It is the world’s second smallest rabbit, second only to the pygmy rabbit. It has small rounded ears, short legs, and short, thick fur and weighs approximately 390–600 g (0.86–1.3 lb). It has a life span of 7 to 9 years. The volcano rabbit lives in groups of 2 to 5 animals in burrows (underground nests) and runways among grass tussocks. The burrows can be as long as 5 m and as deep as 40 cm. There are usually 2 to 3 young per litter, born in the burrows.
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Unlike many species of rabbits (and similar to pikas), the volcano rabbit emits very high-pitched sounds instead of thumping its feet on the ground to warn other rabbits of danger. It is crepuscular and is highly active during twilight, dawn and all times in between. Populations have been estimated to have approximately 150–200 colonies with a total population of 1,200 individuals over their entire range.