Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus; Ukrainian: кріль; kril, also заяць or заєць zaiats or zaiets). The Old World rabbit, also known as the European or true rabbit. Along with the cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus) and other genera, it belongs to the family Leporidae (rabbits and hare) of timid and swift, long-eared, small gnawing mammals. The ancestor of the domestic rabbit, the gregarious Old World rabbit is found in the wild in southwestern Ukraine. It is widely hunted for its flesh and fur; in some places it is exterminated as a serious agricultural pest. Domestic rabbits, of which there are many breeds and varieties, are kept as pets and as fur, meat, and laboratory animals. Research on rabbit breeding is co-ordinated by the Scientific Research Institute of Animal Husbandry of the Forest-Steppe and Polisia of Ukraine, in Kharkiv. The rabbit is a popular character in children’s folklore.
[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 4 (1993).]