What’s The Difference Between A Bunny Vs. A Rabbit?

They’re both adorable 🐰

Bunny Vs Rabbit

When talking about an adorable, furry animal with long ears who hops around, what do you call him? You might use the terms ‘bunny’ and ‘rabbit’ interchangeably, or maybe you refer to all rabbits as ‘cute little bunnies’ (we’ve been known to do this).

But what’s the actual difference when it comes to bunny versus rabbit?

And yes, we have a feeling Peter Rabbit might be shaking his head right now!

Bunny vs. rabbit

It really just comes down to age.

Officially, baby rabbits (defined as 0–6 months of age) are called kits or kittens. Young rabbits are considered to be 6–12 months of age. But both baby and young rabbits are also called bunnies, unofficially.

In fact, the term is so widely used that often adult rabbits (between 1–5 years of age) and senior rabbits (more than 5 years of age) are called bunnies, too, though that’s not technically correct.

Bunny vs. rabbit

You might be wondering where the word ‘bunny’ even comes from, since it sounds pretty much nothing like ‘rabbit.’ There’s not really a clear answer to this, but there are some theories.

Some sources say ‘bunny’ is a mispronunciation of the word ‘coney,’ which is what rabbits used to be called. Fun fact: Some speculate that Coney Island got its name because the area had a lot of wild rabbits when it was settled.

Another theory for the origin of ‘bunny’ is that it comes from the word ‘bun,’ which was used to refer to rabbits and squirrels starting in the 1500s.

What is a hare?

You’ve probably heard the term ‘hare,’ too. Is hare just another name for rabbit?

It turns out they’re actually different species, though they’re part of the same family, Leporidae. (And FYI, jackrabbits are technically hares.)

bunny vs rabbit

They may look similar, but there are some key differences between rabbits and hares:

  • Habitat — Rabbits can be pets, but hares are only found in the wild because they haven’t been domesticated. Rabbits usually live in areas with trees or bushes to cover them, and hares prefer open areas, like prairies.
  • Size — Hares are bigger than rabbits with longer ears and legs.
  • Nests — You may be familiar with rabbit holes, which are their nests. Hares build their nests above ground.
  • Babies — Baby hares are born with hair and open eyes because hares have longer gestation periods. Baby rabbits, on the other hand, are born blind and hairless. That’s why rabbits nest underground — they need more protection when they’re young.
  • Sociability — Hares are less social than rabbits, who often live in groups. Hares usually live alone or in pairs.

Whatever you decide to call them — bunnies, rabbits or hares — they’re all super adorable.