Scientists eggs-cited by new discovery

The researchers were shell shocked by film footage. 

Scientists eggs-cited by new discovery

Scientists have observed rabbits laying eggs © Marco Livolsi / EyeEm / Getty


Until very recently it was thought that the echidnas and duck-billed platypus found in Australia were the only mammals that laid eggs. However scientists conducting extensive research into rabbits occupying Watership Down in Norfolk have discovered they also belong to this family.

Due to rabbits nesting out of sight underground very little has previously been known about their reproduction process but by using highly sophisticated underground cameras this astounding new fact has been revealed.

Rabbits nest in isolated chambers away from the main burrows and it was always understood that does gave birth to embryonic like kits but recent film footage has revealed for the first time that this is not necessarily the case.

Today excited scientists announced that recordings from one of the chambers being monitored showed that six eggs were laid by a doe, identified as Hyzenthlay, in early March and then incubated for 24 days in her cosy fur-lined nest.

The shells and one unhatched egg were consequently consumed by her, a common occurrence in birds to boost their calcium levels, which is why no evidence of this phenomenon has ever previously been found.

Our pagan ancestors believed that rabbits laid eggs and modern technology has eventually proved them to be right.


Jill Mason was one of Britain’s first women gamekeepers and is the author of a number of books including The Rabbit and The Hare.


Thank you for reading our April Fools’ Day story! Read real wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine

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