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Amami Rabbit Care Sheet

Amami Rabbit Care Sheet

Scientific Facts

Common Name:Amami rabbit, Amamino Kuro usage, Ryuku rabbit
Scientific Name:Pentalagus furnessi
Life Span:Unknown 
Size (Adult):Small
Weight (Adult)2.5 to 2.8 kg.
Habitat:Grasslands, forests, and rainforests
Body Shape:Compact
Country of Origin:Amami Oshima and Toku-no-Shima Islands in Japan

Physical Description

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The Amami rabbit is a wild rabbit with dark fur. This is a unique species because it is only found in the Amami Oshima and Toku-no-Shima Islands between Okinawa and Kyushu islands in Japan. 

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What Are The Different Types of Rabbits?

This rabbit is called a living fossil because it is a living species of ancient rabbits that lived in mainland Asia where they eventually died out. The remaining species are found only in the two islands making the Amami rabbit an endangered species under the IUCN list. 

The male Amami rabbit is 451 mm long while the female is 452 mm long. The females have shorter tails. Male Amami rabbits are slightly smaller than females making this rabbit species slightly dimorphic. 

The appearance of the Amami rabbit is primitive, with thick and dark brown to black fur. It has short ears, small eyes, and huge claws on each leg. It was estimated that the oldest species of Amami rabbit was from the last ice age, which is 30,000 to 18,000 years ago. 

The fossil has a characteristic loopy molar with 28 teeth. This has a smaller, horizontal-oval shaped foramen and lacks the supraorbital projections found in modern rabbits. 

Conservation status

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The Amami rabbit is an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List due to its occurrence in areas that are less than 10 km2. These rabbits inhabit only one area and are expected to decline continuously.

The Amami rabbit was declared as a Special National Monument by the Japanese government in 1963, which means hunting and trapping are banned. However, the natural habitat of this rabbit is being destroyed by the paper industry. The current population of Amami rabbits is estimated only by fecal counts in the islands, and it is estimated that there are only 2,000 to 4,000 species left on Amami Island and around 120 to 300 in Tokuno Island. 

Other members of the genus are considered very primitive in their characteristics and are classified in the Leporidae family. This rabbit is very basal, and fossils are found from the last ice age and more recently in the history of Japan.   

Fast Facts 

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The Amami rabbit is found only in Amami Island and Tokuno Island. It is possible for tourists to visit Amami Oshima and enjoy its clear waters, offshore reefs and check out Amami Park. You’ll also find the Mangrove Primeval Forest on this island, and experts say that they have spotted a population of Amami rabbits here. 

Reproduction in the wild and in captivity

Amami rabbits are said to be promiscuous as the home ranges of the male overlap with the female. It is unknown as to a single male will mate with more females or if a female mates with one or more males. During mating in captivity, the male approach the female, lift its abdomen using their nose, or they may bite the female’s legs as they mate.

There are some reports of successful breeding of the Amami rabbit in captivity. One attempt produced only one baby, and the neonate weighed 100 grams and was around 15 cm long. Another attempt produced 11 babies in 5 years, and this was done in the Kagoshima Hirakawa Zoo in Japan. The births were recorded in the spring and fall; therefore, it was concluded that this rabbit might breed all year round.

The gestation period is unknown for the Amami rabbit, but when it is based on primitive species of Leoprids called the volcano rabbits, the gestation period can last for 37 to 39 days.

Personality and behavior

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The Amami rabbit is a nocturnal animal that remains inside their burrows in the day and can be out foraging at night. And because this animal is nocturnal, it is very difficult to spot and may only be seen occasionally roaming the forest floor and roads. 

When a human approaches the Amami rabbit, it will flee into nearby shrubs. This species can swim, but the frequency of their swimming habits remains unknown. This rabbit can communicate by using vocalizations and sounds made by thumping their hind feet on the ground. These signals are created when predators or humans enter their area. The mother will also make the sound to tell the infants that she has returned to their nest. 

The Amami rabbit can also make calls which are the same as the sound made by pikas. There are 3 to 4 short calls to communicate with fellow rabbits that are nearby.

Comparable Breeds

The Amami rabbit is comparable to the volcano rabbit, which is a short-eared wild rabbit that is native to the mountains of Mexico. It is the world’s second-smallest rabbit and second only to the pygmy rabbit. It has almost the same primitive appearance as the Amami rabbit and is also classified as an endangered species by the IUCN. Forced breeding of remaining female volcano rabbits with other small and wild rabbits are being done to save this endangered rabbit species.  

Care of Amami Rabbits

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The Amami Rabbit is a wild rabbit, and hence, it is difficult to tell it’s care requirements in the wild. But in captivity, it can be treated as an ordinary rabbit. The four important points of care may also apply the right diet, safe housing or enclosure, proper medical treatment, and companionship.

A captive rabbit needs hay, and this is the bulk of their diets. They may also feed on food that is naturally available in their habitat but can also eat rabbit pellets, which are commercially-prepared food with vitamins and minerals for good health. Vegetables and fruits may also be added. Make sure that your pet is eating safe food. Avoid food with pesticides, toxins, and herbicides and feed it organic fruits and vegetables instead. Younger rabbits are known to eat alfalfa hay because this is high in calcium, which is needed for growing bones. Also, adult rabbits will eat legume hay. 

Provide fresh water and hay because this is an important part of a captive rabbit’s diet. Hay is rough and can help keep the digestive tracts regular. You may also use an inverted water bottle with a spout at the end. 

Captive-bred Amami Rabbits can become calm and friendly when you work hard to gain their trust. But you must have experience handling wild animals though because even if an Amami rabbit is bred in captivity, its wild side can still shine through. Constant interaction is needed. 

Also, rabbits are social animals and will need companions aside from their owners. Rabbits that grow up having constant companions are healthier, happier, and well-rounded.  

Amami Rabbits are mostly active at night, but this habit can change once it is cared for in an enclosure. But study the rabbit’s routines and provide food during the time it is more active. Captive rabbits may sleep 8 hours a day and even longer as they take naps in the daytime. Rabbits may also sleep closely together to keep themselves warm. 

Supplies and Cages

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Captive Amami Rabbits are very energetic and therefore require a big enclosure where it can play and run. This cage should be made of very strong materials like wire and metal frames. The floor of the enclosure should have soft bedding and lined with good quality cage bedding. An Amami rabbit may prefer to remain outdoors so you can set the cage on the ground. The cage must be constructed with frames and poles set deep into the ground so your pet won’t dig itself out of the enclosure.

Install a rabbit hay feeder or place a large bowl filled with hay inside the enclosure. For cage bedding, use hay, wood pellets, or horse bedding. To maintain the cage, remove your pets and place them in a safe and clean container, box, or cage. 

Always use a safe cleaner or cleaning product like white vinegar, baking soda, and water or lemon juice. Never use household cleaners because these may contain dangerous ingredients that can negatively affect your rabbit’s health.

Have an extra cage if you want to take care of baby rabbits. Prepare a warm and safe enclosure since baby rabbits are born naked, deaf, blind, and very vulnerable. These should have a warm enclosure to keep their temperatures at the right levels. A smaller cage with cage lamp or lighting will keep your kits dry, warm, and safe from its predators.

Wild rabbits can become very bored while in captivity and thus may chew on anything it can lay its eyes on. If wild rabbits are kept indoors, these will chew on anything wood and things made from light materials like plastic, paper, and cardboard. It can also chew on electrical wiring and could lead to electrocution. To avoid such accidents, provide hay or chew toys to your pet. You must rabbit-proof your home before releasing your pet. 

Health Concerns

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Little is known about the health condition of an Amami Rabbit. But most wild rabbits are healthy, and the most common condition that the Amami may be affected with is pests such as mites, ticks, and fleas. Worms can also be a problem because these are naturally present in their environment. 

And wild rabbits are not immune to common rabbit diseases which affect domesticated rabbits. This is why you must monitor your rabbit’s health and temperament. Consider that any kind of change could be because of an illness, and therefore, as early as your pet opens its eyes, take it to the vet for vaccinations and tests. 

The vet will conduct tests to assess the health and development of your pet. He will also check small and younger rabbits because these are prone to digestive conditions like enteritis, bloat, and stasis. These may affect rabbits that are less than two months of age. 

Check your pet for ear or fur parasites. As mentioned, the most common are mites, fleas, and ticks. Rabbits that are affected by these parasites usually have poor hygiene and are kept in dirty surroundings and cages. 

Monitor for any signs of illness such as poor appetite, nasal and eye discharges, constipation, loose bowels, and vomiting. Also, check for an unsteady gait, restlessness, teeth grating, and long hours of sleeping because these could be a serious condition.

Another important part of caring for captive-bred rabbits and other pets is deworming. A rabbit must be treated for worms at least twice a year. Deworming is very important in wild rabbits or rabbits born from wild parents

All rabbit breeds should be dewormed as soon as they wean from their mother. Use a pea-sized deworming paste. Just place it in its mouth, and the rabbit will swallow the medication until it is all gone. You should follow the dose according to your vet’s prescription.

Dental Care

A rabbit’s teeth will grow continuously and can become too long that this can pierce their mouth and gums. When this happens, it can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. A rabbit may not be able to eat from pain, as well. 

As an owner, you must make sure that the rabbit’s teeth don’t overgrow to avoid pain and stress. Help by offering hay because this can grind the rabbit’s teeth as it chews. You may also place wood, baskets, or other toys and accessories to fill the rabbit’s teeth. Check a rabbit’s dental health to avoid paying high dental bills.

Spaying or Neutering

Another important part of caring for any kind or breed of rabbit is spaying and neutering. Rabbits are known to be very promiscuous, and therefore, you need to control this by spaying or neutering. Spaying and neutering must be done while the rabbit is still young. 

Some vets wait until the rabbits are six months old, but some neuter bucks early to reduce aggression. Some vets neuter bucks at three months, which may be too early, considering that this may not be ready to mate yet. For questions about spaying and neutering, talk to your vet at once. You must also consult your vet for post-surgical care concerns. 

Grooming

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Amami Rabbits have short and rough furs depending. But no matter what coat your rabbit has, it will need regular grooming. This type of coat can be groomed using a small, strong brush to keep it clean, shiny, and free from pests. Grooming should be done once or twice a week. 

Grooming must also be done more frequently when the animal is molting. All rabbits molt, and this is the time when the rabbit loses its old fur to make room for a new one. Grooming prevents wool blocks, which can be dangerous since fur is indigestible. 

If your rabbit is dirty, never give it a bath because bathing can cause a lot of stress. Instead, use a damp towel to spot clean the fur. Wipe the rabbit down with a damp towel and use a dry one to dry off. Visit a vet to trim its nails since wild rabbits have longer and sharper claws and to clean its ears. 

Availability – Where to Get an Amami Rabbit

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An Amami Rabbit is a threatened species and is only found in the wild. Only people who undergo research and who study their natural habits are lucky enough to see and possibly hold this rabbit breed. 

Some rabbits are found in zoos, in protected habitats, and also in the homes of experienced pet owners. These people have volunteered to care for and possibly breed this wild rabbit.

How to Care for an Amami Rabbit

The Amami Rabbit is not a domesticated rabbit and should not be treated as one. Although caring for it may be similar to caring for captive and domesticated rabbits, you should never take one from the wild to care for it in your home. Also, Amami Rabbits are protected animals in Japan. 

This is a summary of how to care for a wild or captive-bred wild rabbit breed like an Amami Rabbit. Remember the four basic components of rabbit care: a correct diet, the right kind of enclosure, companionship, and proper medical care. 

When it comes to the rabbit’s diet, the main food is hay. Hay is given in unlimited amounts because this is important in their diet to grind their growing teeth, keep their digestive tracts healthy, and maintain regular bowel movements. You may also provide a rabbit pellet because this contains added nutrients. You may also feed your rabbit vegetables and fruits for a well-rounded diet. You may also offer food in their natural habitats such as grasses, twigs, seeds, and weeds, and many more. Just make sure that these came from safe sources.

Always have water and hay inside the rabbit’s cage. Place water in a large, heavy, and shallow bowl so that your rabbit can drink without turning the container over as it moves inside the cage. 

Captive-bred rabbits like the Amami can only become a calm and docile pet when you take time to train it. Establish a good bond by interacting with your pet daily. Use food or treats to train your rabbit. Captive rabbits are social animals and will need a rabbit companion or some companions inside their enclosure. 

Finally, to take your pet to the vet early because it needs vaccinations and tests. This must get a clean bill of health before it is allowed to be with other rabbits, pets, and people. As much as possible, quarantine new rabbits before introducing these to the cage. Screen for any illness, temperament, and pests. You must understand the different signs of illness so you can identify these early on.

FAQs

Are Amami Rabbits endangered?

Yes, Amami Rabbits are endangered. Because of the exploitation of its natural surroundings, the Amami Rabbit can only be found in two islands in Japan. This is also a nationally protected species in Japan.

Can Amami Rabbits swim?

Wildlife experts say that Amami Rabbits may be able to swim like other rabbit breeds but won’t swim as good as other water animals. Most rabbits do not want to get wet and will not like a bath since this causes stress.

How do you tame a rabbit?

If you are taming a wild rabbit, then this cannot be tamed at all. You may end up getting bitten and hurt. You may train a captive-bred rabbit instead because most of these have a docile and friendly behavior and are friendlier than their wild counterparts. 

Will Amami Rabbits eat their droppings?

Yes, just like all rabbit breeds, the Amami Rabbit will also eat its poop because these still have nutrients in them. But after eating their poop once, they won’t do it next time. No one knows why rabbits eat their poop, and you can prevent this by removing their droppings as soon as they defecate.

What do Amami Rabbits eat?

Amami Rabbits are wild rabbits that are herbivorous, and thus, it will eat plants. These will eat all parts of the plant, such as the roots, bark, seeds, weeds, flowers, and leaves. In captivity, this rabbit can eat commercially-prepared rabbit pellets, vegetables, seeds, and fruits. 

Can you rescue a wild rabbit from the forest?

Don’t take a wild animal like a wild rabbit from the forest. You can’t tame it and make it as your pet because it will still be wild. Therefore, if you see an injured rabbit, call animal services right away for immediate help.

Can you place two or more Amami Rabbits inside one cage?

Amami Rabbits are territorial and prefer to be alone. As much as possible, only one Amami rabbit in one cage. The only time that this rabbit may seek a companion is during the breeding season.

Will Amami Rabbits eat fruits and vegetables?

Yes, Amami Rabbits will eat fruits and vegetables and commercially-prepared pellets or rabbit food which contain nutrients for your pet’s good health. 

Are Amami Rabbits carnivorous?

No, these rabbits are not carnivorous. These are herbivores, which means that these won’t eat meat at all. This rabbit will consume plants or plant parts such as roots, bark, leaves, flowers, twigs, stems, seeds, and more. 

Can you leave an Amami Rabbits indoors or inside your home?

You may allow your rabbit indoors but only under your supervision. You can use a portable fence to keep it from going to areas that are prohibited, like your kitchen or basement. Also, you must rabbit-proof your home before allowing your pets out of their enclosures.

How do you maintain a rabbit’s cage?

Before you begin, remove the rabbit inside the cage and place it in a clean enclosure. Take the pan under the cage and dispose of the droppings properly. Hose the cage and use a brush and cleaning product to clean the cage walls, bottom, accessories, and also your rabbit’s chew toys. Change the cage bedding and ensure that everything is dry before the rabbit is placed back.

Where do Amami Rabbits live?

Amami Rabbits are found in burrows or holes in the rainforests of two Japanese islands. It prefers to hide under thick shrubs to evade predators. For captive Amami Rabbits, these may be housed in large indoor or outdoor cages.

How do you take care of baby Amami Rabbits?

If you want to care for baby Amami Rabbits, the kits should be in a comfortable and warm cage. The baby rabbits should be fed soft, pureed food, and keep these safe and warm. Protect from predators because these rabbits are small and vulnerable. For wild-caught rabbits, don’t move them and call animal services to have these rescued. 

Can you keep an Amami Rabbit as your pet?

You won’t be able to keep the Amami Rabbit as a pet because it is a wild rabbit. Volunteer as an exotic animal caretaker to meet real, live Amami Rabbits to care for.

Are Amami Rabbits territorial?

Breeders say that Amami Rabbits may be territorial, but some say that these may display this negative behavior when these are kept in a small enclosure. Males can develop aggressive behavior and may become very dangerous to other males during the breeding season. Aggressive males can bite and hurt other males in the cage to fight for supremacy. 

Does it hurt when an Amami Rabbit scratches you?

Yes, because Amami Rabbits have sharp claws on its hind feet. This rabbit can also kick hard with its hind feet, which can inflict damage. Amami Rabbits will do this when it feels threatened or afraid, but if you handle it well, then it has no reason to hurt you.

How large should an Amami Rabbit’s cage be?

An Amami Rabbit must be placed in a very large enclosure because of its size. For two large rabbits, double this size. Don’t overlook the cage size and make sure that your rabbits have space to play, eat, and sleep and consider the number of rabbits that you will place inside the enclosure. 

Can rabbit diseases be transmitted to humans?

Some rabbit diseases affect rabbits only while some may be transmitted to humans. Therefore, if your rabbit is sick, take it to the vet as soon as you can. Also, you must understand the different signs of illnesses such as poor appetite, loose stools, constipation, problems with breathing, and changes in behavior.

Do Amami Rabbits have a sharp hearing?

The Amami Rabbit has a good hearing because it needs this to survive in the wild. It can hear predators from far away, and this gives it time to escape it.

Are Amami Rabbits bites dangerous to humans?

Yes, Amami Rabbit bites are dangerous because the animal may have rabies. Also, rabbit teeth may be sharp and along, and this can easily tear off skin and flesh, creating a deep and infected wound.

Do you need a heater inside an Amami Rabbit’s cage?

Instead of a heater, you may use a cage lamp to provide heat. But in cold climates, use a small portable heater and place this close to the cage to create a warm and comfortable enclosure for your pet and is also a good way to incubate newborn rabbits.

Will a mother, Amami Rabbit, eat her young?

There is a possibility that this can happen because there are rabbit species that can eat their young. And if you find a female Amami Rabbit eating her young, remove it from the nest and don’t allow it to breed next time.

Where do you place an Amami Rabbit’s cage indoors or outdoors?

Whether you place the cage indoors or outdoors, it may depend on your preference. You may place the cage indoors to protect the rabbits from the sun and cold, but your pet will have a limited area to play and may not be enough for an adult rabbit. When you place your cage outdoors, the rabbits may have a large area to move about despite being exposed to the sun and rain.

Can Amami Rabbits escape their cages?

Yes, Amami Rabbits may be able to escape their cages by kicking these down. These can also jump over and escape, and may even gnaw on the cage screen if necessary to escape. 

How often does your pet rabbit visit the vet?

Captive rabbits must visit the vet twice a year. Young rabbits must also be vaccinated against diseases, and they should have an initial visit to a vet during their first few weeks of life.

Can rabbits see well in the dark?

Yes, rabbits have good vision in the dark and at night. This is why some species like to forage for food at night. Wild rabbits like the Amami Rabbit also have good smell and hearing, which allows them to identify predators nearby and hence allow them to escape early. 

Can you train your rabbit to walk wearing a collar and leash?

There are pet owners that were successful in training their pet rabbits to wear a collar and a leash. However, some are not too lucky, and therefore, this may depend on what breed of rabbit you have.

Can you place the cage of Amami Rabbits near other rabbits or pets?

You can’t place the cage of an Amami rabbit near other breeds as well as other pets because this is a wild rabbit. It may stress other rabbits and other pets and vice versa. 

How do you deal with abandoned baby rabbits?

If you spot wild kits in their nests, call animal service as soon as possible. But don’t get baby rabbits from the wild to take care of as pets because these won’t lose their wild natures.

Can you prevent a rabbit from eating his droppings?

You can stop a rabbit from eating his poop by removing the droppings immediately right after these defecate, but of course, you can’t watch your pets all day to remove their droppings. No matter what, these animals will still eat their dropping because this is their natural behavior.

What happens when the teeth of a rabbit become longer?

When the teeth of the rabbit grow longer, these can pierce its mouth and gums and can cause a lot of pain. The pain can be so severe that it can affect the rabbit’s appetite. This is why you must take your rabbit to the vet and dentist for any dental problems. You can also help your pet by feeding it hay since this can grind their teeth as they chew or eat.

Will Amami Rabbits identify their owners?

Some rabbit owners say that their pets can recognize them. Also, their pets can tell if they are being handled by their owners or by a stranger because of their strong sense of smell.

Can rabbits tolerate the cold?

Yes, rabbits can remain in the cold and survive it by looking for food that’s under the snow. Rabbits will use their legs to dig out snow and eat food once they find them. They also use their powerful sense of smell to find areas where food is located.

How young do you spay or neuter a pet rabbit?

It depends on the vet as to when to spay or neuter a rabbit. Some bucks are neutered at 3 months, while some vets will wait until the rabbits are 5 to 6 months.

How many rabbits is too much for a pet owner?

You can keep as many rabbits as you like as long as you have a large cage to keep these comfortable and happy. Taking care of only one rabbit will make it lonely and can only affect its health. 

Can Amami Rabbits stay outdoors?

An Amami Rabbit may be allowed to stay outdoors, but you must rabbit-proof your yard or outdoor area beforehand. A perimeter fence is a way to limit the area where the rabbit can roam free. You must also bury the fence poles to prevent the rabbit from digging the post and the cage wall out. 

Where do wild rabbits sleep?

Wild rabbits can sleep in holes or burrows, which are called warrens. Rabbits can dig deep holes and make channels and tunnels and remain inside all day. Rabbits can sleep in their dens and nests, as well. In captivity, they are forced to remain in an enclosure that can accommodate a group of rabbits. But this is safe and secure, especially from predators. 

Can pet rabbits tolerate young children?

Some rabbits breeds don’t want to be held by young children because children have very small and unsteady hands. Rabbits are afraid to be held by someone that can mishandle them. However, some rabbits are calm, docile, and friendly and will be okay when held and petted even by young children. It’s important to understand the behavior and temperament of a rabbit before you take it as a pet.

Will your pet rabbit tolerate the cold?

Some pet rabbits can survive the cold and will even love to play in the snow. Whereas, some rabbits can change their fur color to adapt to the winter climate to protect it from predators. Some rabbits may not be akin to the cold and thus will not survive it at all, just like desert rabbits breeds. 

Are all female rabbits cannibals?

You may have observed female rabbits eating her young, but actually, this is a misunderstood behavior. Eating their young can be observed in some female rabbits, and experts say that this is because the female is hungry or thirsty, and there is no food inside their cages. Also, the female will eat their stillborn baby to remove any traces of tissue, blood, and smell in the nest to protect her kittens. 

Will rabbits eat insects and bugs?

No, rabbits won’t eat insects. And this will eat only plant and plant parts, rabbit pellets, fruits, and vegetables. When you feed your rabbit fruits and vegetables, be sure that these are organic to prevent pesticides, toxins, and chemicals that are dangerous to your pets.

How do you control rabbit overpopulation in your home or property?

You can control the overpopulation of rabbits by spaying and neutering. This should be done early to avoid complications. For unwanted baby rabbits, have them adopted, or you can sell them if they have a good breed. For commercial rabbits, you can eat them or shear their fur for fiber.

Can you travel with your pet rabbit?

Like other pets, you can also travel with your pet rabbit, but you need to spend time training it to be comfortable with this arrangement. And just like pet dogs and cats, use an appropriate cage for traveling and have water, food, and hay close by to feed it as you travel long distances.

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