The reproductive rate of rabbits is notorious. The common rabbit breeds from February to October; its gestation period is 30 days and there are five to eight young in a litter. In most regions its numbers are kept down by its many predators, such as the fox, the badger, and birds of prey. However, when domestic rabbits escaped in Australia, where they had few natural enemies, they ran rampant and stripped the countryside of vegetation in many regions. They were brought partially under control by the artificial introduction of a viral disease, myxomatosis.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.