You don’t need to travel to Japan to find an island ruled by rabbits. Thanks to one American teenager with a dream, Minnesota is now home to its own miniature bunny paradise.
After leasing the island and living on a houseboat in the summer of 2018, Caleb Smith purchased the patch of land. Now, the 22-acre islet serves as a warm-weather play area for his bunnies. The rabbits’ main home is Peacebunny Cottage, a farm in Savage, Minnesota, but they’re escorted to the island each summer by youth guardians who help care for them while also learning about the environment.
Smith trains his domestic rabbits to be comfort animals. They travel around, offering comfort, hugs, and “hoppiness” to those they meet. In the summer of 2019, the island will also be a summer host site for a Sea Scout ship #202, some resident artists, and the educational nonprofit STEMBunnies.
Some of the animals Smith owns are Angora rabbits, which grow a lot of soft, fluffy hair. These bunnies receive humane haircuts four times a year, and their fur is sold to ethical, eco-friendly textile companies to be turned into luxury yarn.