Fun Riverine Rabbit Facts For Kids

Joan Agie
May 03, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Oluwapelumi Iwayemi
Riverine Rabbit facts about an endangered species.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.7 Min

There are 30 species of rabbits in the world. The Riverine rabbit, Bunolagus monticularis, is a critically endangered species of rabbit endemic to South Africa also called the bushman rabbit. They are seen in the Karoo Desert, the Cape Province of South Africa, and near seasonal rivers. These species are dark-colored and primarily herbivorous. Riverine rabbits are popularly called bushman hares or bushman rabbits.  

These species are extremely beneficial to farmers since they help in regenerating the soil preventing soil from washing away. Their day droppings act as manure for the soil. The primary reason they are threatened is due to loss of habitat and then attacks from predators. Females of the species tend to be larger as compared to male species. Males are also known to mate with multiple mates in this set of species. Riverine rabbits try to save themselves from possible predators by being active during the night and resting during the day. They eat plants and shrubs which allows for them to find proper burrows underground to secure themselves and their young. For more relatable content check out mongoose facts and badger facts.

Riverine Rabbit Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Riverine Rabbit?

The riverine rabbit, Bunolagus monticularis, is a type of mammal that is endemic to South Africa and belongs to the order Lagomorpha.

What class of animal does a Riverine Rabbit belong to?

Riverine rabbit Bunolagus monticularis belongs to the class Mammalia, family Leporidae, genus Bunolagus, and order Lagomorpha.

How many Riverine Rabbits are there in the world?

The riverine rabbit population is estimated to be somewhere between 200 to 500. A wildlife conservation program has been set up to ensure its survival and rehabilitation.  

Where does a Riverine Rabbit live?

Riverine rabbits live in or near farms helping farmers aerate the soil and making it resistant to further erosion. They are also seen near rivers and wetlands. They are species endemic to South Africa and are few in number. They are nocturnal beings.

What is a Riverine Rabbit's habitat?

The habitat of riverine rabbits consists of scrubs and areas along seasonal rivers in the central and southern areas of the Karoo desert in the Cape Province of  Southern Africa. The Cape Province also constitutes other species. They live in burrows dug deep where they also raise their young. Their major threats include Black eagles and other carnivore species.

Who do Riverine Rabbits live with?

These animals are largely solitary beings and only come together for mating and other such purposes. The lifespan of riverine rabbits is three to four years. Their lifespan depends on various factors including their diet, and habitat as well as if they are attacked by any predators.  

How do they reproduce?

Little information has been recorded about the mating system of these rabbits, however, males mate with one female or multiple females produce more offspring. Females give birth to one young per year and the juveniles are born young and helpless. Females produce large litters per year in the breeding season.  In some instances, rarely two are born during the month of August. The young weigh 40-50 gm when born. Their breeding rate is relatively low compared to various other species. The juveniles are kept away from the search of any possible predators. The mating system varies slightly from one species to another.

What is their conservation status?

South Africa's riverine rabbit Bunolagus monticularis population is classified as Critically Endangered by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN). The IUCN Red List provides information related to the distribution and conservation status of various other species which you could easily use to search for more information.

Riverine Rabbit can be found in wetlands like this

Riverine Rabbit Fun Facts

What do Riverine Rabbits look like?

Riverine rabbits are brown in overall appearance however, they are distinguished by their black stripe which runs across the corner of its mouth over its cheek. They also have a white ring around each eye. The white ring around their eye is prominent if observed closely. They have a brown woolly tail. Their overall coat is silky and soft. They have a dense fur coat. The size of a riverine rabbit is 12.99-18.50 in (330-470 mm). Females tend to be larger than males. Riverine rabbits live in burrows mostly hence it's difficult to spot them above ground during the daytime.

How cute are they?

They are extremely cute species with soft fur just like other species of rabbit. Their fur coat is dense. It's rare to find such species of rabbits even in South Africa owing to the fact that they are critically endangered.

How do they communicate?

They communicate using primarily tactile and chemical means. They are mostly silent and communicate in rare instances. Males and females have their own home range.

How big is a Riverine Rabbit?

A riverine rabbit is 12.99-18.50 in (330-470 mm) long which is almost twice as big as the smallest species of rabbit, the Netherlands dwarf rabbit, which is 7.5-9 in (19-23cm).

How fast can a Riverine Rabbit run?

Riverine rabbits are mammals that run at relatively good speeds. The fastest species of rabbit is the jackrabbit which runs at up to 45 mph (72 kph).

How much does a Riverine Rabbit weigh?

Riverine rabbit males weigh 3.30 lb (1.5 kg) and females weigh 3.96 lb (1.8 kg). Females tend to be larger in size as compared to males. Darius, a continental rabbit, holds records for being the heaviest rabbit.  

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male rabbits are called bucks and female rabbits are called does. Females weigh more and are larger in size as compared to male species.  

What would you call a baby Riverine Rabbit?

Baby riverine rabbits can be called wild kittens when born. Baby rabbits are also called bunnies unofficially. They are born blind at birth and completely dependent on their parents in the initial few months.

What do they eat?

The riverine rabbit diet is wild and primarily herbivorous. They consume, vegetation along seas, flowers, and leaves as well. They are also known to eat their daytime droppings which are soft in order to obtain a vitamin B supply. Their main threats include black eagles and other carnivorous species. They leave their droppings in fields.

Are they dangerous?

The riverine rabbit is a wild species of rabbit however, they are not dangerous and seldom seen in the open. It's best however to maintain a safe distance while observing these species as they tend to hide away when they sense predators.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these species are critically endangered. Owning rabbits as pets is not illegal, it's best to check if it's allowed in your region if you are considering adoption. Riverine rabbits however are friendly towards farmers since they benefit the soil. Take for example the Rhinelander rabbit, native to Germany and the United States.

Rabbits are fun pets and do best in larger houses or farms. It's essential that they are kept in a proper environment away from any possible predators who may attack them. Regular health checkups are essential for pet rabbits as they do have a tendency to develop serious health complications over time.  Apart from that ensure they have a proper diet without allergic food like yogurt and other food items which you could consult a professional for and a good shelter space to rest as well. They recognize their owners over time and some species may also learn to follow commands. Gentle licks and nibbling are signs of affection and love shown by these species.  

Did you know...

Rabbits, like snakes, are found on all continents except Antarctica. This is because they need a particular kind of climatic conditions to survive hence their distribution is limited to certain regions.

'Bugs Bunny' was an all-time favorite and popular show created in the 1930s in the 'Looney Tunes' series produced by Warner Bros. Bugs Bunny was portrayed as a wise, intelligent, and humorous character that all kids instantly loved. His catchphrase was 'What's up, doc?'. Daffy Duck was his best friend and Elmer Fudd was his enemy.

Rabbits and hares are often confused with one another but they are different. A hare is born with open eyes, and full fur and develops within 48 hours, while rabbits are born blind at birth and take time to develop. The Belgian hare is considered to be one of the most dangerous species of hares. The American blue rabbit is the rarest breed.

Why are they called Riverine Rabbits?

Riverine rabbits get their name from the region they inhabit including the river basins and the shrubland areas. These species are rarely seen and are endemic to South Africa. They are critically endangered and if you wish to see them you could visit Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, Anysberg Nature Reserve located in Cape Town, South Africa.

Are Riverine Rabbits endangered?

Yes, these species are critically endangered this is primarily due to the loss of their natural habitat, other illegal practices, and predators as well. Species like the European rabbit are now at threat of being extinct. There is a Riverine rabbit conservation project set in place to ensure the survival of such species in their natural habitat. As of 2021, only 400 species are left in the wild. If proper care is not taken these species too can reach the verge of extinction quickly and future generations will only be left with reading about them in theory. It is not just about that but sustaining animal species is essential for the sustenance of the ecosystem.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including nutria facts, or naked mole-rat facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable riverine rabbit coloring pages.

Riverine Rabbit Facts

What Did They Prey On?


What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

Males 3.30 lb (1.5 kg) Females 3.96 lb (1.8 kg)

What habitat Do they Live In?

scrubs and near rivers

Where Do They Live?

karoo desert, south africa

How Long Were They?

12.9-18.5 in (330-470 mm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Bunolagus monticularis

What Do They Look Like?

Brown, Black, Cream

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

black eagles

What is their Conservation Status?

Critically Endangered
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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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