Do rabbits “chew the cud”, like it says in the Bible? The answer is no. Chewing the cud involves the regurgitating of food and a four-compartment stomach. Rabbits do not have a four-chambered stomach, nor do they regurgitate their food, like a cow does.
A ruminant is a mammal that digests plant-based food by initially softening it within the animal’s first compartment of the stomach, principally through bacterial actions, then regurgitating the semi-digested mass, now known as cud, and chewing it again. The process of re-chewing the cud to further break down plant matter and stimulate digestion is called “ruminating”. There are about 150 species of ruminants which include both domestic and wild species. There are also pseudo-ruminants having three-compartment stomachs instead of four like ruminants. Monogastric animals such as Guinea pigs, horses and rabbits are not ruminants as they have a simple single-chambered stomach and digest cellulose via an enlarged cecum allowing the easy digestion of fibrous materials. Such animals are called hindgut fermenters.
However, rabbits engage in a chewing action (moving their jaws) in such a manner as to appear to be chewing the cud to a casual observer. This action was so convincing that the great Swedish scientist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778) originally classified rabbits as ruminants. Linnaeus classified humans among the primates (as they were later called) beginning with the first edition of Systema Naturae. Thus, Linnaeus placed man and monkeys under the same category, Anthropomorpha, meaning “man-like.”
Just because rabbits occasionally eat their own feces does not make them ruminants (cud chewers). Moses should have dissected a rabbit before writing Leviticus 11:6-“The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a split hoof; it is unclean for you.” Carl Sagan on Christianity said, “My long-time view about Christianity is that it represents an amalgam of two seemingly immiscible parts, the religion of Jesus and the religion of Paul. Thomas Jefferson attempted to excise the Pauline parts of the New Testament (contradicting Revelation 22:19).” THE END