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Image: Darius the bunny
TODAY
Darius the rabbit is 4 feet, 3 inches from his wiggly nose to his puffy tail, and weighs in at 50 pounds.
By
TODAY contributor
updated 7/29/2010 11:49:30 AM ET 2010-07-29T15:49:30

Things are hopping in Worcester, England. First, one of its residents had herself surgically transformed into curvaceous cartoon character Jessica Rabbit. Then, one of her pet bunnies officially became the world’s most humongous rabbit.

Darius is the fourth world-record rabbit owned by model and grandmother Annette Edwards. He lazed on a table at his home while Edwards showed him off on TODAY via satellite.

He’s 4 feet, 3 inches from his wiggly nose to his puffy tail, and weighs in at 50 pounds. And while he’s not quite the size of Wallace and Gromit’s were-rabbit, he’s still young — and still growing.

“He could grow another four to six inches,” Edwards said. “It’s quite scary.”

Guinness World Records has certified Darius’ record, which is based solely on his length. The record-keepers used to also list animals by weight, but dropped that measurement out of fear that people were overfeeding their pets to get them in the record book.

TODAY
Darius’ owner, Annette Edwards, has owned several other record-breaking rabbits.

He thinks he’s a dog
Edwards’ pets just seem to jump into the record book. Another of her rabbits, Alice, had held the record before Darius shouldered her aside. Before Alice, there was Amy, who died in 2008 while on a publicity tour of Italy. Before Amy, there was Roberto.

All are members of the aptly named continental giant breed.

Darius thinks he’s a dog, Edwards said. He eats at the table and lays across Edwards’ lap to be petted when she watches the telly. Every day he wolfs down a bowl of rabbit chow, two apples, a dozen carrots with their leafy tops and half a cabbage.

Fortunately, since Edwards raises her own vegetables, feeding Darius isn’t that expensive.

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But he’s no house bunny. Edwards travels with Darius, trading on his enormous size and her own Jessica Rabbit proportions. Although the blonde Edwards dressed casually for TODAY, when she makes appearances with Darius, she dons a flowing red wig, pulls on elbow-length purple gloves, climbs up on platform shoes with stiletto heels, and pours herself into a tight, red sequined dress split up to here, with a neckline that plunges down to there.

Stealing her spotlight
It’s a look that last year cost her $16,000 in plastic surgery bills to achieve, but it’s apparently been worth it. Still, as stunning a picture as Edwards presents, Darius is the star, which makes her hopping mad.

“Darius is now on tour all over the world. He’s bringing out a book for children. You know, I’m quite jealous,” Edwards said with mock annoyance. “He’s actually taken over me. I’m a professional model, and he’s having more fame than me. It’s not fair.”

Video: Ralph — Darius' half-brother — tips scales at 40-plus pounds (on this page)

Bunny bodyguard
Being a star has its benefits for the large lagomorph. Darius is insured for $1.6 million, has an agent and travels with a bodyguard who reportedly makes about $100,000 a year just to wrangle a rabbit.

The 59-year-old Edwards has raised 10 children, but she’s always had this thing about bunnies. She owned her first one when she was 8 and has been a fan every since.

TODAY
Hefting Darius’ 50-pound weight is no small feat.

She emphasized that Darius is not fat. He’s just enormous.

“Darius is very healthy. He has lots and lots of exercise and a very good, balanced diet,” Edwards said. “He’s King Darius. He’s a very famous bunny. He’s a celebrity.”

Then, in case anyone failed to notice, she added, “He’s a very big boy.”

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Video: Ralph — Darius' half-brother — tips scales at 40-plus pounds

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