WHERE THE WILD ONES LIVE

World of Knowledge (Australia) - - Nature -

Wild rab­bits are some of the most skilled builders in na­ture: their tun­nels can be up to 40 me­tres long and lie sev­eral me­tres deep un­der the earth. The un­der­ground liv­ing spa­ces of­fer room for up to 50 an­i­mals. But their ex­ca­va­tions can cause prob­lems on the sur­face be­cause they can up­root trees. In cities ly­ing on the banks of rivers the con­se­quences can be even more dan­ger­ous. There the an­i­mals dig their war­rens close to flood pro­tec­tion bar­ri­ers, which makes the pro­tec­tive walls un­sta­ble.

ALARM SYS­TEM If a rab­bit dis­cov­ers a preda­tor on the sur­face – an ur­ban fox, for ex­am­ple – it will beat its back legs vi­o­lently against the ground. The vi­bra­tions serve as a tip-off to any brethren un­der the earth. They can then hide in the sys­tem of tun­nels deep be­low the ground. TRAP­DOOR Though wild rab­bit war­rens can be as large as sev­eral foot­ball fields, the largely noc­tur­nal an­i­mals rarely ven­ture far from their con­struc­tion. The sys­tem of bur­rows has a very shal­low main en­trance and other hid­den open­ings that are dug al­most ver­ti­cally into the ground. When the an­i­mals need to flee, they can sim­ply fall into the hole. NESTS

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