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Rabbit vs Bunny: What’s The Difference?

We all know that a rabbit is a fluffy animal that eats carrots, and has long ears. Bunny is associated with the eastern, and it can be mistaken for a rabbit. If you are not that much into animals, you may not know the difference between these two.

And what is the difference? A rabbit is a mammal from the Leporidae family, and a bunny is often connected with an animal that represents the Eastern. As time passed, the bunny has become a synonym for a young rabbit, so from there comes the confusion.

But don`t think that it is that simple. We now think that rabbits and bunnies are the same, but in the past, people didn`t even connect them. I will show you the whole history of bunnies and rabbits, how their connection started, and what are the facts. You will be astonished.

The History Of Rabbits And Bunnies

We will start with a little history lesson. The word rabbit was introduced in the 18th century. Before rabbit, the word coney was used, which was derived from the French word conil. At first young cones were called rabbits, until the rabbit completely took over from the cone.

So where does the bunny come in? The term bunny was at first used to name a young girl with affection. The word was so well accepted that it had multiple uses, and usually young and small animals were called bunnies.

Throughout history, the term bunny was always associated with something small, young, and sweet, so finally, a bunny was a derived name for a small rabbit.

Regarding the Easter bunny, which is the most common association with a bunny, it has a different history. When German immigrants came to America, they brought their traditions with them. Among other customs, there was a myth about Kris Kringle and the eastern hare.

The word hare was replaced with a bunny because it sounded cuddlier and the kids liked it more. After that, the term bunny stuck and it is sticking to it even to our days, with no sign of changing.

Another source for the name bunny comes from Scotland and their word – bun which means a rabbit’s tail. The meaning of the word changed during time, and now it covers small rabbits and other animals.

Another interesting thing about rabbits and their naming, is that small and young rabbits are officially called kittens, but that word is now used for cat babies. What confusion would be to have the same name for baby cats and bunnies, right?


Is There A Difference

Now when we covered the history of these furry creatures, we should talk about their differences. As I said, the main difference is in the term itself. They are all members of the Leporidae family of small mammals, but bunnies are smaller and younger kinds of rabbits.

While a fully developed rabbit can grow to a weight of 5 pounds and can be even 20 inches tall, bunnies can easily fit a child’s palm. An adult domesticated bunny can live up to 8 years, while a rabbit’s life in the wild lasts around 2 years. As I said, bunnies are babies and after only a couple of months, they can be called rabbits.

Bunny Rabbit
Up to 9 months of age Between 9 months and older
Size of a couple of inches Full-grown animal
All baby rabbits and hares are called bunnies Only adult rabbits are called rabbit

Rabbit’s And Bunnies In The Disney Franchise

We are all acquainted with our all-time favorite cartoon character bugs bunny. He is one of the well-known rabbits around the world. But, he is called a bunny, right? Another confusion you say?

An animator Ben Bugs Hardaway named him combining his nickname with a term for a young rabbit. But Bugs is not young, but a full-grown rabbit or even a hare. Another character that connected the word bunny with rabbits all around the world.

FAQ About Rabbit’s And Bunnies

Q: Why is the rabbit called a bunny?

A: Only young and small rabbits are called bunnies. The term bunny is used because it represents something small, fluffy, and cuddly, and bunnies are just that. It started with the Easter bunny, and now it is representing all young rabbits. Don’t misuse the term bunny for an older rabbit.

Q: Are bunnies or rabbits bigger?

A: Rabbits are grown bunnies, so there is no chance for a bunny to be larger than a rabbit. A bunny can be only a couple of inches big, while a rabbit, can grow up to 5 pounds.

Q: At what age a bunny becomes a rabbit?

A: A bunny is considered a young rabbit up to 9 months. A grown-up rabbit is between 9 months and 4 years, while all older rabbits than 4 years are considered old rabbits. An average life cycle for a domesticated rabbit is 5 to 8 years, but if they have the best care they can live up to 12 years.

Q: Is a female rabbit called a bunny?

A: Young rabbits of both sexes can be called bunnies, but the correct term for the female rabbit is a doe.

Q: What is the difference between a rabbit and a hare?

A: Rabbits and hares come from the same family of animals, but have a few distinctions. Hares are larger – their regular weight is around 9 to 11 pounds compared to a rabbit’s 5 to 6 pounds.

Yes, there are exceptions, but these are regular size animals. Hare’s usual length is between 24 and 30 inches, and rabbits around 20 inches.

Hares also have larger back legs, which grants them a higher running speed of 70 km/h compared to 40 km/h for a rabbit. Hares have longer ears with spots of black fur on them which can be a great way to tell the difference between them at first sight.

Also, they lead different lives. While rabbits live in large groups of a couple of dozens of animals that have a strict hierarchy, hare’s live in pairs or small groups.

Q: What is the difference between rabbits, hares, and bunnies?

A: Hares and rabbits are the names of actual species that have some differences, while a bunny is a colloquial term for a baby rabbit. You can call all hare and rabbit babies bunnies, but there is a clear difference between a rabbit and a hare.

Knowing your rabbit can be real science, right? But I hope that I explained this topic that everyone can understand how the term bunny came, what it represents, and how can you tell a difference between a rabbit and a bunny.

Also, knowing the similarities and differences between a rabbit and a hare can be a lot of help in resolving this conundrum.

Bunnies and rabbits have a long history, and myths about them are always connected with giving presents and bringing joy to the kids. Rabbits before animation were one of the favorite pets for children.

Their fluffy tail and long ears were always fun for kids around the world. Now from Eastern Bunny to Bugs Bunny, bunnies and rabbits bring happiness to children’s faces, and they connect rabbits with something good, playful, and lucky.

The adults love rabbits and bunnies together with their kids, because if they bring good to the kids, they bring good to the adults, right?

James Smith

James is a passionate explorer and the creative mind behind, a platform dedicated to unraveling captivating distinctions. With an insatiable curiosity, he uncovers hidden nuances in various aspects of life, from cultural traditions to scientific phenomena. James believes that appreciating differences fosters personal growth and societal empathy.