The following is an excerpt from the introduction to The Private Life of the Rabbit by R. M. Lockley.
The rabbit has a baby face, of rounded outlines, snub nose, enormous ears and eyes, and an appearance of helplessness. Konrad Lorenz has suggested that it is because of these attributes of infancy, this facial resemblance to the young human, that we – women and children especially – are pleased when we gaze at a rabbit.
The rabbit is vegetarian, timid, retiring. It may raid the vegetable plot, but it does not attack man or man’s domestic animals. Its little excursions to nibble carrots, lettuces, peas, are tiresome, but, unlike the misbehavior of children whom we nevertheless love, can be corrected by our own watchfulness. Like children, the rabbits in the garden, field, and hutch endear themselves to us by their innocent, happy preoccupation with their simple way of living. Small wonder that in the traditional nursery tales the rabbit is both enfant terrible and the lovable character. Beatrice Potter and a hundred other authors have created the acceptable image of careless, cheerful, clever Rabbit. Those enchanting Little People, the gnomes, goblins, elves and pixies have long rabbit-like ears. Uncle Remus’s Brer Rabbit always wins in the battle of wits with Brer Fox.
Cottontail II illustration by Susan Hunt-Wulkowicz
(See Bibliography Category for references)