Wild Fact #39 – Not Your Typical Rabbit – Amami Rabbit

Amami Rabbit

 

Cool Facts About The Amami Rabbit

  • The Amami Rabbit is not your average rabbit. You see these little guys have developed some odd characteristics as a result of growing up in isolation
  • These unique creatures can only be found on two small Japanese islands, Tokunoshima and Amami
  • Due to their limited distribution range, the Amami Rabbit feels the impacts of habitat loss and species introduction a lot harder than most animals. As such, these cute, little critters are listed as endangered and their population continues to decline.

Not Your Average Rabbit

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a rabbit? I bet a few of the characteristics listed below just popped into your head:

  • Long ears
  • Cute and cuddly
  • Fur changes colour
  • Breed like crazy
  • Furball (okay, maybe this is just in my head as I fondly remember playing with my pet bunny rabbit as a kid – for the record, Furball (and his brother Gizmo) were the best rabbits ever)

Unlike your typical rabbit, the Amami variety has short ears, dark fur, a stocky body, will only give birth to one offspring at a time, although they may have more than one baby per year. Oh and these unique animals are nocturnal, which is also bizarre for a rabbit. Although they have all these differences, they are still cute and cuddly, so they have that in common with all other rabbits out there. Amami Rabbit

Conserving a National Monument

As mentioned earlier, the Amami Rabbit is listed as endangered with a declining population. Research indicates that there are only about 3000 to 5000 individuals remaining in the wild. The majority of these rabbits can be found on the island of Amami. Habitat destruction has delivered a giant blow to the success of this species, however, I feel that the introduction of non-native species (especially the mongoose) has caused the most damage for them.

Don’t worry, there is some good news on the conservation front. The Amami Rabbit has been identified as a Japanese National Monument and as such receives protection from hunting. As well, conservation groups are working on protecting their habitat from logging and development so this should give these little guys a place to live for a while long. Finally, there have been a few programs put in place to control the population of the mongoose. When you combine all of these actions there is indeed a glimmer of hope for the Amami Rabbit.

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