While bunny and rabbit are used interchangeably, there are general differences between them if you want to get technical.
This certainly does not mean that we should start calling the Easter Bunny the Easter Rabbit.
The main difference between bunny and rabbit is the fact that bunny is more of a casual name.
The word bunny is typically used for smaller rabbits, such as the younger ones or baby rabbits. This is mainly because ‘bunny’ sounds much cuter.
However, there are also some other differences between bunnies and rabbits.
In this article, we will take a deep dive into what they are and describe what exactly bunny and rabbit mean and what they entail.
Once we hash out these differences, you will easily know what to call these fluffy and cute creatures!
What is a Rabbit?
Rabbit is a noun used for small, furry mammals with large, floppy ears and powerful back legs.
They are members of the Leporidae family, and there are tons of different species.
Some of the most common of these species include English Lop, Cottontail, and Lionhead rabbits.
They can vary greatly in size and height depending on the species. Some rabbits remain the same size, while others tend to grow bigger.
Additionally, rabbits can be either domesticated or wild. They can also be raised for their fur or meat.
Until the 18th century, rabbits were called coneys, based on the French, ‘conil.’ The smaller and younger offspring of the coneys were called rabbits.
However, the word ‘rabbit’ became a popular term for furry creatures over time.
Rabbit is often used to describe an older and bigger rabbit. It is also commonly used in a formal and scientific setting.
What is a Bunny?
So what about bunnies?
Bunny is also a noun used to describe the same furry mammals. Hence, it is another name for rabbits, unofficial and casual.
For the most part, a bunny is used for cute and fluffy rabbits.
It is also mostly used for young bunnies, such as baby rabbits. Although the correct term for baby rabbits is kits or kittens, the term ‘bunny’ is also used.
This is because it has a cute connotation to it. It is also because kittens are used to commonly describe young cats.
Hence bunny became a more popular way of referring to baby rabbits.
Bunny was typically used as a term of endearment for young girls. However, over time, it grew to be used for young and small animals, such as baby rabbits.
Now it is used to describe cute, cuddly, and fuzzy creatures.
For young children, bunny is also an easier word to use and learn compared to rabbits.
This is why the most popular children characters and cartoons are called bunnies and not rabbits.
For example, the infamous Easter Bunny, who brings chocolates and eggs, is a bunny and not a rabbit.
Even the popular cartoon character, Bugs Bunny, who is not a young baby rabbit, is also referred to as a bunny.
Main Differences between Bunny and Rabbit
Now that you know what exactly to call a bunny and rabbit, you might have an idea about their differences.
Besides the context, here are some of the main differences between bunny and rabbit:
Size and Age
The most significant difference between bunnies and rabbits is their size and age.
As mentioned earlier, rabbit is used for older and bigger rabbits.
However, bunny is predominantly used for smaller and younger baby rabbits and kits.
Hence, when you see a small rabbit, it is likely a bunny, but if it is big, it is a rabbit.
Name and Context
Baby rabbits, kits, and kittens are normally called bunnies because they have a cute connotation. However, this is not an official word for these creatures.
Therefore, they should not be used in a formal or scientific context.
On the other hand, rabbit is typically used to describe these mammals’ larger and adult versions.
This is a noun for these creatures that can be used in a formal setting.
Bunnies can be called rabbits, but rabbits cannot be referred to as bunnies since the term ‘bunny’ is used for babies and younger rabbits.
As mentioned earlier, bunnies are primarily for baby rabbits. Therefore a significant difference between bunnies and rabbit is in their diets.
A bunny is normally dependent on its mother’s milk for its diet.
However, that is not the case for adult rabbits since they have a different diet.
Rabbits have a range of foods as part of their diet. In the wild, they consume leaves, grass, forage, and various other types of vegetation.
They can also eat different kinds of shrubs, weeds, and clover.
The adult rabbits also need to keep their teeth trimmed and short.
This is why they also chew on hard surfaces such as tree branches, bark, and cardboard.
The coats of baby bunnies and adult rabbits are also entirely different. For example, when baby bunnies are born, they don’t have any fur coats.
They develop it after a few weeks and become soft, cute, and furry.
However, when they grow older, the fur they develop also tends to shed and develop a smooth coat.
This is how you can distinguish a bunny from a rabbit.
Moreover, their coat color also changes based on whether it is a baby bunny or an adult rabbit.
As baby bunnies, they typically have one shade on their coat. But once they grow older, different shades and spots develop.
Last Few Words
Therefore, when you see these cute and furry creatures, you should see whether they are small or big before calling them a bunny or rabbits.
A bunny tends to grow older and then be called a rabbit.
However, most people still use the terms interchangeably.
While rabbit is the scientific name for these creatures, ‘bunny’ is still mostly used, especially by children.
Whatever you choose to call them, you cannot deny the fact that they are one of nature’s cutest critters.
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