Ever wondered what it's like to be smothered with rabbits? “Rabbit island” might be your next holiday destination.
Japan is very well known for its animal worshiping culture. We have all heard about their animal cafes such as dog cafes, owl cafes, cat cafes or even hedgehog cafe. They tend to give animal lovers a lot of choices to fulfill their needs. For instance there are numerous animal themed festivals, such as a “bakeneko festival” which is known to be a cat day in Japan. Animal cafes are also an idea that was first seen in Japan, where people can come to drink a cup of coffee in the morning and enjoy petting their favorite animal depending on the café they are in. Only in Japan there is even an island dedicated entirely to one animal, such as the cat island, that we already talked about. But today we have a special treat for all of you rabbit lovers out there. Turns out that there isn't just one island in Japan filled with a single animal species, there is another one! That's right, there is also a rabbit island.
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Everyone loves rabbits, it is simply a fact. They are known for their adorable appearances and soft fur. If you ever had an opportunity to pet a rabbit, you understand that relaxing feeling when you feel its soft fur under your hand and look into his cute little eyes. Not the mention that rabbits are quite an interesting species and have much more to be admired for than only their adorableness.
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For instance rabbits are one of the few animals which have a nearly 360 degree vision field, as a matter of fact, the only blind spot that they have is in front of their nose. They can see everything behind their back. They are also very social and communicate vocally amongst each other. They are capable of feeling very lonely and depressed if they are alone, so that's one more of many reasons why a rabbit island is a great place for rabbits. They can also feel intense joy and demonstrate it by jumping and running around, twisting their body and flicking their feet. They do this so often that people even named this phenomenon, “binky“, and a rabbit island is full of rabbits being binky.
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The islands real name is Okunoshima, and it is located in the inland sea of Japan. You can get to Okunoshima only by a ferry, which you would have to get on in Tadanoumi or Omishima, two nearby ports. The island itself is famous for two reasons. The first one Is obviously because of the hundreds of rabbits running around freely on the island and the other one is islands war history. What we mean by war history, is the fact that this island was kept so hidden that it was even removed from most maps from 1929 to 1945. Japanese army decided to build poison gas factories on this island because of its geographical position. The factories couldn't be seen from the main land and it was far enough from Tokyo if anything happened to go wrong.
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After the 1945 the factories were closed forever. During their active time, factories produced around 6000 tons of tear and mustard gas. The question we are all wondering now is how and why did this island, with such a dark history, became a warm and pleasant place filled with adorable rabbits. There are two theories that answer the question how did the rabbits get to the island, and no one can say for sure which one is true and which is false.
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First theory states that rabbit were brought here during the war to test the effects of the gas, and were set free by the factory workers once the war was over. And the second theory claims that in 1971 there was a student fieldtrip to the island, and a group of students released eight rabbits on the island. And the answer to the question, why is this island filled with these animals so much that it got a popular name “Rabbit island“, can be found in biology. Rabbits reach sexual maturity when they are only 4 months old, they are receptive to mating 14 out of 16 days, and pregnancy lasts only around 30 to 33 days, and to top it all a female rabbit can give birth to 12 or more young per one pregnancy. Now that you know these facts, it doesn't really come as a shock that this small island with a length of only 2.5 miles, now has over 400 rabbits living there.
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Island is now a major tourist attraction. It is very safe and pretty much empty if you don't count in the rabbits. Only objects on the island are a hotel, a six-hole golf course, poison gas museum and a camping ground. Rabbits are extremely friendly and playful. Not a single of one of them is afraid of humans or is running away if you try to feed it or pet it. Quite the opposite, the probability that the rabbits will surround you and smother you with cuteness, especially if you have food, is far greater than the probability that they will run away from you.
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You can also feed them with anything you like, just keep in mind they are omnivores, meaning their diet is strictly plant based. Rabbits enjoy nibbling the grass and herbs around the old factory ruins and a museum, but that is usually not enough. The truth is, these rabbits need the tourists as much as the tourists need them. If this island wasn't so populated with animal lovers feeding rabbits all day, every day in a week, rabbits would probably starve. Thanks to the rabbit lovers that come to the island every day, island continues to get more and more filled with rabbits, and people can enjoy their cuteness and company as much as they like.
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