Which of the Five Senses Do Rabbits Depend on the Most?

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Rabbits may look defenseless, but their fine-tuned senses make these small mammals some of nature's most excellent survivors. The preferred prey of many carnivores, rabbits in the wild depend on their sharp senses every day of their lives. Domestic rabbits, for the most part, have retained those sensitivities.

Hearing

Rabbits' sense of hearing is their most vital sense. Their large ears can detect sounds from a long way off. But the key to rabbits' hearing ability is their ability to swivel independently. This helps the ears funnel sounds from every direction. Rabbit's range of hearing is 360 hertz to 42,000 hertz, compared to humans' range of 64 hertz to 23,000 hertz. While some lop-eared breeds of domestic rabbits may have slightly less keen hearing, their hearing is still much sharper than humans'.

Sight

Rabbits' eyes are on the sides of their heads, giving them a wide peripheral range of vision. Predator animals have forward-facing eyes, called binocular vision, that allows them to focus in on prey. Rabbits in the wild are able to graze and rest while still scanning a wide swath of the horizon for movement.

Smell

Rabbits' noses are almost constantly twitching, picking up scents in the air. They are able to smell predators nearby. Rabbits also sniff out grasses and plants to eat. Domestic rabbits will get to know their humans' scents and will remember their caretakers by smell.

Touch and Taste

Their long whiskers help rabbits feel what's directly in front of them, which comes in handy underground in their burrows. The hairs covering their bodies are sensitive to touch. Rabbits' sense of taste is probably their least-used sense, but it is important nonetheless for determining which new foods are good to eat. Rabbits are cautious in all they do; eating is no exception.

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    Olivia Kight is an experienced online and print writer and editor. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in 2012, and has worked on education, family life and counseling publications. She also gained valuable knowledge shadowing a zoo veterinarian and grooming and socialize show dogs, and now spends her time writing and training her spunky young labradoodle, Booker.