European rabbit (Coney)

Updated: July 14, 2020
European rabbit (Coney)

The European rabbit, also known as Coney, is a species of rabbit native to south-western Europe (souther France, Spain and Portugal). Their scientific name is Oryctolagus cuniculus.

These small rabbits are believed to have originated from France as they are mentioned several times in 19th century French culture books. Nowadays, these rabbits have also been introduced in the Australian continent and are even being welcomed to people's homes as a domestic pet. If you want to learn more about the Coney as a pet, keep reading this AnimalWised rabbit file!

  • Europe
  • France


  1. Physical appearance
  2. Behavior
  3. Care
  4. Diet
  5. Health

Physical appearance

The European rabbit is smaller than the brown hare. An adult European rabbit can measure 40 centimetres (16 in) in length, and weigh 1,200–2,000 grams (2.6–4.4 lb).

The fur of the European rabbit is generally greyish-brown but it also varies and has other undertones. These rabbits have a great variation of color, ranging from light-brown to dark grey or even black. Their tail has a white underside, which becomes prominent when escaping danger. This may act as a signal for other rabbits to run.

Moulting occurs once a year, beginning in March on the face and spreading over the back. The underfur is completely replaced by October–November.


All 305 rabbit breeds are descendants of the European rabbit. These rabbits, like other rabbits, are sweet and affectionate when brought up in a loving home. They will need lots of care and patience. European rabbits need plenty of toys to entertain themselves as they are used to being quite active in the wild. Continue reading to learn about their care!


Caring for a rabbit is fun but requires time and patience. As we've previously mentioned, these rabbits will need lots of toys to play with as they are very active. We invite you to visit our article on 5 DIY rabbit toys. Other than that, your rabbit will need a rich and balanced diet. This will consist on plenty of hay, as well as a variety of vegetables.

When it comes to grooming, your rabbit will take care of themselves. They are very tidy and clean animals. We will, however, need to clean their cage. For more tips, read our article about raising rabbits.


European rabbits love to eat. For this reason we must be careful when feeding them as if we overfeed them they will become obese and have serious health issues. Speak to your veterinarian for more information. We advise you to calculate the correct amount of food they need and divide it into various meals a day.

Your rabbit will need fresh water available throughout the day. They will also need lots of hay and a great variety of vegetables to get all the vitamins and minerals they need to thrive.


The European rabbit usually lives an average of 9 years in the wild. However, this will depend on their care and overall health. To prevent any possible diseases it's best to do regular check-ups with their veterinarian every 6-12 months. If you see any abnormal behavior, it's best to call your veterinarian as soon as possible to properly diagnose them. Feel free to also read our articles about the most common rabbit health issues, such as abnormal rabbit teeth growth.

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European rabbit (Coney)