Remember about the pygmy rabbit? Yeah! We have been through this. We just figured that pygmy rabbits are one of the two smallest rabbits in the world. Wherein pygmy rabbit was the smallest one and Now the point is! Who is the other one? The second smallest of the two and in the whole world! And the answer is “Volcano Rabbit” yes!, it is the rabbit which is the smallest rabbit in the world after the pygmy one.
Names of Volcano Rabbit
In the lingo of science, it is named as “Romerolagus diazi”. In biology terminology scientists also called it as teporingo & zacatuche. Now there is a reason behind all of its names. Let figure it out!
The fact behind its scientific name lies in the name of famous Ambassador of Mexico; “Matias Romero” and “Augustin Diaz” He was the person who discovered volcano rabbits for the first time in history. It was named after this Ambassador and its founder. Now Let’s discover the history of its other names!
History of teporingo
Centuries ago there was a culture in Mesoamerican in central Mexico and this culture was known to them as The Aztecs; They believed in many gods but only one was worshiped by them. Now Aztecs used to follow a calendar and that calendar had 20 signs that were believed to indicate different symbols.
Out of those 20 signs, Tochtli was popular and believed to be an indication of fertility. Now Teporingo was the city of Tenochtitlan and volcano rabbits used to live in the volcanic mountains surrounding that area. And People now believe that its name as teporingo is in use since then.
|Scientific Name||Romerolagus diazi|
|Lifespan||7-9 years in wild|
|Gestation period||39-41 days|
Volcano rabbit physical appearance:
It has brown thick furs all over its body with some black patches. Accordingly! It is found in a combination of black and brown colors. Its body color resembles the color of soil where it lives. It has small rounded ears. It has short legs and short feet.
It has big round eyes and their color is brown. Its body has brown and black on the upper side but is white on the inner side. The hind feet are a little wider and larger than the front feet. Most of these rabbits have a reddish effect in their inner ears.
Volcano rabbit size
Volcano rabbit is a middle-sized rabbit and as it is the second smallest rabbit in the world so you can think of its size. It has an overall round body. Its tail is short just like other rabbits. Volcano rabbits are considered to be in the list of gnawing animals which are the mammals that use their big incisor teeth to eat food like nuts and even wood.
Depending upon its size it needs the same thickness of grass and length of the grass should be such that where it can be easily hidden from predators.
Volcano rabbit habitat
If you have a wish of seeing volcano rabbit, roam around in the volcanic mountain slopes in Central Mexico you would easily found them. They are not seen in a wide range and which is might be because of non-conservative actions. Although, most of the time It lives in pine forests and in between the range of 2800 and 4300 m.
They are not used to living alone. It lives in a pile of rabbits usually two to five and to make itself safe so it could sleep and live relaxed it makes burrows deep down in the ground. Burrows built by them are no longer than 5m and a deeper of a maximum of 40cm. They are seen to be more active in the night that in daylight. They don’t like to live in the areas where the grass is not thick they find themselves unsafe in such an environment.
Their approach of developing runways to reach habitat is the same as of the rodents.
Although their habitat has been destroyed by humans since their evolution. Animals have always been at a threat of habitat loss and the reason is an extreme fire that has evoked most of the animals out of their comfort zone. Sadly Speaking! How difficult it is for them to adapt to a new habitat.
Volcano rabbit facts
Let’s discover some facts about these rabbits :
- It has a longer life span than other rabbits and it is 7-9 years.
- Whenever it finds itself in danger it uses a special kind of trick to make its companions vigilante and that is the emitting sound which is very high in pitch.
- Unlike its size, it runs at a very fast speed when it comes to its life.
- Most of their time is spent in burrows.
Volcano rabbit adaptations
If a living body is ever concerned about something the most it must be its life and So, these rabbits adapt the techniques and habitat that is good for their survival. A special kind of grass known as zacaton is eaten by them to keep themselves alive!
Zacaton is a special grass that grows on the slopes of alpine where rabbits used to live. Rabbits also use this grass Zacaton to hide themselves to be kept safe from predators like red-tailed hawks, bobcats, and long-tailed weasels. And genuinely speaking I even found their names terrifying!
Volcano rabbit weight
As we have had already go through its size and now we know that keeping in view its size it would not weigh too much and yeah it is so! These rabbits weigh about 390-600 g and if you are curious to know in-lbs. it would be roundabout in between 0.86-1.3 lb. Adult volcano’s weigh no more than 600 g.
Baby Volcano rabbit
Replication is common in each and every living body. Female volcano’s gives birth to its babies in burrows where they live. Sometimes young’s are born in nests it depends upon the captivation. Its gestation period lasts 30 to 41 days.
Breeding is done by them throughout the year with its peak in summer. Two to three young’s are born per replication. Rabbits being mammals have glands that help them to produce milk so that a female rabbit can feed their babies.
When a baby volcano rabbit is born its eyes are closed and it’s not naked but covered with furs. Its babies become healthy and able to walk on their own behalf in three to four weeks and starts matting when become six months old.
Volcano rabbit diet
As we discussed earlier! These rabbits eat Zacaton and it is it’s one of the major sources of diet. A wide range of foliage like the bark of trees and plants is eaten to absorb nutrients. Just like humans their diet also changes with season its different in summer and winter. When rainy season come corn and oats also become part of their diet.
In the winter season, these rabbits using their inner incisor teeth they crush nuts and woody plants to fulfill their diet. Grasses like Festuca Amplissima and Stipa Ichu, Eryngium Rosei are also eaten by these rabbits. 89% pellets of these rabbits are constituted by M. Macroura. Due to habitat loss, most of its diet has lost and leaves, foliage, and flowers are now also part of their habitat.
Volcano rabbit Population
Volcano rabbit population has been decreasing since its evolution. With a remaining population of 1200 rabbits, it has 150 to 200 colonies throughout its range. Now the question that arises here is: Why its population has been decreasing?
There are unlimited factors due to which it is continuously decreasing or maybe they are not at all found now. Protein deficiency is one of the major factors in evoking them. When they don’t get what they require to survive certain consequences occur and cause weight loss in them and also lead to starvation.
Is the volcano rabbit extinct?
It is believed that volcano rabbits no longer exist but recent research found the symbols of the presence of these rabbits. Thus it is considered that may be about 7000 such rabbits are left in the wild. Some are taken by pet houses and some by biologists in laboratories for certain demonstrations.
In 1966, it was enlisted in the list of endangered species and at that time a captive colony with habitat required for them was established in Chapultepec Zoo. That zoo contributed a lot to the rehabilitation of these rabbits. The importance of its conservation was highlighted in several studies. 1n 2003, it was last seen and since then there are no signs of its presence has been observed.
Why are volcano rabbits endangered?
There are several reasons behind this like its habitat loss due to deforestation, construction projects, highways due to which 15 to 20 % loss in habitat is recorded due to such reasons. Please add hunting also. Hunting is one of the reasons that every species is endangered. There must be some policies for the rehabilitation and conservation of endangered species and such points should be highlighted and known to everyone. Change in climate and high temperature is also the one reason of being the species endangered.
Where is volcano rabbit found in Mexico?
These rabbits are found in Central Mexico and inside it, they are found in Pine-Oak forests. Their range has been divided into 16 patches due to human imposed actions. They are found in between the range of 2900 to 3660 meters above sea level. It is found in the areas where the temperature has a mean of 11 degrees Celsius. Most of these rabbits are found in thick and tall grasslands.