Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Rabbits - the Original Spanish Soccer Players

¡Enhorabuena España en su victoria del equipo de fútbol! I have known a couple of rabbits who were great "futbol" players. Afterall, Oryctolagus cuniculus is thought to have originated in southern Spain. With those powerful hind legs for kicking and their dizzying zigzag pattern of moving away from predators, they are certainly suited to soccer. In Spanish rabbits are called "Conejos." I admit I watched my own fuzzy futbol players more this past week than the World Cup.
The word "Hispana" means "land of rabbits." Apparently, the European rabbit declined in it's native Spain because of myxomatosis and rabbit calicivirus disease, hunting and habitat loss. It is considered a keystone species in it's natural habitat. Losses of predators like the Iberian Lynx and Spanish Eagle are directly related to the lack of a healthy rabbit population. Wild rabbits are not pests in Spain and are listed as "near threatened" or "vulnerable" by authorities. I think the Spanish Soccer team should have a rabbit as a mascot.