Riverine Rabbit

The Riverine Rabbit is native to the Karoo desert in South Africa and is classed as critically endangered due to loss of habitat from farming and agriculture. There is estimated to be only around 250 of this rabbits left in existence and coupled with the fact that these rabbits are very slow breeders compared to other types of rabbit (the Riverine rabbit only has around 3 -4 offspring in a lifetime) means that they are under a very real threat of extinction.

Most people won’t have an easy time trying to identify one type of rabbit from the other however the Riverine rabbit is easily recognizable by the long brown stripes in its facial fur that run from its mouth right round to the back of its ears. Among the features that define the Riverine rabbit include big flexible ears and large lumpy hind feet, the fur of the Riverine rabbit is mostly light brown with the exception of the belly and neck which is usually a creamy colored fur. The female Riverine rabbit is the bigger of the species, weighing at around 1.8kg typically and most Riverine rabbits are approximately 340 – 470mm long.

Close up look at the facial markings
Close up look at the facial markings
Close up look at the facial markings

As the Riverine rabbits depend on burrows for protection from predators the soil of their habitat has to be perfect and that is why the Riverine rabbits are limited to the central and and southern border of the Karoo desert. The foliage that is found in these areas of the Karoo desert is excellent for the Riverine rabbit’s needs but is subject to seasonal crop.

The primary food source of the Riverine Rabbit are wild flowers and leaves of the Karoo desert foliage that is common along the seasonal rivers however they have been known to feed on grass when the opportunity presents itself which is limited to the Karoo desert’s wet season. The Riverine rabbits are nocturnal and live a lonesome life only interacting in the breeding season and even though they live along they live in areas common to their kind and always exclusively of the same gender with borders on the opposite gender only slightly over lapping.

The Riverine rabbits are slow breeders and when breeding season comes they may only produce one or two offspring, this is a very low amount considering that the Riverine rabbits only live for around three years.


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