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Herd culture / the sentinel rabbit is more desirable

A rock rabbit in the zoological garden at Tel Aviv University. It is not recommended to capture it with bare hands

Tomer Perat

Photo: Tomer Perat

In recent months, a group of rock rabbits has been wandering in the Ramat Aviv area, and its members
Discovered on different websites. Recently a rabbit was discovered infiltrating the warehouse
of a local military base, and his friend was seen sunbathing in the garden of the television studios
the academic This is not a migration of species from the Golan Heights to the nerve center
of the country, but in a group of rock rabbits that escaped from the zoo of
Tel Aviv University. Their permanent base is the hay bales in the barn
the garden, but from there they go on raids. To their credit it can be said that they are not harmful to a person
or purchase, and they get most of their food in the garden yard. But their bite
may be difficult, so it is not recommended to try and capture them with bare hands.

In any case, the chances of seeing the common northern Tel Aviv rabbit are small, because
that, like his brothers growing up in the desert cliffs, he is also timid and rarely goes out
from hiding When you notice a rock rabbit in the wild, it is actually the sentinel that stands "exposed".
in a turret" and warns of approaching enemies. When danger is near he lets out a shriek
and his friends run for cover.

The Nature Conservation Research Institute at Tel Aviv University is not excited about escapes
Some of their research findings. Most of them have already had blood samples taken and assembled
Their genetic profile, which helps the main research that takes place in nature. the study
Deals, among other things, with the nature and status of the sentinel rabbit. It turns out that in every band
There are some who are the most successful physically and socially.

What evolutionary logic actually sends the elite to risk their lives,
thereby weakening the species genetically? One explanation is that in a similar way
For humans, defensive altruism raises the status of the sentinel rabbit and becomes
The same to be desired by the girls. The guard rabbits, it turns out, mate with
More females in their free time, spreading their quality genes without
effort, and to paraphrase the Weizmann saying "the good ones for keeping, the good ones
to the guards".
{Appeared in Haaretz newspaper, 10/1/2001{

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