The Volcano Rabbit is the world’s second smallest rabbit. It has small round ears, short legs, and thick, soft fur. It is found on the slopes of volcanoes in Mexico, and now currently resides only on Iztaccihutl, Pelado, Popocatapetl, and Tlaloc volcanoes. It is one of only two rabbit species to make calling noises, high-pitched sounds while thumping its feet on the ground. The rabbit is nocturnal and lives in the underbrush of the pine forests between 2800 and 4250m in elevation.
The most serious threat to the rabbits is habitat degradation and target shooting. Hunting of the rabbit is now illegal under Mexican law, but it is hard to enforce. The rabbits’ habitat is being burned for agriculture, due to the rich volcanic soils, and overgrazing by cattle.
here are currently plans to increase the numbers of these rabbits. This includes the creation of two protected areas, Izta-Popo and Zoquiapan National Parks, but habitat loss still occurs near and encroaches into these areas. The IUCN has called for the creation of habitat corridors between the national parks and a better understanding of the rabbits’ lives. There are also captive breeding programs at the Jersey Zoo, UK, Los Coyotes Park, and the Chapultepec Zoo in Mexico City. But, it is doubtful whether these captive bred rabbits could ever be reintroduced into the wild populations.