This rabbit has short legs, a somewhat bulky body, rather large and curved claws which it uses to dig out its nest holes. Its ears are also significantly smaller than those of other rabbits or hares.
Little is known about the social or breeding habits of this endangered nocturnal rabbit. However, Amami rabbits are noted for making calling noises, which sound similar to a pika; this makes them unique as most rabbits do not make calling noises.
Island residents introduced the mongoose to these islands in an attempt to control the population of poisonous snakes. This intervention has backfired as the mongoose prefers to diet on the Amami rabbit, threatening the very survival of this enigmatic creature.