Posted: September 22, 2014, 9:55 p.m. EDT
Cute, cuddly and soft … who doesn’t love a lagomorph?! Rabbits belong to the family Leporidae, and more specifically from the order Lagomorpha. In Greek, Lago translates to "hare” and morpha to "form” — put it together and we’re talking about a small mammal that resembles a hare — a rabbit! (Interesting note: one of the main differences between rabbits and hares in that rabbits are born hairless and blind, while hares are born with fur and with vision. "Hare” equals "hair” you might say!) There are eight genera and numerous subspecies of rabbits, and the domesticated rabbit belongs to the European rabbit genus/species, which is Oryctolagus cuniculus. Breaking things down a little further, according to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, there are 48 breeds of rabbit, which gives us some familiar names like Rex, Dwarf, Lop and many more.
With so many scientific and common breed names, finding a rabbit-worthy name should be fun. Throw in some rabbit terminology, and you have even more options. For example, Buck is not only a cute name for a male rabbit, it is also the appropriate word — buck happens to be the term for a male rabbit. How about Jane Doe? Doe is the term for a female rabbit. Or if your rabbit is young at heart, Kit or Kitten might just be spot-on because Kit and kitten — you guessed it — are terms for a young rabbit.
Rabbits can be such sweet pets and many do, in fact, have dessert-like names, which might be based on looks, too (i.e., coat color). Some popular monikers among the many rabbit profiles on SmallAnimalChannel include Oreo, Snickers, Sugar, Butterscotch, Cookie, Marshmallow, Cocoa, Fudge, Caramel, Brownie, Chocolate Chip and M’n’M— if these names were ingredients, that would be one yummy cake!
For white rabbits, Snowball, Snowy, Snow White, Frosty, Casper and Pearl are natural name matches, as are Patches, Speckles, Checkers, Freckles and Oreo for multi-colored rabbits. Naturally, a lot of pet rabbits have variations of the pet name for this species — bunny. Mr. Buns, Bun Bun, Bugs Bunny, Honey Bun, Bunnyman, Bunnie, Babs Bunny, Bunny Monster, Snuggle Bunny, Sunny Bunny and Bunz are all real rabbits with profiles on SmallAnimalChannel.
Rabbit enthusiasts are fortunate to have a pet that is so name inspiring. There are tactile names — Cotton Candy, Fluffy, Velvet and Silky; personality names — Cuddles, Snuggles and Rebel, and those that are activity-inspired — Binky, Hoppie, Hopper, Nibbles, Speedy, Skippy, Chase, Scamper and Wiggles. With so many possibilities, the challenge is in choosing just one to sum up your Bun!
© Courtesy Eric Mendoza
Eric Mendoza, a seventh grader in California, brought home his first rabbit last year. Mr. Nibbles was named after a "guest rabbit” that appeared on the Disney Channel show Jesse. "And Nibble is what he likes to do,” Mendoza said, "so the name just stuck.”
There are also some pretty popular rabbit characters from books, movies and folklore to glean names from. Bugs Bunny is a no-brainer, and Disney has given us: Thumper and Thumper’s girlfriend, Miss Bunny (Bambi, 1942); Roger Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, 1988); Skippy (Robin Hood, 1973); Clover (Sofia the First cartoon series 2013); White Rabbit (supporting character in Alice in Wonderland, 1951 and in Lewis Carroll novel of the same name, published in 1865); Br’er Rabbit (Song of the South, 1946, and based on the Uncle Remus short stories collected by Joel Chandler Harris) and many more. There is also Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, who looks a lot like Mickey Mouse but with long rabbit ears (Poor Papa cartoon circa 1927) and is said to be Mickey’s cousin.
The classic novel Watership Down by Richard Adams (published in 1972) is based on a small group of rabbits with names like Fiver, Bigwig, Dandelion, Pipkin, and its main character Hazel. Fiver, brother of Hazel and runt of the rabbit litter — has a vision about his warren’s imminent destruction, and sets them off on a journey to find safety. And let’s not forget the mischievous Peter Rabbit from Beatrix Potter’s stories. Another keeper, especially apropos for a species that tends to be active during dusk to dawn hours, is Bunnicula — the mysterious rabbit who sucks produce dry in the book of the same name by James Howe (published 1979).
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