Baby rabbits are adorable. They are tiny, fluffy, and floppy-eared. Their fur is soft and they have little cotton-puff tails. Your first instinct when you see one is probably to exclaim over how cute the little bunny is. However, baby rabbits are not called bunnies!
Baby rabbits are actually called kittens! Sometimes they are referred to as kits or kitties, but the proper name for a baby rabbit is a kitten. Read on to learn more about where the terms rabbit, bunny, and kitten came from as well as more interesting terminology you should know when talking about rabbits.
Where Did the Term “Bunny” Come From?
Before the 18th century, rabbits were called coneys. The term for young coneys was rabbits. However, that name began to take over in popularity. By the 18th century, rabbit was the more widely used name for these creatures.
It is believed that the term bunny is a leftover mispronunciation of coney. The name bunny was also a popular name used to refer to a young girl.
Another tale of the origin of how the word bunny exploded in popularity relates to the Easter holiday. The tale of the Easter bunny laying eggs for children was originally referred to as an Easter hare. However, it was felt that the name Easter hare was not appealing or cute enough, so it was changed to the Easter bunny.
Whichever is the true origin, it is undeniable that the term bunny is much more widely used when referring to baby rabbits than the word kitten. Rabbits are considered kittens for the first 9 months of their lives. After this, they are fully grown adults.
Interesting Rabbit Terminology
There are many interesting terms used to describe rabbits, hares, and their environments.
The history behind how the baby rabbit got its name is interesting, if not entirely clear. After reading this article, you now know that the baby rabbit is called a kitten, not a bunny. You also know that it is part of a fluffle and has a dam and a sire. The kitten lives in a warren and sleeps in a burrow with its brothers and sisters. Now you can impress your friends at the next trivia night with your extensive knowledge of rabbit terminology!
Featured Image Credit: Kassia Marie Ott, Shutterstock
Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts’ knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.