Rabbits are known for two things: eating carrots and their speed. And yes, you guessed it right. Rabbits run pretty fast.
And this is primarily because, out in the wild, rabbits are considered prey. They belong to the lower end of the food chain, so other predators hunt them. They have to rely on their speed to live another day.
Since they have small and flexible bodies, rabbits can run super fast. But how fast, exactly?
This article discusses everything you need to know about how fast rabbits can run. So without further ado, let’s get started.
How Fast Can Rabbits Run?
An average rabbit in the wild can sprint at 35-45 mph per hour. However, this depends on the species in question. Jackrabbits are crowned as the fastest rabbits in the wild.
But bunnies are excellent at sprinting. This makes catching them in the wild difficult. Secondly, most of their predators are bigger, so it makes it easier for bunnies to flee with ease.
Even in videos, you will often see bunnies making rapid turns at a moment’s notice. This, along with their quick acceleration, allows them to escape even the fastest land animal, the cheetah, sometimes.
They are often referred to as sprinters because they cannot maintain speed for a long time, the way other animals like horses can.
Wild vs. Pet Rabbits: Which Can Run Faster?
On any given day, a wild rabbit will outrun a pet rabbit. There are a few reasons for that, though.
This is because, in the wild, they face danger almost all the time. Therefore, they can quickly enter flight-and-flight mode. Their muscles are in practice, their minds are alert, and their reflexes are sharp.
Your bunny at home might not win in a race against a wild rabbit, primarily because it is used to having no predators close by, so it doesn’t need to stay alert at all times.
Plus, its muscles have probably gone out of practice too.
Still, domesticated rabbits can run very fast as well. They have the same body and characteristics as wild rabbits.
How Can Rabbits Run So Fast?
Rabbits are energetic herbivores that are known for their speed.
If you live away from the city, you might see a rabbit sprint across your lawn one day. That might make you think, how do they run so fast?
The initial credit goes to mother nature.
Their bodies are designed to outrun their predators. Wild rabbits have to run at their top speeds throughout the day. With their petite and powerful hind legs, they can hop effortlessly and make it look like they are running.
Secondly, they are forced to sprint because that is the only way they can save their lives.
In a few seconds, they can sprint like a jet, which makes their acceleration praise-worthy. Their hind legs are almost like portable trampolines.
It would be unfair to say that a rabbit can continue to run at top speeds for a long time. They are fast, yes, but all species of bunnies cannot sustain that speed.
The population of rabbits has shot up in the last decade (via Boston25 News). This is partly because the number of predators that they have is decreasing.
Plus, thanks to evolution, rabbits have become faster and better at escaping their hunters.
With time, their muscles have evolved. Bunnies have come to use their leg muscles to near perfection. In a short amount of time, they can produce extraordinary energy in their muscles, which enables them to run super fast.
However, since their muscle fiber is not meant to endure a lot of strain, they can only run for a short while. Rabbits are often seen zig-zagging in patterns to confuse their predators. They can also hop and bounce to different heights to live another day.
The Journal of Experimental Biology makes a staggering claim. They say that an average rabbit beats a cheetah regarding the power in their muscle fibers.
A cheetah would win against a bunny because it can sustain its high speed for a longer time. The rabbit would tire out quickly, primarily because it is not meant to do that.
Can You Outrun a Rabbit?
The answer is no. Even Usain Bolt, the fastest human ever, cannot outrun a tiny rabbit in the wild. He clocks in at 23.5 miles per hour on average.
If you were planning to beat a rabbit in a race, unfortunately, it’s not happening anytime soon.
Firstly, our mass is greater compared to a rabbit’s. It would take us a long time to gain acceleration and reach our top speed.
However, a rabbit can quickly gain acceleration and zoom through your hopes of winning the race. If the racetrack has turns, the bunny will conveniently change its direction without losing any momentum.
Humans, however, lose momentum when they have to change their direction.
Secondly, their bone structure is far different from ours. The National Library of Medicine says that the microstructure of their bones does not even come close to that of humans.
Let alone wild ones, you might not even outrun your pet rabbit. We have larger bodies, and we do not have hind legs, which is the biggest reason they can run so fast.
Perhaps this is why a human has never caught Bugs Bunny.
Ways to Measure a Rabbit’s Speed
How do you measure your pet rabbit’s speed? Here are a few ways to measure a rabbit’s speed:
If you have disciplined bunnies, this way will work like a charm for you.
Draw a border to make sure none of the bunnies cheat. Then make them run. The rabbit that reaches the finish line first is the winner. Record its speed with a stopwatch.
To make this process easier, you could set up your pet bunny’s favorite toy or food to ensure they run towards it.
However, this method is not very practical. It would take many tries, and there is a chance that the result you get is inaccurate.
The stopwatch method sounds too technical, right? Another way you can record your bunny’s speed is with the help of your phone.
When your rabbit is energetic and full of energy, make a few videos. You must ensure that you capture the footage clearly to record the speed accurately.
Take two points, A and B, and measure the distance from one point to another. But do this after making the video to get closer to your rabbit’s speed. After that, watch the video and check out the number of frames. The frames and measures depend on your phone’s custom settings.
Calculate the rabbit’s frames to sprint from point A to point B. The formula for speed is distance divided by time. Put the distance in the numerator and the time in the denominator.
You have your rabbit’s speed.
A rabbit comes with the whole package. Their eyes, ears, nose, body, and shape are designed to make them run as fast as they do. They are experts at escaping from life and death situations in the wild.
Your pet rabbit cannot compare to its counterparts in the wild. However, it may still dash past your hands in the blink of an eye.
So the next time someone asks you about rabbits and their speed, we’re confident you’ll impress them with your knowledge.