What land does angora rabbits come from?

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For some time we have been interested in the role which angora rabbits have in the global rabbit population because of their wide geographic range, the fact that they have colonised almost every European landmass from Denmark to the Arctic Circle, as well as in the Northern Hemisphere from south to north.

They are also the only wild species of rabbit that has achieved widespread success in the captive environment. For a long time we suspected that the land that angora rabbits inhabit can be traced to their birthplace in southern Europe, but that was considered unverifiable.

However, there are many clues including the fact that angora rabbits are a cross over of European and African rabbits, with African origin. Furthermore, there are many differences in gene expression between African and European origin rabbits.

The angora rabbit is a non- native to Europe and has a very wide geographic range and is in danger of extinction due to the large rabbit population in the wild. But what is angora's habitat?
Because of their wide range, geographic distribution, geographical isolation and the fact that they are unable to cross to other lands– because it would be too dangerous for the rabbits– the only land that they can occupy is the open, open forests of western Europe, the Balkans where the most of their prey is found.

How did angora rabbits spread to these forested lands?
Before human activity started encroaching upon these habitats, the rabbits lived in a very small group of small wild rabbits on the slopes of the mountain range.

Therefore, rabbits did not develop domestication, and therefore the rabbits were unable to adapt to their different environment and adapted to other animals that lived in such a remote and protected environment.

So, they moved to the most suitable place in Europe and their success grew until European rabbits were the predominant wild animals in Europe. What happened at the end of the Roman period?
The transition from a nomadic to settled life is one of the most remarkable events in human history.

In the Roman period, the whole population was in the middle of this shift from nomadic life to a settled life. In a way, the Roman period gave birth to the rabbit. One of the main purposes of these Roman periods was to increase land supply in order to ensure a steady supply of food for the people.

Therefore, they moved to the countryside and lived in a very small group that was unable to adapt to this new life but it was able to adapt to the environment and adapt to food. That is why angora rabbits survived and spread to Europe at a very rapid pace.

Can you tell us more of the history?
For centuries there have been stories about a large group of rabbit living in the forests of southern Europe during this period. We even mentioned it in an article about modern rabbits.

So what we know are few hints and some speculations, but more is already known about this important events. What happened to the rabbits?
These rabbits were very large and their fur was very long and very dense, like a rabbit's hair.

In the middle of the Roman period there were many different species that were the same in size and colour. They lived in a nomadic fashion, without any type of settlements to support them. Therefore, when the Roman period ended, the rabbits just stayed in the forested areas and it was quite difficult to establish a permanent settlement.

Then one day they disappeared. What happened to the young animals?
There were only about 1, 000 wild rabbits at that time and since they had few other opportunities to live, they became unable to adapt to the new life and adapted other animals that have developed since then who are not related to the rabbits so they could survive a little longer.

In a way they become extinct. We only know what happened to them because of human activities. For 10 000 years (in Europe) has Europe bred its first domesticated rabbit?

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