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Monday, December 3, 2012

Riverine Rabbit

Beauty Of Animal | Riverine Rabbit | This rabbit lives in one of the few areas of the Karoo Desert suitable for conversion to agriculture, and as a result has lost virtually all its habitat to farming. Less than 250 individuals survive, and all occur on privately owned land where they come under further pressure from hunting, trapping, and predation by feral dogs and cats. An extremely slow breeder (for a rabbit), the species is finding it almost impossible to recover from these losses, and is in desperate need of conservation attention.
The order Lagomorpha contains two families, the Ochotonidae (pikas) and Leporidae (rabbits and hares). These families are thought to have diverged during the late Eocene, 35-38 million years ago. The Leporidae comprises two groups: the jackrabbits and hares of the genus Lepus, and the rabbits in the remaining ten genera. Recent molecular data indicates that most rabbit and hare genera arose from a single rapid diversification event during the Miocene (between 12 and 16 million years ago). Bunolagus monticularis is the sole species in the genus Bunolagus.

Head and body length: 337-470 mm:
Tail length: 70-108 mm:
Ear length: 107-124 mm
Weight: 1.0-1.5 kg

This species has large moveable ears, and can be easily identified by the dark brown stripe running from the corner of the mouth and across the cheek towards the base of the ear. Its limbs are short and heavily furred, and it has a broad club-like hind foot. Its fur is cream-coloured on the belly and throat, and it has a uniformly brown woolly tail. Male riverine rabbits weigh approximately 1.5 kg and females 1.8 kg.

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