Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits are the world's smallest and among the rarest. Native only to a single area of Washington State, this once isolated population of Pygmy rabbits usually weighs less than a pound in adulthood and was declared extinct in the wild in the '90s, after the remaining 14 bunnies were scooped up and taken into the equivalent of bunny protective custody.

This year the Oregon Zoo welcomed 26 of the little guys, bringing this year's total to 73 baby bunnies (kits) among participating breeding facilities. Color is added to the ears in the pictures below so zoo staff can tell the kits apart.

Unlike most rabbits, the Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit did not breed prodigously in captivity, partially due to inbreeding within the tiny wild population. As a result they were cross bred with Idaho Pygmy Rabbits and subsequent breeding efforts have been more successful.

Pygmy rabbits are the only North American rabbits that dig burrows and live in a sagebrush habitat. Jack rabbits, which also live in sagebrush communities, are actually hares, not rabbits. In the wild, pygmy rabbits eat sagebrush almost exclusively in the winter; during summer, they eat a more varied diet. They may have two to four litters of about two to six kits during the spring and summer breeding seasons. Population decline is widely attributed to predation and habitat loss caused by agricultural development and wildfires.


VIDEO Pygmy rabbits

Responses to "Meet the World's Smallest Rabbit (Video)"

  1. Unknown says:

    There is a lot of conservation work being done with these small rabbits in the columbia basin. I had the opportunity to help for a day last month. It was fascinating work and very successful. The rabbits are once again running wild in the basin, still in danger, but on the long path to recovery.

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