You read it first in this week’s The Factory in Guide magazine.

The rarest of rabbits  The world’s smallest rabbit is the endangered Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit.  Native to central Washington state, it’s about the size of a softball, and weighs less than a pound.

You read it first in this week’s The Factory in Guide magazine.

We all know that rabbits are soft and cute, and multiply quickly. And some can grow very large. But did you know that the Columbia Basin Pygmy is North America’s (and maybe the world’s) smallest rabbit? As adults these rabbits only weigh barely a pound and only grow to about 12 inches long. They don’t even have the typical cotton-tail most rabbits do.

The Columbia Basin pygmy loves sagebrush country. In fact, that’s where they love to make their home, under the roots of the sagebrush. While most other species of rabbit move into burrows dug by other animals, this rabbit actually prefers to dig their own. Sagebrush steppe is its favorite food. They even have enzymes in their intestines that best help in the digestion of sagebrush by neutralizing the plant’s toxins.

The sad news is that these animals are also almost extinct. Many things contribute to this. One thing is land development. Over time much of the Columbia Basin has been built up or converted into farms and ranchland. Another problem has been dry summers and increasing wildfires. It takes a very long time for the sagebrush to grow back after it has been destroyed. Lastly, natural predators and disease. The Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit only lives for 3-5 years, and their enemies are many, such as coyotes, weasels, badgers, as well as predatory birds such as hawks, owls and many others. 

Because of this, Scientists are trying to keep their numbers up by breeding them with their relatives in neighboring states. “In 2001, this pygmy rabbit was listed under the Endangered Species Act. In a last-ditch effort to save the population, 16 of the remaining Columbia Basin pygmy rabbits were taken into captivity.” Once their numbers greatly increase, they can be reintroduced into the wild.

These particular rabbits do not make the best pets, especially because of their limited, fragile lifespan, but also because they are wild and will try to defend themselves if they feel threatened. More domesticated species are best for pets, like the dwarf rabbit breeds such as Netherland Dwarf Rabbit, Jersey Wolly Rabbit, or Polish Rabbit.

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I think God appreciates the cute and fluffy animals too! Afterall, after he created the animals He “saw that it was good”.  “And God made the beast of the earth according to its kinds, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:25 NKJV Scripture taken from the New King James Version, Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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