of the horny. But if you do the math, rabbits don’t actually have that much sex — they just have lots of babies. A female rabbit reaches sexual maturity at around six months, and can then breed for the rest of her life — up to 12 years. Gestation takes 30 days, and rather than having one specific breeding season like a lot of mammals do, they can do it all the time. Each litter can include anywhere from three to 12 babies, and a rabbit can have nine or so litters a year. That means one rabbit can give birth to 1,000 little rabbits over the course of its lifetime. 

However, how much sex is that, really? Rabbits are induced ovulators, which means ovulation is stimulated by intercourse — basically, each fuck makes some babies. A rabbit who has 1,000 babies over the course of a decade might only have had sex 80 times over that whole period, which is more than some, sure, but hardly a staggering amount. The sex itself is extremely brief, lasting about 20 seconds each time, although the lead-up to it is not without its kinky side: the male rabbit circles the female, shows her his tail and pisses on her before doing the deed.

Lie #2: Magicians Pull Rabbits Out of Hats

No they don’t. When did you last see a magician proudly produce a rabbit from inside a top hat? It just doesn’t happen. You might have seen people doing riffs on the idea, like the video below, or deconstructing it, but the straightforward trick of a magician pulling a rabbit from a hat just doesn’t happen. 

It used to — the trick was first performed in 19th-century Paris, reportedly originated by conjurer Louis Comte. Rabbits have a few characteristics that make them ideal for the trick, in that they’re easy to procure due to breeding like mad, they show up against the black of a magician’s suit and the red of a stage curtain and they can easily look a lot bigger than they are due to their big, adorable ears. The trick’s popularity coincided with an explosion in the popularity of stage magic, and became a key part of the iconography of it. But perhaps due to its seeming ubiquitousness (plus increasing concerns for animal welfare), the trick died out, and now mainly lives on in Rocky & Bullwinkle reruns and as shitty clipart. 

Lie #3: Salad Is Rabbit Food

You know what rabbits really like eating? RABBIT SHIT. They use a process called “hindgut fermentation” to get the most out of their food by eating it, shitting it out and eating the shit before shitting it out again. So, sure, they might enjoy a lettuce leaf for breakfast, but dude, you don’t want to eat their lunch.

Lie #4: That Only One Famous Battery Company Advertises Using A Pink Bunny

Wrong: Two do. Duracell started using a pink bunny playing a drum in its ads in 1973, the idea being that, among other rabbits powered by different batteries, the Duracell one kept drumming longer. 

In 1988, Duracell’s arch-rival Energizer launched a parody campaign in which it introduced its own, “extreme” drumming rabbit, clad in sunglasses and flip-flops — basically the Poochie of battery advertising. The parody ad did well, although Duracell initially claimed their sales went up due to people thinking the Roy-like rabbit was theirs. When Energizer’s sales started rocketing, however, Duracell tried to sue, which somehow led to an out-of-court settlement in which Energizer became exclusively able to use the bunny in the U.S., while the Duracell bunny rules supreme in the U.K. and Asia. 

Lie #5: “I’ve Slipped Down This Huge Rabbit Hole On Wikipedia/YouTube/etc.”

The way we use the expression “rabbit hole” has really changed — when Alice slips down a rabbit hole in Alice in Wonderland, she goes to a surreal world where nothing makes sense and everything is bizarre and terrifying. Now we use it to mean “I started off watching videos about one thing, and then I watched videos about a bunch more things loosely related to that,” which is fairly different. Alice in Wonderland isn’t a book about ending up with 23 Wikipedia tabs open, after all.

But, more than that, rabbit holes aren’t very big. Like, a rabbit can dig a burrow of up to 10 feet deep, with multiple entrances to evade predators. Well done. An interconnected series of prairie dog tunnels, however, was once found that covered 25,000 square miles of Texas and held 400 million prairie dogs. For perspective, the human population of the U.S. is 327 million. Prairie dogs have rabbits beaten, yo — the best rabbit holes can offer are the occasional subterranean Masonic grotto used for black magic rituals. Boring!