Where Do Rabbits Originally Come From?

Where Do Rabbits Originally Come From?

Lagomorpha, the mammalian order including hares, rabbits and pikas, evolved in Asia more than 40 million years ago. The break-up of continents may be responsible for the distribution of rabbit species. European rabbits, Oryctolagus cuniculus, originated in modern-day Spain 4,000 years ago.

The European rabbit is the only domesticated rabbit species. They were first domesticated by monks in 5th-century France, and Britain followed suit in the 12th century. During the Middle Ages, rabbits became a widely used food and fur source as well as popular pets among the gentry. A variety of rabbit species appear in writing and painting from throughout the 15th to 19th century and continue to be seen in the 21st century.