pygmy rabbit

Brachylagus idahoensis - Pygmy Rabbit

Scientific Name:

Brachylagus idahoensis


small mammal


Body length – about 9 to 11 ½ inches 
Weight – approximately 1 pound


The fur is brown to slate gray in color, depending on the season. The ears are short with a white margin, and the tail is small.

Life span:

Seven to ten years


The pygmy rabbit is found in shrubland habitats, typically in dense stands of old-growth sagebrush. It digs burrows in deep, loose soil.


Pygmy rabbits have a patchy distribution within the Great Basin. The following states have pygmy rabbits: Nevada, Idaho, Washington, Oregon, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming.

Natural History:

Unlike other rabbits that use burrows dug by other animals, pygmy rabbits dig their own burrows, which may have three or more entrances. They also tunnel through the snow in winter. Pygmy rabbits are capable of making several types of vocalizations. They are active throughout the year in day or night, mainly at dusk and dawn. Predators of the pygmy rabbit include weasels, coyotes, raptors, badgers, bobcats, and humans.

Food habits:

The pygmy rabbit is an herbivore, a plant eater. The main food source is sagebrush, but some grasses and forbs may also be eaten in summer.


Breeding occurs in spring and early summer. The gestation period is 27 – 30 days and six young may be born.


Pygmy rabbits are considered a Species of Special Concern in Nevada. The Washington subspecies is endangered.

Reason for status:

Threats to the pygmy rabbit include habitat loss, predation, introduced diseases, and low population size.

Management & Conservation:

Field surveys are currently being conducted to determine the abundance and distribution of pygmy rabbits in northern and central Nevada. Protection of old-growth sagebrush is the most effective and practical means of managing and conserving pygmy rabbits at the present.

Fun facts:

The pygmy rabbit is the smallest native rabbit in North America and can fit in the palm of a hand!

Information above provided by the Nevada Department of Wildlife.


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About the Author: Martin T. Smith

Besides being an authority on the Nevada state flag, Martin is the creator of 'The Nevada Trivia Game', author of "The Battle Born Nevada Trivia Book”, “The Nevada Battle Born Cookbook” and longtime owner of 'The Flag Store Sign & Banner' in Sparks, Nevada.