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What makes a rabbit cute?

Dave Wade

BBC News

That's what researchers in Nottingham are trying to find out.

The Rabbit Face Survey is asking bunny lovers from across the world to tell them what factors influence their preference for different breeds - it could be different face shapes, ears or fur types.

rabbit
University of Nottingham

The research is being carried out by both the University of Nottingham and Nottingham Trent University and two independent research organisations.

Dr Naomi Harvey from the University of Nottingham, said: “Bunnies are arguably one of the cutest animals on the planet but sadly nowadays there is a trend for breeding by artificial selection for rather extreme facial shapes and conformations that in some instances can be bad for the animal’s health.

"For example, the flat-faced rabbits that have become popular in recent years can suffer from really bad dental problems and some of the more extreme lop-eared rabbits can develop ear infections.”

There are an estimated 1.5m pet rabbits in the UK - the third most common pet in the country.

The survey asks people to rate 25 images of rabbits for how appealing they find their faces.