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European rabbit

Observed: 5th May 2012 By: Gill Sinclair
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course completeThe Mammal SocietyThe Vincent Wildlife Trust
Mammals expert

Only a baby but unfortunately it already has myxomatosis.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Amadan's picture

Anecdotal evidence -

Is that the disease is like 'flu in humans - a higher percentage of individuals are surviving it with each "wave".
I don't know if that's true - certainly this individual looks very sick. It's a distressing sight - I can still remember my first encounter with an infected rabbit some 50 years ago.

Gill Sinclair's picture

Resistance to myxomatosis

I believe that are two factors relating to survival rates - one is that there is more than one strain of the disease, and most rabbits recover from the less virulent strains, and the second is that some genetic resitance to myxomatosis has evolved, so some individuals won't die even if they get the more virulent strain. The disease does seem to come in waves - I assume that after one outbreak of the virulent type most of the offspring are genetically resistant (because their parents survived and passed that gene on), but the proportion of animals without the gene for resistance gradually drifts up again until the next outbreak kills that group off.

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair