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The domestic rabbit, as many people know, is a descendant of the European rabbit. A colony living, tunnel digging animal that establishes territory to raise their young. But did you know there is a whole wide world of rabbits? Let’s learn eh!
Rabbits are of the order Lagomorpha, commonly called lagomorphs. This order is made up of three families: Leporidae (rabbits and hares), Ochontonidae (30 species of pika) and Prolagidae (extinct branch of pika). Rabbits are Leporids of which there are 29 species across 10 genera. In all continents except for Antartica.
- Pentalagus – Amami Rabbit, Japanese Rabbit
- Bunolagus – Riverine rabbit, Karoo Desert, South Africa
- Nesolagus – striped rabbits, 2 species, Southeast Asia
- Romerolagus – Volcano Rabbit, Mexico
- Brachylagus – Pygmy rabbit, USA
- Sylvilagus – cottontails 17 species, North and South America
- Oryctolagus – European rabbit, introduced to Americas, Australia
- Poelagus – Bunyoro Rabbit, Central Africa
- Pronolagus – rockhares, 3 species, Africa
- Caprolagus – hispid hare, India, Nepal, Bangledesh
I’m going to talk a bit about a few of these rabbits.
Living on two small Japanese islands, these rabbits are a dark-furred rabbit, the only living remnants of an ancient breed of rabbit from Asia. They are part of the Pentalagus genus. Weighing from 4.5-6.5 lbs they are protected by the Japanese government. Less than 5,000 are known to exist in the wild. The Amami rabbit is an elusive, nocturnal rabbit.
Features such as small stocky limbs with over-sized claws and physical characteristics differing from other rabbits in such ways as smaller eyes/ears and a longer pronounced snout set the Amami rabbit aside from its relatives and make it easily distinguishable. (source)
This is the only member of the Bunolagus genus. It is native to the Karoo desert in South Africa. It is a the typical brownish-grey of many wild rabbits.
The Riverine rabbit is easily recognizable by the long brown stripes in its facial fur that run from its mouth right round to the back of its ears. Among the features that define this rabbit include big flexible ears and large lumpy hind feet, the fur of …. is mostly light brown with the exception of the belly and neck which is usually a creamy colored fur. (source)
Females only have one kit per year, which has contributed to it being on the critically endangered list. It is a nocturnal rabbit. There are only about 250 left in the wild.
With adults reaching 1 lb as adults, these are the world’s smallest rabbit. Located in Washington State and Idaho. They are an endangered species that are being captive bred and then released into the wild. Learn about their steps to recovery here.
These rabbits are a familiar site in most towns and countrysides in North America. A quick-moving, non-domesticated animal, cottontails build their nests as a small indent in the ground, just big enough to hold a litter of kits. A camouflaging grey-brown colour these lagomorphs are a garden pest, but always bring a smile to my face. 🙂
People often find a next of bunnies and wonder what to do since momma isn’t around. This video talks about what to do if you find a nest.
Two known species, the Sumatran Short-eared and the Annamite Striped. These rabbits are named for the region they are found in. They are striped rabbits! Go figure eh! I was so surprised. The Sumatran is smaller at 3ish lbs, the Annamite 4-6 lbs. These rabbits have stripes on their back half.
I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse of some of the wide world of rabbits. It’s amazing the differences between them isn’t it?
Others in This Series
- American Fuzzy Lop.
- Baby Bunnies.
- Culling well.
- Discussing Death.
- Errors in Judgement.
- Feeding Rabbits.
- The G’s of rabbits.
- Holland Lops.
- Interesting facts about rabbits.
- The Joy of Bunnies.
- Choosing Rabbits to Keep.
- Leaping Lagomorphs.
- The Scoop on Poop.
- Not Wanted Rabbits.
- Over the Hill.
- Educating Pet Rabbit Buyers.
- Rescues and Breeders.
- Shelving Babies.
- Travelling with Rabbits.
- U asked.
- Vetting Your Rabbits.
- Wide World of Rabbits.
Letter W Link Up
Each week we will be linking up with the hosts of Blogging Through the Alphabet. Please visit some of these other blogs to get things like book lists, vegan recipes, and wonderful places to visit, just to name the topics I can think of off the top of my head.