Pygmy Rabbit

The Pygmy Rabbit, Brachylagus idahoensis, is a North American rabbit and is typically found in areas of tall, dense sagebrush cover, and is highly dependent on sagebrush to provide both food and shelter throughout the year. The historic distribution of the Pygmy Rabbit included much of the semi-arid, shrub steppe region of the Great Basin and adjacent intermountain zones of the conterminous western United States, and included portions of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington.

The Pygmy Rabbit is the smallest leporid in North America, with mean adult weights from 12.8 to 17.6 ounces, and a body length from 9¼ to 11½ inches, females are slightly larger than males. The pygmy rabbit is distinguishable from other leporids by its small size, short ears, gray color, small hind legs, and lack of white fur on the tail.

The last male purebred Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit, found only in Douglas County, Washington, died March 30, 2006 at the Oregon Zoo in Portland. A crossbreeding program conducted by the Oregon Zoo, Washington State University and Northwest Trek is attempting to preserve the genetic line by breeding surviving females with the Idaho Pygmy Rabbit.