| A newborn Volcano Rabbit is fur-covered and has a short, furry tail. Its eyes are closed. It stays in the shallow nest its mother dug and lined with her own fur for about two weeks, hiding in the nesting materials if a stranger appears. By three weeks its eyes are open and it is bouncing around playing with its one or two siblings. It is eating tender leaves, but is still nursing. As an adult, the rabbit's tail will no longer be visible: it will be enclosed in skin.
Volcano Rabbits are known locally as Zacatuches, from Aztec and Spanish words meaning grass rabbit. They are small, with fairly short, dense fur, short, rounded ears, and short hind legs and feet. They live on mountain slopes in Mexico's transvolcanic belt, in pine or alder forests where there is heavy ground cover. They dig burrows that are up to 5 m long and 40 cm deep, or use burrows abandoned by pocket gophers or other mammals. They apparently breed year-round, but most births occur in the warm, rainy summer months. They are endangered because of habitat loss: ranchers burn the grasses the rabbits depend on to create better grazing conditions for sheep and cattle, and people are taking more and more of their habitat for farming. Also, their nests are easily found by dogs and hunters.
Females are slightly larger than than males
Total Length: 268.3 mm males; 285.1 mm females Tail invisible externally.
Total Length: 234-292 mm (males); 240-321 mm (females)
417.4 g males; 535.9 g females
386.6-479.1 g males; 462.1-602.5 g females
Ferrari-Pérez, F., 1893. In Diaz, A. Exposición Internacional Colombina de Chicago en 1893,
Tip. de la Commisión Geográfico-Exploradora, Xalapa-Enríquez, Mexico. pl. 42.
Mammal Species of the World (opens in a new window).
Mammalian Species, American Society of Mammalogists' species account * (opens in a new window).
* PDF reader available here (opens in a new window).