Jeff Blincow's picture


Observed: 13th April 2010 By: Jeff BlincowJeff Blincow’s reputation in MammalsJeff Blincow’s reputation in MammalsJeff Blincow’s reputation in Mammals
Rabbit 2.jpg
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Gill Sinclair's picture


Short ears - presumably because it's cold up there?

Gill Sinclair
OU Certificate in Contemporary Science
Twitter @Gill_Sinclair

the naturalist man's picture

Rabbit ears

Island populations of animals, especially mammals, are often very variable in size, colour, shape etc. This is partly due to the high incidence of in-breeding and usually a lack of predators. I have never been to Handa but have lived on islands, including others of the Northern Isles. I don't recall noticing them having shorter ears, but must admit I did not particularly look. I wonder if this is an odd one or if the whole population has short ears.

For more information try getting a copy of "The Private Life of Rabbits" by Ronald Lockley. I suspect it is long out of print (it was reseached around 40 plus years ago but still relevant) but should be available through your local library. He studied this phenomenon amongst the rabbit population on Skomer off the coast of Wales. There the rabbits had no predators, until buzzards moved in around 20 years ago. Indeed I was working on the island the first year Myxomatosis hit just 20 years ago. It is thought the buzzards brought a flea ridden rabbit corpse to the island, thus introducing the fleas and Myxomatosis.

Graham Banwell

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Jeff Blincow's picture


I've added another image to help answer Graham's question: they all appear to have small ears. Thank you for the comments.