Which is the Right One to Say, Bunny or Rabbit?

Who doesn’t love a bunny? Wait… who doesn’t love rabbits? Or… hares? Oh well, which one is correct? We often confused with these terms.: rabbit, bunny, and hares. Is it a bunny? Is it a rabbit? Are there any differences after all? Okay, hold up! In this article we will discuss the term bunny, rabbit, and hare as an extra, to help you figure it out. So let’s get started, shall we?

Which is the Right One to Say, Bunny or Rabbit?

The origin of the terms

Let’s talk about the rabbit first. Where did the word come from? Well, long long ago, in the 18th century, we used to call ‘rabbits’ as ‘coneys’. It’s derived from French word; conil, as a short for Latin cuniculus. ‘Coney’ term used a lot since it also a name for a famous amusement park in New York, which is Coney Island. Have you ever heard about that name? Back then, rabbit first only referred to an offspring or a young coney. But along with the time, the ‘rabbit’ term gained more popularity and started to be used more often and then took over. Now, rabbit is referred to a fluffy mammal with long ears and loves to hop around!

On the other hand, bunny was used as a term of endearment for a young girl, and then shifted into anything related to a cute, young or small animal. Now, we know that bunny only refers to a specific animal, which is young rabbit. We called it Easter Bunny, not Easter Rabbit or Easter Hare, right?

The origin of Hare word is more interesting, It’is actually derived from West Germanic word, that means gray. Yes, a color! Gray color, which is actually one of the common colors of hare that we know now. Hare is also like to be mistaken as a different species with Jackrabbit, while actually they are the same species.

Now let’s talk scientifically!

Between rabbits, bunnies, and hares, only rabbits and hares that have scientific names. Both come from the Leporidae family and the same order of mammal which is Lagomorpha, along with other 60 species of mammals. However, they are different species. Rabbits and hares almost look-alike with the long ears and other body features. They also share the same favorite foods, which is vegetation but hares tend to like harder vegetation like twigs and bark, while rabbits like softer food, like soft stems and grass, and some vegetables or fruits as well. 

The differences between rabbits and hares

They might slightly look the same, but hares are physically larger than rabbit. Their hind legs, feet, and ears are also longer and instead of digging and burrowing themselves into the ground like rabbit, hares prefer to build simple nests in the grass. This habit is not about who likes to dig a lot more, but instead, this habit is correlated with their nesting habits and the newborn baby’s condition.

You can also differentiate these two by their nesting habit. Newborn hares are usually born precocial. Precocial means that they are born fully formed: their eyes are open and already covered with fur, so they don’t really need the help of their parents. For short, baby hares are already independent enough! 

The case is different with baby rabbit. Rabbits are born altricial, or for short: helpless and vulnerable. They are blind, naked without any fur covering their bodies, and they cannot feed themselves. This means baby rabbits need extra attention and protection from their parents

Which one of them that we usually bring back home as a pet?

It is a rabbit, that is more often domesticated rather than a hare. Once rabbits are domesticated, they can be very social and friendly with human. While on the other hand, hares were born to survive and conquer the wild. They are tough, you know? So the one that you usually bring home as a fluffy friend is the domesticated rabbit.

How about a bunny? Is it referring to another species?

Until here we know that rabbit is a type of mammal and belong to the same biological family but different species with hares. How about bunny? Well, bunny does not have a scientific name because it actually means young or baby rabbits. 

Got it. Now how do we use the term in daily convos? Is it bunny or is it rabbit? Or maybe it hares?

This means we cannot use the term ‘bunny’ for scientific context or any context requiring taxonomical precision. So is it bunny, or is it rabbit? It all depends on what do you refer to. A smaller one or a bigger one?

It will be strange to say ‘I like to eat bunny stew!’ because we usually eat the meat of a big rabbit, not the young one. So it should be ‘I like to eat rabbit stew’. So does with Easter bunny, not Easter rabbit. We called it bunny because we often like to picture it as a cute and young rabbit, not an old grumpy rabbit, right?

That is all about the term bunny, rabbit, and hare. From here we know that bunny refers to a young rabbit. Rabbit and hare are a different species from the same family. They have a lot of similarities and differences as well. Only rabbit and hares that have scientific names while bunny is not a species after all. From the beginning, bunny is a term of endearment, but nowadays, it becomes popular as a young rabbit.

Is it bunny or is it rabbit? It’s all depending on the size that you are talking about. If you refer to a bigger or older rabbit, you use the term rabbit, but if you refer to a baby or small rabbit, you use the ‘bunny’. No pressure, though! But knowing the differences, especially between rabbits and hares might be useful, right?