Are rabbits changing colour?

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blakestyger

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« on: 21/07/2008 22:21:19 »
Last Friday I saw a black rabbit amongst some wild ones of the usual colour scheme. It was near a village so I thought it may be an escaped pet gone feral. Then this evening I saw two more (young ones) by the roadside with some more 'usual' wild rabbits - eleven miles from the first sighting.

There is a dominant gene for melanism amongst grey squirrels and I understand that this is spreading - I've seen some in Cambridge but not in Norfolk yet.

The question is: is this really spreading to the extent that all squirrels and rabbits will be black eventually and why has this appeared so relatively suddenly?

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #1 on: 21/07/2008 22:35:50 »
There are billions of rabbits around here (OK, that may be a slight exaggeration) but I have not noticed any that are not the usual colour of a wild rabbit.
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Offline Make it Lady

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #2 on: 21/07/2008 23:37:26 »
Black rabbits do occur in the wild but are few and far between. It is partly cross breeding. I guess black is a dominant colour. I have seen black rabbits in the wild as far back as 30 years ago so it isn't a new thing.
I'd hate to think that evolution was going to make all animals black!
Give a man a fire and he is warm for a day, set a man on fire and he is warm for the rest of his life.

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Offline that mad man

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #3 on: 22/07/2008 01:55:27 »
It could be that someone has released a pet black rabbit into the wild and it has bread with a wild rabbit.

It happens with a lot of captive species when released into the wild.

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #4 on: 22/07/2008 08:00:12 »
Maybe the black ones are on day trips from S E London  [:D]
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blakestyger

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #5 on: 22/07/2008 09:02:22 »
Thanks to you all - the day trippers are still here so we're probably looking at a long weekend or even a sabatical if they're here in the autumn.

A biologist I met last spring said that all squuirells could end up black - I'll try and contact her again and clarify that.

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Offline Bored chemist

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #6 on: 22/07/2008 19:35:35 »
My brother's family have a pet rabbit. If I remember I will ask him if it's changing colour.
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blakestyger

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #7 on: 22/07/2008 20:02:16 »
Very droll - I think now this may have something to do with genetic drift.

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #8 on: 22/07/2008 20:25:57 »
Is that the lagoporph equivalent of continental drift?
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blakestyger

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #9 on: 23/07/2008 13:31:21 »
Not quite.
By the way, if it's not undiplomatic to ask, what's happened to your duel with Bishadi? I didn't think it would dry up so suddenly. He's the only member on TNS so far to communicate entirely in  Lolcat. [;D]

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #10 on: 23/07/2008 18:08:28 »
There's no point attempting discourse with anyone who won't answer questions.
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Offline Bored chemist

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #11 on: 23/07/2008 20:25:53 »
I can tell I'm going to have to steal this put down line "He's the only ... to communicate entirely in  Lolcat." for some of the folk I know.
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blakestyger

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #12 on: 23/07/2008 21:41:05 »
There's no point attempting discourse with anyone who won't answer questions.

Absolutely right - best left.

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Offline opus

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #13 on: 23/07/2008 23:24:39 »
my rabbit's not changed colour- it's still pink.

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #14 on: 23/07/2008 23:32:33 »
my rabbit's not changed colour- it's still pink.

Is it still rampant too?  [;D]
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Offline opus

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #15 on: 23/07/2008 23:40:02 »
it has its moments.

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #16 on: 24/07/2008 07:53:17 »
Ooooh... I like Moments!

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Offline opus

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #17 on: 24/07/2008 09:30:43 »
magic!

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Offline DoctorBeaver

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Are rabbits changing colour?
« Reply #18 on: 24/07/2008 15:26:18 »
I can make them disappear like magic!
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