Rabbit is the story of the winsome long-eared animal that hops through children's stories, myths and legends, and back yards. In this richly illustrated book, Victoria Dickenson explores the natural and cultural history of this most familiar creature. From the giant extinct rabbits of Minorca to the tiny endangered Volcano rabbits of Mexico, Rabbit explores the history of the species, with a special focus on the European rabbit, whose history has been so closely intertwined with that of its greatest predator, humanity.
Celebrated for its fur and its flesh, the rabbit owes its worldwide distribution to human intervention. Captain Cook took rabbits to New Zealand to provide food for sailors and settlers. Their introduction in the late nineteenth century to Australia resulted in a disastrous plague of rabbits, which could only be brought under control by the introduction of myxomatosis. The rabbit is a paradox. It is prey, chased by a thousand enemies from eagles to foxes to domestic cats. But it is also trickster, who outwits all rivals, and escapes every trap. The rabbit is lucky, and his foot will charm away evil. It haunts the graveyard and dances in the moonlight.
The rabbit is suitable as a cuddly companion for children but also as a symbol of unbridled animal passion. From Peter Rabbit to B'rer Rabbit to Watership Down and the Energizer Bunny, rabbits hop through our imagination. Discover the Jade Moon rabbit, celebrate the Year of the Rabbit and enjoy the poetry of rabbits in this fascinating study of an animal that, after the dog and cat, has been granted a privileged place in our homes and our hearts.
Victoria Dickenson is Director and Chief Executive Officer of the McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Toronto. She is a friend of rabbits, who have been affectionate companions for over 30 years.