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The Real Giant Rabbits That Inspired Peter Jackson For "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey"

Yes, these giant rabbits really do exist, and yes, you can have one in your house if you want it. Plus: exclusive video!

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In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the wizard Radagast the Brown rides on a sleigh pulled by giant "Rhosgobel Rabbits" — creatures that were very much not in J.R.R. Tolkein's beloved book.

In this exclusive clip from the extended edition Blu-ray for the film (out Nov. 5), director and co-screenwriter Peter Jackson reveals that these fantasy rabbits are based on quite real giant rabbits that exist in real life and are real.

Warner Bros. Pictures & New Line Cinema

The most common breed of giant rabbit is called the Flemish Giant, and they've actually been around since roughly the 16th century.

Flickr: tjflex / Creative Commons

They were initially bred in Belgium for meat and fur, but eventually, their flopsy adorableness became too overpowering.

Source: The Maryland Zoo


According to the National Federation of Flemish Giant Rabbit Breeders — yes, that is a real thing — the Flemish Giant is recognized to come in seven varieties (or colors).

Flickr: 58638411@N00 / Creative Commons

They are black, blue, fawn (light yellowish brown), light gray, sandy, steel gray, and white.

Source: The NFFGRB


And the world of giant rabbit breeders is, evidently, quite competitive.

View this video on YouTube

Bizarrely, the photos of giant rabbits Jackson and his team found online appear to have been altered — not of the giant rabbit, but of the man holding the giant rabbit.

It would appear the prestige of owning a giant rabbit is so irresistible that some guy apparently felt it necessary to trick people into thinking he was the one holding it.

Because who doesn't want a photo of themselves holding a giant rabbit?