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78. San José Brush Rabbit

Sylvilagus mansuetus


The San José brush rabbit exists nowhere outside of the island it is named for, giving it the smallest distribution of all lagomorphs; rabbits and hares.

Their species name mansuetus is derived from Latin and means tame, as they can be closely approached, and are seen resting in the shade of the trees on San José Island. They are the most genetically distinct species in their genus, Sylvilagus, which contains 15 other species. The San José brush rabbit is listed as critically endangered, primarily due to predation by introduced feral cats. Introduced rats, goats and dogs provide further threats, either as direct predators or as competitors. Human led habitat destruction is another threat, plans for a resort with an accompanying golf course, private airport and small marina have been proposed in prime habitat occupied by the San José brush rabbit. A salt mine has also been proposed near to the area of highest rabbit density. Additionally they are illegally hunted alongside legal hunts of invasive goats. These pressures indicate that the San José brush rabbit desperately needs conservation action, despite being fully protected.

  • Order: Lagomorpha
  • Family: Leporidae
  • Population: Unknown
  • Trend: decreasing
  • Size: 33.9cm

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.21 (?)
ED Score: 10.44 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


Endemic to Mexico, the San José brush rabbit is only found on San José Island, in the Gulf of California, Baja California Sur, Mexico.

Habitat and Ecology

This species inhabits an arid island, with higher densities of San José brush rabbit being found in areas of higher tree diversity. The presence of escape cover is an essential requirement for them. They are herbivores, feeding mainly on grasses and other herbaceous plants.

Find out more

Loading species distribution map...

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Tourism Mining Hunting Recreation Invasive species Native species

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
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