Small Animals

Rabbit Island


After discovering the remarkable Cat Island, I stumbled across its equally adorable rival, Rabbit Island. This is the island called Okunoshima, where tourists travel from all over to be smothered by dozens of bouncing furry bunnies all at once. Visitors of this island are more than willing to get on the ground and let these cute fur balls crawl all over them, and to be honest I would probably do the same.

These are indeed wild rabbits, they have became so accustomed to humans they are very tame. Generally, if you get try and get near a wild rabbit in most habitats you’ll just catch a glimpse of the white tale as the rabbit flashes by, on this island it is a different story. There are no natural predators allowed on the island, so these creatures are no longer scared and actually quite brazen. The will chase and nearly trample visitors carrying food, so watch out you just may experience a gentle fluffy bunny mugging!

So how did an island of these adorable proportions come to be? I was surprised to learn that the history really isn’t so adorable. During World War II Japan secretly produced a poison gas here on the island. A group of unfortunate rabbits were taken to the island as test subjects for the effects of the gas; some say the island is now populated with the lucky few escapees. Sadly this probably isn’t the case; records indicate all of the test rabbits were destroyed after the war. Another theory is that in 1971 school children brought 8 rabbits over to the island, and that rabbits do what well rabbits do, and well that’s that.


Regardless of how this island came to be, I think it would be worth a visit. Visiting this island is considered quite the holiday to many Japanese citizens, most apartments in Japan forbid pets, so an opportunity to enjoy the company of a furry friend is a welcome one.


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Wendy Aburto

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