But still, bunnies’ popularity regularly lags behind that of cats and dogs, so we could understand if they felt the need to step up their cuteness game. As a matter of fact, right now one breed of Japanese rabbit is winning new fans by appearing to cosplay…as another rabit?!?
Visitors to the Morioka Animal Park, a zoo in Iwate Prefecture, have been charmed this month by this resident of the facility.
盛岡市動物公園 (@moriokazoo) October 20, 2015
Drawing the eye to your best features is a fashion fundamental, but seriously buddy, everyone is already looking at your ears because you’re a rabbit. What, are you worried that the elephants are creeping up on your title of “Best Ears in the Animal Kingdom?”
It turns out, though, that what’s going on is the exact opposite of an attention ploy. This breed of rabbit is called a Tohoku hare, named for Japan’s northeastern Tohoku region, where Morioka is located.
Having passed the midpoint of autumn, Japan’s Tohoku hares are getting ready for winter. Like the North American snowshoe hare, though, Tohoku hares don’t hibernate, so they need to be camouflaged as they traverse the snowy winter landscape. But just like you don’t take all of your sweaters out of storage on the first day in October that you feel a chill in the air, the Tohoku hare gradually sheds its brown summer coat, in place of which a white one grows.
Morioka Animal Park’s Tohoku hare just happens to have shed around his ears first, resulting in a remarkably distinct two-tone look. Similar things sometimes happen at other zoos in Japan with the breed, such as Yokohama’s Zoorasia.
Give them a few more weeks, and they’ll compete the process, turning entirely white in December.
Given Japan’s love of cute animals and special seasonal versions of things, we expect these guys to be getting a lot more visitors over the coming weeks.