Rabbits have hinged skulls and three eyelids

Originally posted here: https://mcgill.ca/oss/article/did-you-know/rabbits-have-hinged-skulls-and-three-eyelids

Rabbits and hares are pretty cute, but they’re also fascinating. 

Rabbits’ physiology is perfectly adapted for their needs. Being prey animals, rabbits need to be very aware of their surroundings. Their large ears and good hearing are well known, but did you know they also have vision that encompasses almost 360 degrees? Their eyes are situated high on the sides of their faces, giving them only a tiny blind spot directly in front of them. They even sleep with their eyes open, blinking only their nictitating membranes, or clear third eyelids, to keep their eyes moist.

Even if they can’t see or hear a predator, rabbits can probably smell them. They are obligate nasal breathers, meaning they breathe only through their noses. This way, they can always smell their environment, even when eating.

When they do smell, see or hear a predator, rabbits have to be able to make quick escapes. To help with this bunnies have very large back feet, and hinged skulls to absorb shock. Their cranial hinge allows rabbits to run at speeds above which the impact of their feet would rattle their brain around.

Remember, rabbits might be impressive, but they’re impressively bad Easter presents. Bunnies are the most abandoned pet in North America, and that’s not a statistic you want to contribute to.

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