Saturday, May 6, 2017

Bugs Bunny Was Not A Rabbit

As a Rabbit Rancher – I think – I am an easy going guy; few things seem to upset me. I always try to take life in stride and enjoy every day I am given.

However, I went to a dinner party this week and a loud mouth jerk started to get my blood to boil. As soon as he found out I was a rabbit rancher he started in with a list of rabbit wise-cracks and jokes – none of which were funny. I, along with the rest of the guests, sat there quietly taking it all in and smiling until he began commenting on the Rabbit and the Turtle race and Bugs Bunny - then I blew my stack. I let him have it – I had to shut him down as he had no idea what he was talking about.

Really, I am amazed at how many people get two simple things wrong. First, there never, ever was a story about a Rabbit and a Turtle race. The fable Aesop wrote was about a race between a Tortoise and the Hare. And second, Bugs Bunny was not a rabbit – and Elmer Fudd was always wrong when he kept referring to Bugs as a Waskly Wabbit.

So let’s set the record straight on these two points once and for all – this way you will be able to sound intelligent in the future.

Aesop was a slave born around 620 BC. Some say he was Ethiopian and brought over to Greece as a child. He was a story teller as most slaves could neither read or write. Aesop is credited with creating more than 600 fables all of which have been recorded. 

All of his fables presumably had a moral or cryptic message conveyed. Most of his fables involved animals and generally depicts them as the fable's heroes. Most people are familiar with two of his fables - the Tortoise and the Hare as well as the Lion (with the silver in his paw) and the Mouse who helped pull it out.

Now for the record there is a huge difference between a Tortoise and a Turtle. 

Yes both are animal’s reptiles and yes both have shells – however Tortoises never, ever go in water whereas Turtles live much of their lives if not all of their lives around water.’ 

Though Hares and Rabbits have a similar appearance they too are very different. Hares are much larger than Rabbits; they have longer hind legs and very longer ears.

Rabbits always keep the same fur coat color year round whereas the fur coat on a Hare changes with the seasons. Rabbits live underground in burrows whereas Hares always live above ground under bushes and shrubs.

Rabbits are born with their eyes open and can see immediately whereas hares are born with their eyes closed and are unable to see for the first week or so. Rabbits are very social creatures – they like to cluster together, eat together and play together. Hares on the other hand are non-social. They tend to live a solitary life. While Rabbits are very docile and tame, Hares are generally feisty and skittish – leading to the term we all know = ‘Harebrained’; as its difficult to predict what a Hare is about to do next.

Finally, and this is very important; if you can conjure up an imagine of Bugs Bunny in your mind – you will know instantly Bugs is a Hare – not a Rabbit.  His long ears and long legs are the give-away

His ears are much longer than most rabbits you will ever see and look how elongated his back legs are – they are so long in fact that Bugs prefers to walk upright rather then hop. It would be anatomically impossible for any rabbit to walk upright.

So the next time someone talks about the Tortoise and the Hare or comments that Bugs Bunny was a nice rabbit ------- be sure to correct them.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Does your Rabbit Bite?

A man walks into a bar and sits down on a bar stool next to Lady and a rabbit. 

After looking at the Lady and the rabbit he leans over and politely asks the Lady - Does your rabbit bite? “Never!” replied the lady"

The man reaches down to pet the rabbit and the rabbit bit him hard in the hand taking out a big chunk of skin.

Horrified the man then looks at the lady and says "I thought you said your rabbit doesn't bite”, "He doesn't. This Isn't my rabbit" the Lady replied.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Bill and Mary were patients in a mental hospital. Both were considered dangerous to themselves as well as to others. However over their years of confinement the two of them developed a deep friendship for one another that some even thought was romantic in nature.

One day while they were out walking past the hospital swimming pool, Bill suddenly jumped into the deep end and sank to the bottom of the pool where he stayed.

Mary seeing the situation promptly jumped in to save him. She swam to the bottom and pulled Sean out. Once out of the water she helped him with his breathing. 

When the Medical staff became aware of Mary's heroic act they convened a special meeting and decided she could now be discharged from the mental hospital, as they now considered her to be mentally stable.

When the Administrator went to Mary's room to tell her the news she said, 'Mary, I have good news and bad news for you.

The good news is we are going to discharge you from the hospital today. Since you were able to rationally respond to a crisis by jumping in and saving the life of the person you love ... the staff has concluded that your act displayed you have a sound mind.

The bad news Mary is your friend Billl hung himself last night in his bathroom with his bathrobe belt after you saved him. We are all so sorry for your loss as we all knew how much he meant to you.'

Mary replied, 'Bill didn't hang himself, I put him there to dry.

Now how soon before I can go home?'

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Do Rabbit’s Feet Really Bring Good Luck?

Interesting question so let’s start at the beginning to answer it correctly. The ancient Chinese believed the human foot was important because they saw every organ in the human body had a pathway or a “meridian’ to the foot. Consequently people today who practice alternative medicine still believe our feet provide access to all of our body’s internal organs – think acupuncture.

Scientist believe there are approximately 7000 nerve endings in every human’s foot - so many nerve endings in fact that main stream doctors sometimes recommend their patients walk barefoot whenever possible when on grass or in sand to help stimulate the nervous system and generate better health throughout the body.

Now with all that said are rabbit’s feet really lucky? As the owner of a large Rabbit Ranch I see thousands of rabbit feet each year and to tell you the truth I am not sure if they bring good luck or not. Most “expert’s I know of can’t agree if they do. For many it’s just an old superstition. The reality however is the rabbit's foot is the most common good-luck charm around the world. A distant second is the shamrock (4 leaf clover) followed by soft piece of bark from a eucalyptus tree in third place.

Now the origin of the rabbit's foot providing good luck goes back to 6 BC; and though there is no connection between the luck a rabbit’s foot with any scriptural references many European Christians associate the rabbit’s foot with Eastre the goddess of fertility (the goddess today that many associate with Easter). The true believers say you only get the benefits of good luck if you carry a rabbit’s foot in your right front pocket. Others say it must be kept secure in the glove box of your car while you travel and still others say it should be tucked away in a purse or handbag not hanging from a key chain.

Someday try this fun experiment – it’s easy. The next time you watch an awards program on TV like the Oscars - the Emmy’s, the Golden Globe Awards, the Grammys Awards etc. quietly count the number of actors, actresses, directors, producers, songwriters, artists etc. who are holding a rabbit's foot. Watch how they gently rub it as the nominations are called out. It’s amazing how many people who held a rabbit’s foot actually won awards: Earl Flynn, Meryl Streep, Henry Fonda, Loretta Young, William Holden, Betty Davis, Burt Lancaster, Sylvester Stallone, Sharon Stone, Robert De Niro, Gina Davis, Al Pacino, Kate Winslow, Michael Douglas, Ben Affleck, Spencer Tracy, Humphrey Bogart, Kathryn Hepburn, Tom Hanks, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg just a few you might want to consider? Did they deserve their awards? You bet! Did the rabbit’s foot help? I really don’t know.

Now if you are not in to watching award shows here’s another exercise to try. Observe the number of NFL and college coaches who hold rabbit’s feet during a title games or super bowl events; or watch the coaches and managers in the NBA or MLB as well as NASCAR pit crews and PGA caddies.

Personally, I was amazed to learn Michele Obama clutched a rabbit’s foot during both of President Obama’s Presidential debates. Was it a coincidence? Could be! I just don’t know. Also look at old portraits of Christopher Columbus, Admiral Byrd, Captain Cook and even Captain Morgan (that’s right the Caribbean privateer --- he was not a pirate; who after he retired from the high seas began to distill spiced rum.) Look closely at their belts, sashes and boots - see the small rabbit’s foot dangling? Did they have them for luck?

All I can say is people around the world think rabbit’s feet are lucky. You have to decide for yourself.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Very Little Law Enforcement Humor - from a Rabbit Rancher

Did you hear about the midget fortune-teller who escaped from a County Jail? The Sheriff and his Deputies have her officially listed as a small medium at large.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Fun in the Snow

With the weather so nice today Katie let Spencer and Ben go play in snow behind the barn # 2.  Man did they loved being outside.

Hard to believe but next month - hopefully around March 25th (if the Farmer's Almanac is correct) we will be letting the herd out to pasture.  Boy are they ever ready to go outside and graze.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Are Rabbits Left Pawed or Right Pawed?

Many long time friends of Ralph’s Rabbit Ranch know we get all sorts of questions each week from people around the world. Last week was no exception.  A young girl from Abilene, Kansas, a High School sophomore named Melissa, wrote seeking help with a term paper she is writing on Animal Husbandry.   Her question was:  ‘are rabbits right pawed or left pawed’.  I thought it was a good question so I will share our reply back to her.  

Science tells us that 10 - 12 % of the human population is left handed and that that percentage has remained constant the past 300,000 years.  We are told 30,000,000 people in the U.S. are left handed and that woman are more likely to be righted than left. 

Up until the mid 1950’s scientists claimed that “handedness” was only a human trait that did not apply to lower forms of animals.  Today we know this is wrong.  Animals of all species display traits of “handedness” whether they are Cats, Dogs, Cows, Horses or even Goldfishes.  “Handedness” is a universal phenomenon in all living creatures.

To help you think about ‘Handedness’ here’s a question for all NASCAR enthusiasts.  Which way to NASCAR vehicles race around a track?  Clockwise or Counter Clock wise?. For those of you who don’t understand the difference – clockwise races are designed to favor right-handers drivers while counter clockwise races favor left hander drivers.

Try this. Think about baseball.  Do ball players run the bases clockwise or counter cock wise?  When a player runs from first to second base and then to third and finally home is he running clockwise or counter clockwise?  If you said counter clockwise you are correct. Ball players run a left hander lap just as NASCAR drivers drive counter clockwise.

What about thorough breed horse racing - either saddled or buggied?  Do the horses run clockwise or counter clockwise. The answer = “left-handed” laps.  There’s no real plausible explanation for this however since the vast majority of professional athletes (human and horses) normally lead with their dominant hand or foot going left makes them have to excel harder in order to win. 

My understanding of rabbit ‘handedness’ has been acquired over the 14 years I have been raising rabbits commercially. Even though experts say 10 - 12 percent of the human population exhibits left handedness our personal observations here at the ranch reveals almost 30% of any given rabbit population is left pawed. We know this from three things.  First, by the way rabbits initiate their leaps and hops.  Left pawed rabbits push off with their left paws whereas right pawed rabbits kick off with their right paws.

Second, when rabbits position food a left pawed rabbit will use the left front paw more than a right pawed rabbit will.  Finally, when a rabbit gnaws on food like a carrot - left pawed rabbits gnaw from their left side while right pawed rabbits begin gnawing from the right side.

Since we keep accurate records on our breeding cycles we know that older does tend to give birth to more left pawed kits then younger does.  We also know that left pawed rabbits are more aggressive and appear more intelligent.  How do we know this?  Left pawed rabbits are generally the first ones to come out during feeding times and they push and buck to defend their position in the feeding line.

Studies conducted by the AMA suggest left handed males have higher levels of testosterone and mature later sexually than right hander’s - which we agree.  Left pawed bucks are always more prolific during our scheduled breeding sessions; unfortunately the downside from a Rabbit Ranchers perspective is since left pawed bucks sexually mature later we get less quality breeding time out of them.

Finally and this is an easy test for you to perform on your own.  The next time you see a rabbit in your yard or in a field take a moment to study it.  Left pawed rabbits tend to look to their left about 70% more often than their right pawed counterparts.  Right pawed rabbits favor looking to their right side seldom to their left.

Hope this all makes sense and gives you a better appreciation for rabbits.  Your friend Ralph
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