Special thanks go to Shayne for helping with this story. She contributed the good parts, and we contributed the rest.
STEPHENVILLE, TX—Researchers from the Tarleton State University Department of Wildlife Science have concluded that, of all mammals, male rabbits are the most happy, relaxed, and confident.
“We’ve conducted a five-year study of North Texas mammals,” said Randy Rivers, Wildlife Science Department head. “Our findings regarding the Leporidae family are most fascinating.”
According to Rivers, cottontails in the wild mate continuously from February through September. This, he says, is good news for the bucks.
“Just imagine,” he said. “Eight months of continuous breeding with multiple does. The more virile males may breed up to five times a day, which could amount to 1,200 times during a normal breeding season. No wonder these furry fellows are content, albeit tired.”
Bloodwork from 383 male rabbits showed that the stress hormone cortisol, though comparable to other animals outside of breeding season, is virtually non-existent from February through September, and often even through the winter. Levels begin to slowly climb as breeding season approaches. Findings for females, however, are not the same.
“The younger does seem to enjoy breeding season for a day or two, but once they are bred, their enjoyment level drops,” said Susie Cooper, Wildlife Scientist. “A cottontail doe can have litters of 6-10, and with a gestation period of only 30 days, they often have 6-7 litters per year. That’s about 70 bratty bunnies hopping around your rabbit hole. So, um, how would you like to be a female cottontail?”
We caught up with Bucky O’Hare, a participant in the recent study, to hear his thoughts.
“There are like 5,000 cute does in these woods, and I’ve, uh, worked with half of them during this study. I could use a nap now and then, but stress? Nah. Life is good.”
Velvet Fincher, another participant in the study, disagreed:
“Am I happy? I’ve got 38 bouncing bastards pulling at my ears with seven more thumping from the inside. I haven’t had a chance to lick my fur in three months, yet these jerks are still chasing my tail. And do you think I’m getting any help from the dads? Hell no. They’re too busy chasing my friends and sisters.”
We talked to Max, the university farm sheep dog, to get his thoughts on the study.
“Look, Bub. I’m the wrong dog to talk to on this. Do I get to enjoy breeding season? Oh, no. As soon as I noticed that pretty border collie in the next barn it was snip, snip for old Max. I wasn’t even four months old. So, don’t talk to me about those damn rabbits. Or the sheep.”
Ernie, an older male praying mantis perched on the stall just above Max, chimed in:
“I’m not a mammal so forgive me, but I would concur that rabbits are the happiest of all creatures. Each year, I’ve had to choose: life, or sex. Elyse promised me it would be different with us, but she promised the same to Homer, and Sid, and Al. Still, I can no longer resist her charm. Oh, the injustice! I can only hope that I’ll come back as a rabbit.”