The only place in the world where a rabbit that differentiated in the Miocene Epoch about 10 million years ago still lives now is the deep forests of Amami Oshima and Tokunoshima. The species is akin to the European coney that has survived to the present maintaining old traits that exist no longer on the Asian continent. Its fur is blackish-brown and the rabbit is about 40 – 50 cm (approx. 1.47 – 1.64 ft.) in length. Its legs are short and ears are small. It has sharp claws to use to make nests in trees and amid rocks, and digs separate holes for giving birth and for raising kittens. The Amami Rabbit is designated a special national natural treasure.
The biggest differences between this and other species is that the Amami Rabbit is nocturnal and its call is a “pyoo-ee” sound believed to be used to communicate with other rabbits. Herbivorous, the black rabbit eats chinquapin, Japanese snowbell, and pampas grass stems.
Photo / ©Futoshi Hamada