The Rare Amami Rabbit
Common Name: Amami Rabbit
Scientific Name: Pentalagus furnessi
This species of rabbit is endangered due to habitat destruction and predation by non-native, introduced predators such as dogs and cats. In fact, the amami rabbit has spent the past hundreds of years evolving and adapting to an environment containing no predators at all, so it’s population is declining rapidly.
This species is particularly interesting because it has many characteristics of rabbits that went extinct long, long ago (think five to 23 million years ago). These little guys are living fossils! But the fact that they’re so old doesn’t make them any less cute… Who can resist those short ears, stocky little bodies, and funny-shaped face? Sure, the eyes may be a bit creepy, but it kinda adds to the cuteness:
These guys can grow up to 500 mm (20 inches) long and weigh about two kilograms (4.5 pounds). They live in forested areas on the Japanese islands of Amami and Tokuno.
Amami rabbits are a nocturnal species, and they feed on grasses, fruits, and other plants while outside of their dens.
Although very endangered, most of the people of Japan haven’t even heard of the species. Work is currently being done to spread awareness.