Fauna of Europe is all the animals living in Europe and its surrounding seas and islands. Since there is no natural biogeographic boundary in the east and south between Europe and Asia, the term "fauna of Europe" is somewhat elusive. Europe is the western part of the Palearctic ecozone (which in turn is part of the Holarctic). Lying within the temperate region, (north of the equator) the wildlife is not as rich as in warmer regions, but nevertheless diverse due to the variety of habitats and the faunal richness of the Eurasia as a whole.
Before the arrival of humans European fauna was more diverse and widespread than today. The European megafauna of today is much reduced from its former splendour. The Holocene extinction drastically reduced numbers and distribution of megafauna. Many of these species still exist in smaller number, while others thrive in developed continent free from natural predators. Many other species went extinct all together.
Rabbit breeds are different varieties of the domestic rabbit created through selective breeding or natural selection. Breeds recognized by organizations such as the American Rabbit Breeders' Association (ARBA) or the British Rabbit Council (BRC) may be exhibited and judged in rabbit shows. Breeders attempt to emulate the breed standard by which each breed is judged.
See: Rabbit Breed Appearances
A domestic rabbit or more commonly known as simply the rabbit is any of the several varieties of European rabbit that have been domesticated. Male rabbits are called bucks; females are called does. An older term for an adult rabbit is coney, while rabbit referred only to the young animals. More recently, the term kit or kitten has been used to refer to a young rabbit. A young hare is called a leveret; this term is sometimes informally applied to a young rabbit as well.
The European rabbit or common rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is a species of rabbit native to southwestern Europe (Spain and Portugal) and northwest Africa (Morocco and Algeria). It has been widely introduced elsewhere, often with devastating effects on local biodiversity. However, its decline in its native range (caused by the diseases myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus, as well as overhunting and habitat loss), has caused the decline of its highly dependent predators, the Iberian lynx and the Spanish Imperial eagle. It is known as an invasive species because it has been introduced to countries on all continents with the exception of Antarctica and sub-Saharan Africa, and caused many problems within the environment and ecosystems, as well. Australia has the most problems with European rabbits, due to the lack of natural predators there.
The European rabbit is well known for digging networks of burrows, called warrens, where it spends most of its time when not feeding. Unlike the related hares (Lepus spp.), rabbits are altricial, the young being born blind and furless, in a fur-lined nest in the warren, and they are totally dependent upon their mother. Much of the modern research into wild rabbit behaviour was carried out in the 1960s by two research centres. One was the naturalist Ronald Lockley, who maintained a number of large enclosures for wild rabbit colonies, with observation facilities, in Orielton, Pembrokeshire. Apart from publishing a number of scientific papers, he popularised his finding in a book The Private Life of the Rabbit, which is credited by Richard Adams as having played a key role in his gaining "a knowledge of rabbits and their ways" that was espoused in the novel Watership Down. The other group was the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Australia, where Mykytowycz and Myers performed numerous studies of the social behaviour of wild rabbits. Since the onset of myxomatosis, and the decline of the significance of the rabbit as an agricultural pest, few large-scale studies have been performed and many aspects of rabbit behaviour are still poorly understood.
The English Lop is a fancy breed of domestic rabbit that was developed in England, in the 19th century through selective breeding, and is believed to be the first breed of lop rabbit developed by humans, and possibly one of the oldest breeds of domestic rabbit. Averaging 11 pounds (5.5 kg), the English Lop is characterized by its distinctively long lop ears, bold head and large body size, and can live up to five years or more.
As the first breed of lop rabbit, the English Lop was one of the first fancy breeds of rabbit developed in England, in the 19th century for the purposes of exhibition as a response to rise of animal fancy and consequently the rabbit's emergence as a mainstream household pet during the Victorian era, marking a departure from the earlier role of domesticated rabbit breeding for meat, fur and wool production. Later, the English Lop was bred with other Continental giant breeds of rabbit gave rise to a number of new breeds of lop rabbit, including the French Lop, which developed from breeding between the English Lop and Flemish Giant, and the Holland Lop, which was in turn developed from the French Lop and the Netherland Dwarf. it is thought that the English lop got the large ears because in the Algeirs it was hot and with the big ears they kept cool.