The Easter bunny (Easter rabbit or Easter hare) is “folkloric figure and symbol of Easter, depicted as a rabbit bringing Easter eggs.” This perhaps is the reason why so many people, especially those who are not familiar with bunnies ask whether they lay eggs or not. It is a legitimate question to some extent.
To begin with, the Easter hare was used to evaluate if children have been obedient or not during the Easter festivities and it came from the German Lutherans. There are pictures depicting a hare or bunny caring a basket of eggs, toys and candies meant for children. Sometimes, the creature has clothes.
This is a legend that should be compared to the Christkind and Santa Claus legends common at Christmas. But why a hare or a bunny?
In “Germany, rabbits have been associated with spring and fertility since the pre-Christian era. In fact, they were the symbol of Eostra—the pagan Germanic goddess of spring and fertility.” This could be due to the fact that these animals are known to be prolific breeders.
According to the legend, “goddess of spring, Eastre (Ēostre, Eostra or Ostara), turned a frozen bird into a snow hare that could lay colorful eggs.” This is the origin of the myth and it was adopted to Christianity among the Lutherans.
Therefore, we cannot dismiss any kid who would be wondering whether these animals lay eggs or not since it might be part of the believes some kids have grown up believing in. However, there is a need to demystify facts from myths and answer the question.
Do rabbits give birth or lay eggs?
The outright answer is No. Rabbits do not lay eggs. They are mammals with a placenta and their kits develop inside the womb for about 30-33 days.
However, desert cottontail and New England cottontail have a gestation period of 28 days, the Mexican cottontail and Dice’s cottontail take 30 days while both the Eastern cottontail and Bush rabbit take 27 days. Finally, the Tapeti (Brazilian cottontail) has a gestation period of 42 days and that of a swap rabbit is 37 days.
Therefore, bunnies are not among the monotremes. Only the duck-billed platypus and spiny anteaters (four species of echidna) are monotremes or mammals still living on this planet that lay eggs.
When bunnies give birth to kits (kitten) they are usually furless, and their eyes and ears are sealed but open later after birth. Eyes open after about 10 days.
Whereas some pagan myth may have made some children grow up imagining rabbits lay eggs, the truth is that they don’t. They give birth just like human beings.