Is This Earless Rabbit a Product of Japan’s Radiation?

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A video of an earless baby bunny reportedly living near the Fukushima nuclear zone has sparked concerns of the long-term effects of radiation on both animals and humans, yet experts caution that this rabbit may not be what it seems. So what’s up, doc?

After being online for only two weeks, this YouTube clip has received almost 2 million views because of its startling star: an earless baby bunny. The user who posted the clip wrote that the bunny was born near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant, which was severely crippled following the devastating earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan on March 11.

Almost instantly, the Internet was abuzz with speculation that the rabbit’s lack of ears was a mutation caused by radiation exposure. But experts aren’t so sure.

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University of Miami biologist (and rabbit expert) Dana Krempels told MSNBC that earless bunnies are rare but not unheard of — See Vincent or this one for sale — and that the lack of ears on this one might not be a mutation, but instead a mutilation by its mother:

“There are many different reasons a rabbit may be born this way or acquire this characteristic early on, not least of which is a stressed mother rabbit who overgrooms her babies to the point of mutilation,” Krempels told MSNBC. “This is the most common reason we see baby bunnies with missing ears or limbs. So while it’s possible that the earless condition of this baby is congenital (i.e., bun was born with it), it’s also possible that it was acquired after birth.”

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So while this bunny might seem a little, well, funny, no one can be certain of its actual whereabouts, its health and if it was born without those long ears. Speculation aside, NewsFeed wants to point out that even though it’s earless, this bunny is still adorable.