We all have that hunting buddy who loves to regale us with tales of monster rabbits bagged on every hunt. To hear this person tell it, the rabbit was twice the weight of the average cottontail and three times as long. It can be tough to listen to such stories with a straight face and it may seem at times like even your rabbit dogs are rolling their eyes. Though such enormous cottontails may be a figment of the imagination, that does not necessarily mean there aren't some big ol' bunnies roaming this earth.
The average cottontail rabbit can be a bit of a modest creature. In size they are usually between 15 and 1/2 inches to 18 and 3/4 inches. Their weight typically falls between 28 ounces (or 1 and 3/4 pounds) and 54 ounces (just under 3 and 1/2 pounds). Cottontails are fully grown at six months of age and waste no time procreating, having litters of up to 12 kits with each weighing in at no more than 1 and 1/2 ounces. All of these numbers in combination equate to one thing: the cottontail is not the biggest bunny on the block. That title is reserved for the Flemish Giant.
Imagine if you will a hunt for a rabbit that actually weighs almost as much as your rabbit dogs. Such a beast does exist, tipping the scales at an average of 15 pounds with some specimens reaching as high as 20 pounds. This rabbit, which dates back to the 16th century, is known as the Flemish Giant and it very much lives up to its name. This breed of rabbit was originally intended to serve the purpose of providing meat and fur. They arrived in the United States in the 1890's and were quite the phenom, turning heads at livestock shows. Eventually a breed standard was enacted and a club began to recognize these behemoths of the bunny world.
In addition to being sizeable and outweighing the cottontail, the Flemish Giant outlives it as well. The lifespan of the average wild cottontail is usually less than three years whereas the Flemish Giant can live as long as five years but have been known to live into their teens. This is likely in large part due to a lack of predation in the wild, but it is a respectable age for a rabbit nonetheless. What the Flemish does not do as well as the cottontail, however, is reproduce, being slower to reach sexual maturity and giving birth to smaller, less frequent litters.
Although there will likely never come a time when we encounter a Flemish Giant in the hunt field, it is nice to dream of the dinner such a rotund rabbit would make. Though their docile nature would make them less exciting to hunt than the always amped cottontail, a 15 pound rabbit would still be quite the haul to bring home. One can only imagine what the beagles would think when confronted with such a beefy bunny. So next time your hunting buddy starts talking about having the most impressive rabbit record, go ahead and set him straight with the tale of the Flemish Giant. There may be many respectable rabbits in the woods, but none can hold a candle to this, the largest of the bounteous bunnies.
What are your thoughts on this grand rabbit? How do you expect your rabbit dogs would react to such a sweeping specimen? Let us know in the comments.