Rabbits and hares are browsing animals that can cause great damage to newly planted seedlings, trees and vegetables.
Rabbits and hares browse on the young shoots of all sorts of plants. Hares will strip the bark from newly planted trees. Both can cause great damage in garden particularly in rural areas of New Zealand.
Rabbits are regarded as a major pest in New Zealand. They have no native predators and have in the past boomed to huge numbers in rural grassland areas such as the McKenzie basin of Otago.
The rabbit calicivirus was introduced to New Zealand in 1997. It causes rabbit haemorrhagic disease and greatly reduced rabbit numbers rapidly. However, as the disease left resistant animals behind their breeding has, over time, increased the proportion of resistance in the population and rabbit numbers are on the increase again.
The scientific Latin name of common European rabbit is - Oryctolagus cuniculus
The scientific Latin name of the common European Hare is - Lepus europaeus
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