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What Is the Sport of Kaninhoppning?

Take this test to find out how much you know about the popular Scandinavian sport, kaninhoppning. The headquarters for the sport is Sweden, but it has become popular in the United States as well.

Which one of these statements is true?

  1. Kaninhoppning is a unique way of fishing whereby anglers must stab the fish with a sharpened can.
  2. Kaninhoppning is a stylized form of dance where four couples must hop over each other’s legs in a particular dance sequence.
  3. Kaninhoppning is a sport for rabbits who, like horses, jump over fences and obstacles.
  4. Kaninhoppning is a national spelling contest in Sweden where only the most difficult words are included in the competition.

If you guessed the rabbit-jumping competition, you are right. Here’s a video demonstrating the sport.

Boing! (Photo by Wikkie, CC BY-SA 3.0)

Here’s another test for you based on the sport. Which one of the following statements is true?

  1. Binkies are cozy little blankets that the rabbits rest on when they are not competing.
  2. Binkies are spontaneous, sudden leaps with a midair twist, indicating happiness.
  3. Binkies are little booties that are placed on the rabbits’ feet to protect them when not in competition.
  4. Binkies are soft blinders placed over the rabbits’ eyes when traveling to competitions so they won’t get nervous.

If you guessed spontaneous, sudden leaps in midair with a twist, you are correct.

The world record for the highest jump is 39.2 inches, set by a Danish rabbit owned by Tine Hygom. The rabbit’s name, Mimrelunds Tösen, translates in English as The Lassie of Quivering Grover. The record, set in Herning, Denmark, on June 28, 1997, has yet to be broken.

Binkies, which rabbits can’t be trained to perform but rather are inherent in the species both domesticated and wild, are only one kind of behavior rabbits are known for.

Zooming is when rabbits run around very fast in circles in a room. Flopping describes the relaxed rabbit who flops down on his side to rest. Sprawling on the ground signals contentment and a sense of safety. Sometimes rabbits grind their teeth for a sort of purring sound. Rabbits like toys, just like dogs, and toss them around and chew on them.

I’ve always been puzzled by the use of rabbits as symbols for Easter, especially when the Easter bunnies come with chocolate eggs. Rabbits don’t lay eggs, and insofar as I can tell, there is no association between rabbits, chocolate eggs, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Yet in my mind, from childhood on, the three were inextricably linked.

Also troubling to me is the consumption of rabbit here in France. I have a hard time eating the meat if I picture a soft, fuzzy little creature. Without qualms, I can eat chicken, lamb, or beef. But if rabbit were the only meat, I’d probably end up becoming a vegetarian.

On any given day, I’d rather see rabbits outdoors competing in kaninhoppning than in a plastic-wrapped meat container in my grocery store.


Cover photo by Janina Klawér on Good Free Photos