Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits are the world’s smallest and among the rarest.
Assistant, you’re in there somewhere. I’m sorry it hurts, but you can do it. We all believe in you. In the meantime, here’s this incredibly cute rabbit with a rainbow ear!! I thought you’d want to see them.
Benigno Rabbits, or “Bennies” as they are colloquially known, are small Leporids native to Italy, first discovered in 1967 by Benigno Bonaccurso of Tuscany, who first captured a few specimens of what he believed to be simply hyper-intelligent pygmy rabbits. After a few days of keeping the five he captured in a large pen in his home they replied to him when he went to feed them, asking what they wanted for dinner. One, a small pale gold female, which he later named Bona after Bona Dea, the Ancient Roman “Good Goddess”, piped up asking for carrots. Startled he dropped the food he held before nodding and going to get carrots.
Upon starting a conversation with the creatures he discovered they had been learning Italian from his conversations with his House Elf and his friends and practised among themselves before first addressing him, picking Bona to speak as the eldest female of the group. The small creatures learnt quickly and Benigno named them, Bona for the pale gold who first spoke to him, Eulalia for the next eldest, a golden-cream creature, and Ermelinda or “Irma” for her gold-buff younger sister. The remaining two, both males were named Claudio and Baldo, and told apart by Claudio being pale brown and Baldo, a more coppery-brown creature, and the first of the Bennies to bite Benigno, when Benigno first captured them.
Bennies have the potential to reach genius level IQs as well as learning to read but by and large their intelligence depends on who and how they are raised, varying between that of a 5 year old child, to that of a 15 year old teenager. Some Bennies, such as Benigno’s original, Eulalia, very much enjoy reading and listing their own observations, although they may need specially fitted spectacles as leporids tend toward farsightedness. Bennies are by nature highly trustworthy, as the first language they learn, before human tongues, is that of body language, and so find it near impossible to lie. They are also insatiably curious creatures, often greeting and questioning passers-by. On the rare occasion that Benny is mistreated they will quickly leave the human in question, often going to nearby wixes or even the proper authorities to report them. Due to their near-total inability to lie and their great disinclination to deception the most that is done to tell the truth of the facts is a minor truth-spell test to verify the matter from the humans side.
Bennies when born are barely even the size of a teabag, and fully grown are usually between the size of a baby domesticated rabbit or a small kitten. Bennies vary hugely in colouration, capable of all the same colour mutations as rabbits and hares, although their fur generally remains short and silky, with little variation. They have names among themselves consisting of certain scents and sounds, but love the, often flattering, names that humans give them. Bennies generally eat similar food to rabbits and hares but have a deep love for tomatoes, grapes and mozzarella, although personal tastes may vary from Benny to Benny. Bennies seem to prefer sweet and mildly salty food to strongly flavoured foods, but avoid strongly flavoured, spicy or overly sweet or salty foods, finding them too much. Bennies breed only rarely, coming into season once a year or two, and only have between 1-3 little ones. They are generally weaned by the mother between 6 and 8 weeks, and the mother is the one who dictates when her offspring are old enough to leave her and/or be rehomed.
The creatures also have magically reinforced immune systems, being totally immune to Myxomatosis, although they can get ill from overfeeding on certain foods. Pasta and Mozzarella for example will make them fat, but they adore these foods often asking politely and endearingly for more. It is said by many who care for Bennies, that the hardest part is being gentle yet firm about how much they can have.
In the wild Bennies are hard to find, and it is often easiest to already be in possession of a Benny who can find the creatures for you and communicate to them that you mean them no harm. Only native to Italy, Bennies can now be found in wixen homes around the world, but are only found wild in Italy. The creatures have a generally equal view of gender, although female rabbits are generally seen as somewhat stronger, as they not only seek out food and defend themselves, but also bear and care for young. Bennies can get a little loopy on basil, which affects them similarly to catnip on cats. They are also known to enjoy fish, though usually only once cooked, and some can be quite picky over which fish they will eat. Those that do like fish on the whole seem to prefer mildly flavoured fish, although a few like more strongly flavoured fish.
On the whole Benigno Rabbits make excellent pets and are increasingly being given to children to teach them to care for animals, as a Benny is perfectly capable of warning a child to look where its stepping, or to remind them it is food time. Small children ought not to be allowed to play with Bennies as the creatures are quite delicate, but children of around 7 years can be taught the careful handling techniques required to handle a Benny.
(Image used with artists permission -
I really recommend looking at this persons art they have some of the most adorable bubble-dragons and bunnies and adorableness.
Idea and Info for the Bennies came from underwater-witchery, I simply wrote it up.
I hate that I have to include this but PLEASE DO NOT DELETE THE IMAGE SOURCE OR MY CAPTION.)
Fun Fact Friday: How Do You Survive in the Big Empty? These Lagomorphs Use Superpower Adaptations, of Course.
By Nancy Patterson, Public Affairs Specialist, Greater Sage-Grouse Rocky Mountain Region
It’s wide open in the Big Empty of sagebrush country. For the more than 350 species that live here, hiding spots are few and horizons are long. When you’re a favorite food of lots of predators you need special adaptations to survive. Lagomorphs are adaptation champs in this ecosystem. The term lagomorph describes mammals in the order of lagomorpha, better known as hares, rabbits, and pikas. In sagebrush country, some lagomorphs you might see are jackrabbits, cottontails, and pygmy rabbits.
Rabbits and hares have big eyes set on the sides of their heads. This gives them a wide viewpoint to look around for threats. Their large ears act like giant microphones to capture the slightest sound. And their long back feet act as a speedy superpower. With them they can spring into the air and dart quickly in a jig-jag pattern to escape predators. Jackrabbits can run at speeds of 40 miles per hour and their powerful hind legs can propel them in 10-foot leaps with each bound. Imagine trying to keep up with one of these athletic racers!
But, it’s tough to survive on big feet, eyes, and ears alone. It also helps to have superpower hiding adaptations. And rabbits and hares have some that act just like invisibility cloaks.
Look at these. Look at these and dare tell me they aren’t adorable. They’re the size of your palm. The insides of their ears are iridescent. LOOK at them!
These are Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbits. They live only in the Columbia Basin in Central Washington. There were only 16 in the wild (they don’t actually breed like rabbits), but now they’ve just begun to bounce back (yay!).