Among the photos from the 2nd round at the Mono County pygmy rabbitat were several serendipitous series of pygmies rolling and dust-bathing in front of the cam trap.
But in round 3 the Brachylagus bunnies went full-on dust-bath crazy.
The cam captured 18 different dust baths in 4 weeks in August, generating over 100 photos.
Heat? Dryness? Seasonality of fleas and mites?
Sub-adult pygmy rabbit enjoying a dust-bath at 10:25pm
And 2 days later at 4:30am
And while they bathe at various times, morning baths after sunrise seem to be the most popular.
Perhaps for sand warmth and/or dryness.
Different adult at 9:05am
Sub-adult 3 days later at 9:10am
At first glance I thought the Sub-adult Brachy was doing all the bathing. But once I had time for proper editing and photo-forensics, I found that the photos show 3 different pygmy rabbits using the same bath bowl - the Sub-adult, the Lead Brachy, and another large adult from the "end of the sage row" that may be a female. Perhaps Mom Brachy?
Showing the dust bath bowls are communal.
On top of that, the behavior may also be about scent-marking. Several other mammal species visited the bath bowl and sniffed around...
Kangaroo rat in the bowl
Juvenile black-tailed jackrabbit
And other pygmies also stopped to sniff the area without indulging in a bath.
Pygmy rabbit checking out the dust bath bowl
Different adult pygmy visiting bowl 2 days later
Note that the sniffing about knocked a chunk of wood into the bowl. (or is that a Baby Ruth bar?)
But the next morning, the same adult "Mom" Brachy takes care of it.
"It's no big deal"
Moving the chunk of wood with her/his mouth
Showing the location of the dust bath bowl is significant, too.
Just any ole spot won't do.
Sand quality? Or, because of the scent-marking? Hmmmm...
"Ahhhh... All prettied up and ready for the day"