Bugs Bunny, the beloved Looney Tunes character, forever evades his enemies with his clever tricks and speed. If you have recently become a bunny owner, you may wonder if your bun is as fast as the crazy and loveable character on TV.
So how fast are rabbits, really?
An average rabbit can reach speeds of up to 24-35 miles per hour. Some rabbits can outrun a car when they feel threatened. This high speed is possible thanks to a rabbit’s build. They have strong legs and well-built muscles, making their bodies perfect for speed.
Rabbits run and jump for different reasons that include excitement or fear. If you are interested in learning more about rabbits’ speed and why they are so fast, you’ll learn everything you need in this guide about how fast rabbits can run.
How Fast Can a Regular Rabbit Run?
Your floppy-eared friend is known as a sprinter (they can reach high speeds over short distances), and they can easily reach speeds between 24-35 miles per hour. However, they experience short bursts of energy and can’t maintain that speed for long.
Your bun doesn’t just have speed on its side; it can also make very sharp turns while accelerating, and they don’t lose momentum. Domestic bunnies are slower than wild rabbits, as they don’t need to use the flight-or-fight instinct.
Let’s take a look at some of the speeds that other species of rabbit reach:
Wild rabbits (such as the cottontail rabbit) are much faster than their domesticated cousins as they need to evade predators to survive. They have evolved so that they are quicker and more agile than domestic rabbits, allowing them to run at full speed.
A wild rabbit can reach speeds between 35-45 miles per hour.
The European rabbit, also known as a coney, has a much smaller build than domesticated rabbits. They are also more agile and able to reach high speeds without hesitation.
A European rabbit (such as the Holland lop) can reach speeds up to 35 miles per hour and run for longer distances than domestic rabbits.
Clocking in with a fantastic speed of 45 miles per hour is the wild hare or jackrabbit, which has the fastest rated speed of all rabbits. They are adapted to sprinting, running, and jumping because of their powerful hind legs.
Similar to domestic rabbits, jackrabbits can’t keep their speed up for long as they are built for speed and not endurance. A jackrabbit will change direction when escaping predators by zig-zagging away from them and performing acrobatic leaps.
Fastest Rabbit Breeds
Here’s a closer look at some of the fastest rabbit breeds:
The black-tailed jackrabbit (Lepus californicus), otherwise known as the American Desert hare, originates from the western United States and Mexico.
Known as one of the fastest rabbit breeds, they can reach speeds between 40-45 miles per hour.
The black-tailed jackrabbit has enormous ears, a slender body, and large feet with powerful hind legs, which helps with their speed and agility.
Did you know that jackrabbits are hares?
The Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) originates from North America. These rabbits have a chunky appearance with large hind feet, which help them reach speeds of about 30 miles per hour.
The Eastern cottontail is a small and territorial rabbit that evades predators by running in zig-zag motions that tend to slow them down slightly.
An interesting fact about these rabbits is they only like to move for short distances and prefer to sit still for long periods.
The Riverine rabbit (Bunolagus Monticularis) is an endangered species of rabbit that originates from the central and southern regions of the Karoo desert in South Africa.
These rabbits are identified by a black stripe that runs across their cheek. They also have a white ring around each eye.
This species of rabbit can run up to speeds of 45 miles per hour.
Sumatran Striped Rabbit
The Sumatran striped rabbit (Nesolagus netscheri) originates from the Barisan mountains of the Sumatran island. They are white with brown stripes and a red tail.
The top speed for these rabbits hasn’t been recorded yet, but they can reach speeds over 22 miles per hour. These rabbits live in burrows made by other animals.
How Fast Is a Rabbit vs Other Animals
Let’s take a look at how fast other animals are compared to rabbits:
- Cheetah – 70 mph
- Lion – 50 mph
- Antelope – 55 mph
- Horse – 44 mph
- Fox – 42 mph
- Greyhound – 40 mph
- Coyote – 43 mph
- Domestic cat – 30 mph
- Grizzly bear – 30 mph
- Deer – 30 mph
Are Bunnies Faster Than Humans?
Your rabbit can run faster than any human.
Usain Bolt is a retired Jamaican sprinter known as the world’s greatest sprinter of all time.
Even so, he was only able to reach a maximum speed of 27 miles per hour (compared to some breeds of rabbits that can reach 45 miles per hour, such as the jackrabbit) and holds the record for the fastest human in the world. Bolt could run the 320 ft sprint in 9.58 seconds.
Can You Outrun a Rabbit?
A human could outrun a cottontail rabbit at a push and they need to be quite athletic, as most cottontail rabbits can easily run at about 18 miles per hour when running in zig-zag motions.
Athletes and gym enthusiasts can reach speeds between 14 and 17 miles per hour, whereas the average human male can run at a speed of about 8 miles per hour.
While a rabbit is faster than a human over a short distance, an endurance athlete would (theoretically) be able to outrun a rabbit over longer distances.
My Last Bunny Thoughts
Rabbits are amazing little animals, and over the years, wild rabbits have evolved to become quicker and more agile to give them a better chance at survival. They don’t have hutches or living spaces to protect them from predators or the elements, so they rely on their ability to run.
Unlike their cousins, your floppy-eared friend lives a very protected life and can run around the area safely. Your bun is likely to reach high speeds when they are zooming around their living space to get your attention or trying to escape your grasp when they are not in the mood.