Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Amami Rabbit

Pentalagus furnessi
Today's animal is one of those creatures that is sometimes referred to as a "Living Fossil." You see, these Rabbits have evolved in complete isolation over thousands of years, and now have traits that make them a bit unusual.

Amami Rabbits are found on only two small islands-- Amami and Tokunoshima. They are located between the large Japanese island of Kyushu, and Okinawa. That isolation has led them to maintain primitive rabbit traits-- short ears, thick dark fur, and stocky bodies.

These Rabbits are nocturnal, which is also an unusual rabbit trait. They spend the daytime in underground dens. They also give birth to only a single baby at a time, though a female may have more that one child during a single year.

Sadly, because these Rabbits live on only two islands, they are very susceptible to habitat loss and the trouble caused by introduced species. Mongooses have been especially problematic to these rabbit, and have caused a significant population drop since they were first introduced 30 years ago. Mongoose (and feral cat and dog) eradication programs have been proposed to save the Rabbits, along with the restoration of habitat.

IUCN Status : Endangered
Location : Japan
Size : Body length up to 20in (50cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Lagomorpha
Family : Leporidae -- Genus : Pentalagus -- Species : P. furnessi
Image : Animal Photos

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