Lapis ISSN 2398-2969

Scent marking and spraying

Contributor(s): Anne McBride, Emma Lightfoot (nee Magnus)

Introduction

  • The main form of rabbit communication is olfactory. The rabbit is a medium sized prey animal that lives below ground, surfacing between dusk and dawn. Thus having an extensive, obvious array of visual signals is not advantageous because the rabbit spends much of its time in the dark. In addition, extravagant visual signals can attract the attention of predators.
  • Rabbit vocalizations also tend to be discrete, that is low in volume, in order to avoid detection by predators. Olfactory signals thus have several advantages.

Olfactory signals

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Submandibular glands

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Anal glands

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Inguinal glands

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Urine spraying

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Further Reading

Publications

Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Magnus E (2005) Behaviour of the pet rabbit: what is normal and why do problems develop? In Pract 27 (10), 531-535 VetMedResource.

Other sources of information

  • McBride A (2009) Rampaging Rabbits: Minimising Stress in the Veterinary Surgery and Rescue Centre. Rabbit Welfare Fund Conference, Rabbit Health Matters.
  • McBride A (2000) Why Does my Rabbit..? Souvenir Press.
  • MacDonald D (1995) European Mammals, Evolution and Behaviour. Harper Collins.
  • Corbet G B & Harris S (1991) The Handbook of British Mammal. 3rd edn Blackwell Scientific.
  • McBride E A (1986) Aspects of Social and Parental Behaviour in the European Rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculusUnpublished PhD Thesis, University College London.
  • Wales N A M (1969) The Apocrine Glands of the Rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculusUnpublished PhD Thesis, University of Sheffield.


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