sarahkeenihan

Day 145. Breeding like rabbits

In January 2013 on January 4, 2013 at 9:51 pm

rabbit

The rabbits are running the show down here on the foot of Yorke Peninsula.

This wee chap took a twilight stroll down the beach path as I enjoyed an early evening cocktail last night.

I’ve spotted perhaps 20 of his cousins whilst out on runs of a morning, including an enormous male specimen which I mistook for a small dog such was his shoulder height. During holidays in the same location in the past 2 years I barely spotted a single rabbit over two week periods.

The rabbits are a super-breed of sorts, survivors of two pathogens thrown at them by Australia’s CSIRO: myxomatosis and calcivirus. As explained in an The Australian newspaper article Rabbits’ return catches science on the hop,

The resurgent rabbit numbers across South Australia, Victoria and NSW follow two consecutive wet springs, abundant grass growth and growing immunity in young rabbits to the once-deadly calicivirus.

Although the current heat wave we are experiencing may have an impact on new generations, the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre is running a new strategy for improved integration of existing biological, conventional and newly-developed control options for rabbits.

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  1. I was reminded at this exhibition we saw in Paris last week (http://www.palais-decouverte.fr/index.php?id=betesdesexe2012) that ovulation in rabbits is initiated only after mating. So during the current heat wave, if it is too hot for the rabbits to get ‘hot and heavy’, female rabbits don’t waste resources on ovulation, presumably. Evolution, immunity and reproduction – so amazing. Now, if only WE would only stop introducing species to countries in which they don’t belong!

  2. Please don’t see anymore amazing exhibitions without me!

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