It is mostly nocturnal, but it sometimes will come out in the early morning and at dusk and sometimes during the day on dark days. They grow into fluffy, playful juveniles, jumping into the air and chasing each other around while making low purring, growling, and grunting sounds. Even those who scheme to prevail and often lose in an ongoing garden war with them. The eastern cottontail home range is roughly circular in uniform habitats. When a predator is chasing it, the eastern cottontail will often leap from side to side to break its scent trail. Cottontails are built for speed, jumping, and agility. The body is pale gray washed with yellow. In the contiguous United States, the eastern cottontail ranges from the east to the Great Plains in the west. For most of us, it’s a cottontail we see doing all that damage, but, children love them–think of Thumper in Bambi and Walt Disney’s Bugs Bunny–and most adults, too. As you may already know, rabbits are birthing machines. The high reproductive capacity and adaptability of this species has made the cottontail one of the most important game animals in North America. Hares are born with hair, their eyes open, and good vision; rabbits are born mostly bald, with eyes closed. The most widespread rabbit in the United States is the Eastern Cottontail. Eastern cottontails are solitary, except females caring for young. Cottontails use dense woody cover and burrow holes from other animals for escaping pred-ators. The oldest complete rabbit fossil, found in 2008 in India, dates back 53 million years to the Eocene Epoch. Then the female does the jump-and-spin while he does the run-and-spin. Its coat is generally a dappled mixture of … (Domestic kits need them, too, at this age, and partly for this reason, it’s difficult to keep orphaned ones alive. Pity the poor humans! She doesn’t remain with them, to avoid attracting attention. If detected, they bound away through one of their several escape routes. The eastern cottontail is found from extreme southern Canada south to South America. The kits snuggle tightly side by side and stay still and quiet. They can move their long ears back and forth, and separately, too, which helps them determine a sound’s direction. Comment Habitat is likely stable within +/- 25% since European settlement. (Rklawton / Wiki; CC BY-SA 2.5). They travel a route of relative safety. True to their reputation, cottontails have a high reproductive rate, with some females raising up to seven litters per year. Males fight with other males for females. Mahatma Gandhi once said (probably in a different context) “A rabbit that runs away from the bull-terrier is not particularly non-violent,” and if it gets cornered, it may deliver a “rabbit punch:” It leaps in the air and over the back of its predator, and while aloft, delivers a powerful kick to the back of its enemy’s head or neck with its hind legs.1 If it gets caught, it’ll fight to its death. They shed their hair twice a year, and in the winter, it’s longer and grayer. Named for its white, cottony-looking tail, the Eastern Cottontail is 15–19 inches long (38–48 cm) and weighs 2–4 pounds (0.9–1.8 kg). Have you noticed that rabbits twitch their nose? Cottontails range from reddish brown to gray, but all feature the distinctive “cotton ball” tail for which they are named. It will sometimes stand on its hind feet to watch for predators like coyotes, foxes, weasels, eagles and hawks. The eastern cottontail has speckled brown-gray fur above, reddish-brown fur around its neck and shoulders and lighter fur around its nose and on its undersides. Score E - Relatively Stable (±25% change). They occasionally pop out in mid-day to nibble on some food. Males and females are generally the same size and color. They’re also rather solitary while–except for cottontails–rabbits live in social groups and nest in burrows or warrens. They are one of the most common rabbits in North America. In spring and summer, cottontails feed on buds, clover, lush grasses, dandelion heads, flower blossoms, legumes, lettuce, and even fruit. Desert Cottontails range: cottontails are found in dryland, arid areas., wood & grasslands. If you were to face one straight on, it would slightly turn its head to get past that blind spot to see you better. The eastern cottontail measures about 12 to 18 inches long and weighs roughly 2 to 4 pounds (Minnesota DNR 2020; NatureServe 2020). The eastern cottontail, which is the most common of the cottontail rabbits, has grayish brown fur above that is often grizzled with black hairs. And, they also can purr to express contentment, which evokes the thought of a cat’s throaty rumble, doesn’t it? Also, they are found in Eastern US, Mexico, and Arizona. Eastern Cottontail kits might be born in an old burrow, but it’s more likely to be a narrow hole 4–6 inches deep (10–15 cm), dug by their mother in tall grasses, under thick bushes, or another place she thinks is safe. A single species covers most of the United States, as the eastern cottontail is incredibly widespread.The western United States has a smattering of various species, and additional species spread south into Mexico and Central America. (Nancy Magnusson Flickr; CC BY-NC 2.0). - eastern cottontail stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images They also can be flawlessly trained to a litter box. When he lands, they’re both facing each other again. It was a rabbit that hopped and was very similar to those of today, but with smaller ears and a longer tail. She lines it with grass and soft fur she plucked from her own body for insulation. The eastern cottontail was introduced to the state from the midwest in the early 1900s. (This re-ingestion of nutrients is similar to deer and other ruminants that chew their cud, which can read about on this page: White-tailed Deer. Eastern cottontails are solitary and very territorial animals. Young cottontails practicing their courtship ritual. Cottontail rabbits play important roles in their ecosystems. Range length 395.0 to 477.0 mm 15.55 to 18.78 in; Average length 430.0 mm 16.93 in; Where do they live? They do it between 20 and 120 times a minute, and for a good reason: They’re smelling scents in the air. Cottontails have large, brown, protruding eyes situated high and on the sides of their head. When a predator is chasing it, the eastern cottontail will often leap from side to side to break its scent trail. The method was originally proposed by Hayne (1949). Eastern cottontail habitat is found in valley farmland regions where fields and pastures are interspersed with hedgerows and low, dense brush. Rabbits are an important link in the food chain, and if their plenteous rate of reproduction is any indicator, nature intended it that way. The female is capable of producing a litter of up to eight or more babies (called kits or kittens) every 30 days. As it sails over it gives the predator a powerful kick in the head or neck with its hind legs. They prefer an … Eastern Cottontails run in a zig-zag pattern when chased. It is the most common rabbit species in North America. In the U.S., the eastern cottontail ranges from the East Coast to the Great Plains. Today the New England Cottontail is restricted to less than a fifth of its range in the early 1900s, whereas the Eastern … A female's home range varies between one to fifteen acres in size, while a male's range may be as large as one hundred acres. Comment 35,905 square Kilometers from Natural Heritage Program range maps. Eastern Cottontails are mostly crepuscular (active at dawn and dusk) and spend most of the day hidden within thick cover or, in harsh winter weather, burrows. The eastern cottontail can leap distances of between 10 and 15 feet. They shed twice a year. It has big eyes and a tail that is puffy white on the underside. The mountain cottontail also has shorter ears (about 2.5 inches long) compared to the desert cottontail. If all else fails, they’ll try to fight. Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) Description & Range: Cottontail rabbits are small animals with speckled brown fur, which fades to white underneath. At least 50 percent never leave the nest. Within the United States, the cottontail is an eastern, central, and southwestern species—primarily found in the eastern two-thirds of the United States with the exception of Maine, a majority of New Hamp-shire and Vermont, and northeastern New York. By then, they’re foraging on their own but still need her milk. They are active year-round and do not hibernate. Hares are generally larger and have longer legs and ears. Species has been increasing in Southwestern North Dakota, and displacing Mountain Cottontail. Starting at about 10 days the kits eat their mother’s “cecotropes” (SEE-ko-tropes). Are rabbits smart? Their eyes open in about a week. Behavior Cottontail rabbits are hunted by many predators, so they only live two to three years in the wild. Another way they get rid of heat is by lying on cool soil. Mating and births occur a little later in the north and earlier in southern climates. Always on the lookout for danger, the rabbits typically move slowly and hop only short distances, then crouch or freeze to avoid catching the attention of predators. Like other rabbits, Eastern Cottontails fight each other, too: Their ears go back, the chin juts forward, thumping begins, growls are emitted, and a war is on. The two rabbits then sit facing each other. In New England, eastern cottontail home ranges average 1.4 acres (0.57 hectares) for adult males and 1.2 acres (0.49 hectares) for adult females but vary in size from 0.5 to 40 acres (0.20 to 16.19 hectares), depending on season, habitat quality, and individual. The twitching exposes some of the one-hundred million sensing receptors they have in their nose, which makes an already-exceptional sense of smell even more delicate. The eastern cottontail can leap distances of between 10 and 15 feet. Both species of cottontail are found in New Hampshire. All this playing gives them the skills they’ll need for maneuvers to win mates, rule their turf and save their lives. (Jim, the Photographer / Flickr; cc by 2.0). They alternate doing this repeatedly until mating commences. 4. Connell (1954) expressed home range of cottontails as the average distance traveled from a computed center of activity. July, 1942 HOME RANGE OF COTTONTAIL RABBIT 357 15 4 A 3 16 C 9 1 9 18 F E 6 D 13 f 21 20 2 G 8 - 10 I5 17 14 L 1i J FIG. Males may be sexually mature at only one month of age and females within their first year. The hair on the upper part of the body consists of a dense, buff-brown underfur covered by longer, coarser, gray- and black-tipped guard hairs. They have big eyes, long ears, and large hind legs and feet. Pity the poor rabbits. If they must, they’re also strong swimmers. Instead, they’re highly nutritious, gel-like, fermented droppings are produced in a rabbit’s cecum, a pouch located between the large and small intestines. They depend on low growing woody vegetation for food as wel… Males and females are generally the same size and color. The round, brown pellets we see rabbits leave behind on the ground are true feces. Winter is the most difficult time of year for rabbits. A different male fathers each litter and males don’t participate in the parenting. Always on the lookout for danger, cottontails generally move slowly and hop only short distances, then crouch or freeze. That implies that rabbits experience at least some feelings as we do, even if not to the same degree. The eastern cottontails is solitary and very territorial. It can run at speeds of up to 15 miles an hour. Playful young cottontails. Without them, the kits’ guts become overwhelmed with abnormal bacteria, and they can die a painful death. Meanwhile, she runs under him and turns 180 degrees. Eastern Cottontail resting in a form. In the winter, their coat is longer and grayer. The cottontail occurs in southern, eastern, and northern lowland areas of the Adirondack Park. Named for its white, cottony-looking tail, the Eastern Cottontail is 15–19 inches long (38–48 cm) and weighs 2–4 pounds (0.9–1.8 kg). It can run at speeds of up to 15 miles an hour. Their hearing is especially keen. Cottontails likes to live in bushy areas where their presence is not easily detected by predators. They shed twice a year. In Vermont, snow cover limits the distribution and densities of the cottontail population. But a cottontail produces a purr by grinding its teeth. They’re active year-round and prefer edge environments—open areas flanked by dense cover, such as meadows, farmlands, the edge of swamps and marshes, residential areas, and forest clearings. They’ve also been introduced in areas of the Southwest and Northwest. (Daniela Corno / Stockxchng; PD). They may have up to five pregnancies per season, but usually only three, each time producing four or five kits. Not just that, but they can turn on a dime in a zig-zag pattern as they go to confuse predators. Then there’s the leveling they can do to a vegetable patch—that alone can leave a hardworking gardener in dispair. They can be found from Canada to South America; in the United States, their range stretches from the East Coast to the Midwest. Geographic Range The eastern cottontail has the widest distribution of any Sylvilagus. City life has put these fragile animals at a bit of a disadvantage against predators because of the lack of thickets and dense grasses. (Minnie the Pookie / Flickr cc by-nc 2.0), Watch a mother defend her babies from a snake, All about Fox Squirrels and Gray Squirrels, Life in the subnivian lane, where snow is a cozy blanket, Sleeping winter away – secrets of hibernating wildlife. They are active year-round and typically live in one home range throughout their lifetime. It can be fierce, with jumping, chasing, biting, and boxing involved. The mother’s milk is so highly nourishing she needs to come to them only twice a day—early in the morning and at dusk. They are found from southern Ontario and Manitoba in Canada to central and northwestern South America. Watch a mother defend her babies from a snake. Movement draws the eye, while staying still can hide the animal, as its hair color usually blends into the surroundings. Most active at dusk and dawn; they often remain hidden during the day. Their mother nurses them for the first time and then covers them with grasses, leaves, fur or other soft debris. And, the ears are cupped, which helps to catch and amplify sound waves. Cottontail rabbits are year-round residents in Pennsylvania. (Humans, by comparison, have merely five or six million receptors.) (Porsupah Ree / Flickr; cc by-nc-sa 2.0). They’re prey for just about anything that’s large enough to catch and hold onto them. (Geoff Chandler / DCResource; cc by 2.0), The cottontail mother continues to visit her kits until they’re 18 to 21 days old. ), Adult rabbits of all species produce and eat their cecotropes to re-ingest nutrients, consuming them directly from their anus as they’re expelled. The neck is rust-colored. The hair on the upper part of the body is a dense, buff-brown underfur covered by longer, coarser, gray- and black-tipped guard hairs. They also eat spilled seed at bird feeders. Still, it’s sad to think of how expendable and vulnerable they are. They have powerful legs and large back feet, which enables them to run at up to 18 miles per hour (29 kmh) for up to half a mile (0.8 km). Cottontails can see and hear pretty much everything that’s around them. Eastern cottontail rabbits reside throughout the eastern United States and parts of Canada and Mexico. It is found from southern Manitoba and Quebec to Central and northwestern South America. Most cottontails are solitary animals and can be within their home ranges aggressively intolerant of other members of their species. Range and Habitat: The eastern cottontail is found in some parts of southern Canada, in Mexico, and Central America, and most of the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. except for northern New England. 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