Why Are Rabbits Important To The Ecosystem?

Categorized as Bunny Facts Tagged

Last Updated on December 17, 2021 by Rei Garnet

Rabbits help the ecosystem by enriching the soil using their poop/urine, a food source for various animals, helps in keeping invasive vegetation under control, and helps in keeping plant diversity by spreading seeds to other locations.

When it comes to humans, rabbits are important because they are great pets, sources of meat, models for scientists to use in experiments, and helps in supporting our mental and physical health.

Now that I’ve given you the gist of the article, read on as I explain in more detail why rabbits are important to the environment:

Reasons why rabbits are important to the ecosystem.

Even though rabbits are seen as pests in some parts of the world, they still play an important role in our environment. Here are the most common reasons why rabbits are important to our environment:

1. Rabbit’s poop and pee enriches the soil.

Rabbit’s poop and pee are great fertilizers of soil. In fact, rabbit manure contains four times the amount of nutrients compared to cow or horse manure and twice the nutrients compared to chicken.

Rabbits also produce a lot of poop pellets and urines per day. An average rabbit would produce 200-300 poop pellets per day and 120-130 ml/kg of urine per day. Multiply that to the millions of rabbits in the wild.

In fact, according to this study, rabbits are invaluable to the Western Mediterranean basin when it comes to soil fertility and plant growth. The study suggests that a declining rabbit population would have serious ecological consequences because it would lead to a potential negative cascading effect.

2. Rabbits are prey species.

Rabbits are important food sources for various predator animals like foxes, coyotes, great horned owls, barred owls, red-tailed hawks, copperhead snakes, crows, weasels, bobcats, minks, and humans.

Without rabbits, many of these species would not be able to sustain themselves and would go instinct like the Iberian Lynx and the Spanish Imperial Eagle.

Rabbit meat is also a great option for humans to consume as an alternative to the typical farm-raised animals. Rabbit meat is much easier on the environment because they’re faster to raise and requires less space.

3. Rabbits helps to keep invasive vegetation under control.

Rabbits being grazers helps a lot in keeping wild invasive plants under control. Without rabbits, some of these invasive plant species would likely spread like wildfire and would likely lead to less plant diversity.

As an example, New England cottontails helps in keeping exotic invasive shrubs like autumn olive, multiflora rose, Japanese barberry, buckthorn, and bush honeysuckle.

4. Rabbits helps plant diversity.

Because rabbits are eating a lot of wild invasive plants, smaller plants would have a chance to grow because they would get more sunlight and nutrients.

Rabbits also help in spreading plant seeds when they move from one plant to the next. Some plant species’ seeds can also be spread when a rabbit ate them and poop them in another location.

Importance of rabbits to humans.

And old lady looking at her pet rabbit inside a cage

Rabbits have a long history with humans. In the old days, rabbits have been used by humans as a source of food, clothing, and sometimes as pets.

Here are some importance of rabbits to humans in the modern world:

1. Rabbits are great pets.

Contrary to popular beliefs that rabbits are not great pets because they are snobby, rabbits are in fact quite affectionate once you earned their trust.

Rabbits in the wild are social creatures. They spend their days with their kind grooming each other. The same can be said when rabbits trust their owner and consider them family, they would become affectionate and form strong bonds with their owner.

Rabbits are also quiet pets. Unlike dogs or cats where your neighbors would likely get annoyed by all that noise, having a rabbit would keep both you and your neighbors happy.

2. Rabbits are great source of meat.

Rabbits are also great sources of meat. Compared to other meat like chicken, pork, beef, lamb, veal, and turkey, rabbit meat has more protein per serving, the lowest in fat, and the lowest in calories per serving.

It’s also more environmentally friendly to consume rabbits due to how fast it is to raise one for meat consumption and how little space it needs.

3. Rabbits helps in supporting our mental and physical health.

Pets like rabbits are great at boosting our mental and physical health in many ways, including:

  • Increasing your physical activity whenever you spend time/play with your rabbit.
  • Rabbits can ease anxiety by providing companionship.
  • Several studies suggest that pets can reduce the chances of developing allergies and eczema.
  • Pets like rabbits can also lower blood pressure by lowering stress levels.
  • Provides structure to your life. Feeding your pets and taking care of them, in general, helps in keeping a daily routine. Daily routine keeps us grounded and focused.
  • Keeps us connected to other people. Pet owners are more likely to join communities that would help them take care of their pets better.

4. Rabbits are great models for scientist to use for experiments.

Scientists have been using rabbits as models for human diseases and other experiments for a long time. Rabbits have helped in the development of vaccines and other therapeutics that saves millions of human lives.

As an example, Louis Pasteur used rabbits as models in developing the rabies vaccine in 1881. And today, scientists have been using rabbits in developing vaccines for all kinds of diseases like HSV-1 virus infection and HIV-AIDS.

By Rei Garnet

I’ve loved and cared for rabbits since I was 9 years old, and I’m here to share my passion for rabbits. My objective is to help rabbit owners give their rabbits the best life possible.