Rabbits are some of the most popular pets and companions after dogs and cats, and this is largely due to their extremely docile and gentle temperament, aside from their sheer cuteness. The Sumatran striped rabbit (Nesolagus netscheri) is often called one of the rarest species of rabbits in the world. It is endemic to the Barisan mountains of the Sumatran island. The sightings of Sumatran striped rabbits, also known as the Sumatran short-eared rabbit or simply Sumatran rabbits, are often several decades apart. Camera trap techniques have been used to accumulate a handful of images of the Sumatran short-eared rabbit species in the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, Mt Kerinci National Park, and Guning Leuser National Park, and show an off-white rabbit with brown stripes across its body and a white underside.
Sumatran striped rabbits live in rainforests that are at an elevation of around 1970-5250 ft (600.5–1600.2 m) above sea level. Though this criterion can be satisfied by several places on the planet, the Sumatran striped rabbit is endemic to Sumatra, meaning it is unwilling or unable to adapt to other similar habitats. As a result, the species has suffered severe habitat loss, and several environmental agencies have deemed the Sumatran striped rabbit endangered, though there is hardly any information about its population size. The Sumatran striped rabbit is classified in the genus Neosolagus which only has one other existing species, the Annamite striped rabbit found in the Annamite mountains in Vietnam and Laos. Not much is known about either the Sumatran rabbit or the Annamite striped rabbit, with the common rabbit being the main source of information on them.
If you enjoy our article on Sumatran striped rabbits, make sure to check out our facts pages on the European rabbit and the swamp rabbit.
Sumatran Striped Rabbit
What do they prey on?
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
How much do they weigh?
3.3 lb (1.5 kg)
How long are they?
1 ft 4 in (40.6 cm)
How tall are they?
What do they look like?
Whitish with brown stripes, red tail, and white underside
What are their main threats?
What is their conservation status?
Data Deficient, previously listed as Critically Endangered
Where you'll find them
Sumatran Striped Rabbit Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a Sumatran striped rabbit?
The Sumatran striped rabbit (Nesolagus netscheri) is a type of rabbit.
What class of animal does a Sumatran striped rabbit belong to?
Sumatran striped rabbits are classified as Mammalia, meaning they are viviparous. They give birth to live young and breastfeed them until they are ready to find their own food.
How many Sumatran striped rabbits are there in the world?
Though the exact population of the Sumatran striped rabbit (Nesolagus netscheri) in the wild is not known, there is no doubt that it is Critically Endangered due to human activities leading to widespread habitat loss.
Where does a Sumatran striped rabbit live?
The Sumatran short-eared rabbit can be found in the wilds of the Barisan Mountains and the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park of northwestern Sumatra, Indonesia. There are no archaeological records to show that they have ever lived elsewhere. If this is indeed the only region that they have ever inhabited, it makes the 1000 mi (1609.3 km) distance between it and its nearest relative, the Annamite striped rabbit, very mysterious and seemingly unexplainable.
What is a Sumatran striped rabbit's habitat?
Sumatran striped rabbits live in high-elevation and humid rainforests. In this regard, they are unique since nearly every other species of rabbit avoids rainforests and chooses to live in more open grasslands.
Who does the Sumatran striped rabbit live with?
It is not well-known if Sumatran striped rabbits live in groups, but considering many other similar rabbits, like the Rhinelander rabbit, live in groups of four to five in the wild, this may hold true for the Sumatran rabbit too.
How long does a Sumatran striped rabbit live?
Sumatran striped rabbits are estimated to have an average lifespan of around three to eight years, similar to other types of rabbits.
How do they reproduce?
Sumatran rabbits reproduce sexually, though not much is known about any possible mating behaviors and rituals that they may have. They produce around four to five babies at a time.
What is their conservation status?
The current status of Sumatran rabbits on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species is Data Deficient, owing to the sparse camera trap sightings and information on the species. It was, however, listed as Critically Endangered between 1996 and 2004.
Sumatran Striped Rabbit Fun Facts
What does the Sumatran striped rabbit look like?
Sumatran rabbits have an off-white body with black or brown stripes running through them. The brown stripes are extremely rare and are largely considered to be only seen in the Annamite striped rabbit. Sumatran rabbits also have a white underside and a red rump and tail. Their size and physical characteristics are very similar to those of its nearest known relative, the Annamite striped rabbit of the Annamite mountains of Vietnam and Laos. Sumatran rabbits do not have a local name due to the fact that they have rarely ever been sighted by locals of the Barisan Mountains in Sumatra. They are considered to be Critically Endangered by many environmental agencies but do not currently meet the criteria to be called so by the IUCN.
How cute are they?
There is no doubt that in the few photographs of the species obtained through camera trap techniques, the Sumatran rabbit looks extremely cute and cuddly.
How do they communicate?
Not much is known about how the Sumatran rabbit communicates, but it can be safely assumed that it has the ability to send and understand body language and other physical cues in order to express its mood and social status.
How big is a Sumatran striped rabbit?
The Sumatran rabbit grows to around 1 ft 4 in (40.6 cm) in length, meaning it is just slightly smaller than the Arctic hare and almost exactly the same size as the mountain hare. Keep in mind that the measurements of the Sumatran rabbit have been made mostly from photographs and a single in-person measurement in over a century.
How fast can a Sumatran striped rabbit run?
The Sumatran rabbit top speed has not been measured, but it is known that other species of similar stature are able to hit speeds of 22 mph (35.4 kph). This is almost the same as a snowshoe hare, and the pair of animals are actually a part of the slower group of rabbits.
Hares and rabbits are different in their strategies of escaping predators. Hares have longer legs and are able to hold high speeds for longer periods of time to try and outrun their predators. Most rabbits will instead run and look for a hiding place to lose their pursuer. They are assisted in this by their small and compact frame.
How much does a Sumatran striped rabbit weigh?
The Sumatran rabbit species weighs in at around 3.3 lb (1.5 kg). It is not known for sure if male and female Sumatran rabbits weigh differently, but this is a very real possibility as other species of rabbits demonstrate this. Sexual dimorphism is when the male and female exhibit physical differences apart from the reproductive organs.
What are the male and female names of the species?
Both the male and female of the Sumatran rabbit breed can be referred to by the same name. However, a male rabbit is often called a buck, and a female is called a doe. As such, a male of this breed can be called a Sumatran buck and a female is a Sumatran doe.
What would you call a baby Sumatran striped rabbit?
Baby rabbits are referred to as kits or kittens, meaning a baby Sumatran rabbit can be called a Sumatran kit or Sumatran kitten.
What do they eat?
The Sumatran striped rabbit diet is not very well-established, but it can be assumed that they feed on green, leafy vegetables, and fruits, roots, shoots, stalks, and nuts that may grow in the understory of its main habitat, the Barisan rainforest.
Are they poisonous?
No, the Sumatran rabbit is not capable of producing any harmful toxins.
Would they make a good pet?
If not for the fact that they are one of the rarest rabbit species in the world and have only been seen in person by a human in 1916, they would no doubt make for great pets. Though their temperament is not understood, if the species were more commonplace, they could probably be tamed to live a domestic life with their owners. However, this seems to be an impossibility right now, considering the extremely elusive nature of the Sumatran rabbit so it is best these rabbits are allowed to live a quiet life in the rainforest.
Did you know...
The Sumatran rabbit species is completely nocturnal. It hides or sleeps all day and only comes out at night to feed on leaves and stems that make up the lowest layer of its rainforest habitat.
Are Sumatran striped rabbits endangered?
Though they are not listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the wide consensus is that the population of the Sumatran rabbit is extremely small and that recent increases in logging and deforestation to set up coffee and tea plantations has posed a massive threat to this rabbit. The fact that they had not been seen for several decades actually led scientists to believe that the Sumatran rabbit was extinct altogether, and it was only after accidental sightings in 1916, 1972, 2007, and 2012 that we realized that the species did indeed still exist. Many biologists have attributed this recent increase in Sumatran rabbit sightings to the extinction and endangerment of many of its predators in Indonesia.
How are they different from regular rabbits?
The Sumatran rabbit, alongside its cousin the Annamite striped rabbit, are the only living members of Nesolagus and are widely considered to be the only two species of rabbit that possess stripes on their body. This makes them unique because while early every rabbit has patches and splashes of other colors on top of its base coat, no other species are known to have distinct and consistent stripes. Furthermore, the Sumatran rabbit is nocturnal in nature, sleeping all day, while most other species of rabbits are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at dusk and dawn.
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