In appearance, most cottontail rabbits closely resemble the wild European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Rabbits leap through our stories and myths with abandon. What we learned later was that it was a mommy bunny. This way you'll either get a call from the police warning that something's not right, and you'll escape with a warning, or get a call from a rabbit supplier. Any landscape that supplies a combination of the above is considered good from a rabbit’s perspective. Cottontail rabbits eat a wide variety of plant foods including grasses, sedges, sprouts, leaves, fruits, buds, and bark. More typically, a female will raise four litters between March and September, with an average of five young per litter. A North American Cottontail rabbit spotted in Waterloo, Ontario. Cottontails use burrows vacated by other animals, and the burrows are used for long enough periods that predators can learn where the cottontails reside and repeatedly return to predate the lagomorphs. Winter can be a very tough time for wildlife although some fare better than others. West coast of North America, from the Columbia River in Oregon to the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula. Unlike snowshoe hares, they do not turn white, and are therefore very visible against the snow. Best bet is to put up a few fliers around a farm market. Within about two weeks of being born the young are ready to leave the nest. They also eat raspberry stems (Rubus), the dry leaves of Canada Thistle (Cirsium arvense), stems of Common Burdock (Arctium minus), the bark of Red Osier Dogwood (Cornus sericea), young birch trees (Betula), wild rose (Rosa), and a number of other species. Almost every living carnivorous creature comparable to or larger in size than these lagomorphs is a potential predator, including such diverse creatures as domestic dogs, cats, humans, snakes, coyotes, mountain lions, foxes, and if the cottontail is showing signs of illness, even squirrels. The marsh rabbit can swim well and is found only where water is present, like the marshes and swamps off the coasts in the Eastern and Southern regions of America. In winter, they turn to the buds, stems, and bark of shrubs and trees, particularly Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina), which seems to form a good part of their winter diet at the FWG. The average litter size is four but can range from as few as two to as many as eight, most of whom do not go on to survive to adulthood. Eastern cottontail. It will either look for an empty burrow from another animal or huddle under woody vegetation. However, this feature is not present in all cottontails nor is it unique to the genus. Pellets are a great nutritional source for rabbits. The eastern cottontail rabbit doesn't dig its own burrows like some other rabbit species do, so they will either find an empty burrow from another animal to crawl into or they will look for woody vegetation to huddle under during cold weather. Cottontail rabbits are wild rabbits found all over North and South America. The first excretion, moist and greenish in colour is of partially digested food. Several species of cottontails inhabit North America, but here in eastern Ontario, the familiar “bunny rabbit” is the eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus). eastern and south-central United States, southern Canada, eastern Mexico, Central America and northernmost South America. On particularly cold days, they may take advantage of old groundhog dens for cover and warmth. However, I have seen quite a few young, evidence of successful breeding. Most of us have a great attraction to wild rabbits. The eastern cottontail can be found in meadows and shrubby areas in the eastern and south-central United States, southern Canada, eastern Mexico, Central America and northernmost South America. I ran off to find my camera. These nests are well concealed under shrubs or tall grass but can be very vulnerable to disturbance from dogs and humans. After that, they were either absent or not noticed, until about 1996 when we saw one around the Backyard Garden. Most cottontail rabbits closely resemble the wild European rabbit ( Oryctolagus cuniculus ). It was an unnerving sound. As such, each species has a slightly different habitat and climatic conditions to adapt to. Brushpiles of varying sizes dot the area (see photo at left). About a week or two after our first encounter, we spotted the same rabbit in a patch of ivy. They will also feed on spilled seed from bird feeders. In fact, their fecundity is a response to their high mortality. If anyone still wanting a rabbit I have two pedigree lionhead bucks available If anyone still wanting a rabbit I have two pedigree lionhead bucks available. In fact rabbits can make do with a small patch of … Rabbits breed like, well, like rabbits. Rabbits are generally creatures of habit, sticking fairly close to their familiar surroundings, unless forced to move. Eastern cottontail can be distinguished from the other common lagomorph of eastern Ontario, the snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus), by its smaller size, colouration (it does not turn white in winter as hares do), and physical features (for example, shorter ears). Perhaps the biggest problem they face in this season is their vulnerability to predators. If found, they can run extremely fast, often restorting to a zig-zag pattern to shake their pursuer. [7], Cottontails are rarely found out of their burrows looking for food on windy days, because the wind interferes with their hearing capabilities. Many people who find baby rabbits outside, do not see the mom and automatically assume that they have been abandoned. San José Island in the Gulf of California, Western United States from eastern Montana to western Texas, and in Northern and Central Mexico, Manzano Mountains in New Mexico, United States, Mexico from the state of Sinaloa to the states of Oaxaca and Veracruz. Nuttall’s cottontail has long hind legs and white back feet. This habit does not endear them to gardeners, although at the FWG, we tolerate their excesses in the BYG, even if we don’t always appreciate it. Look for pellets at your local pet store. For other uses, see, "Ecological correlates to cranial morphology in Leporids (Mammalia, Lagomorpha)", 10.1656/1528-7092(2006)5[157:CFPOPL]2.0.CO;2,, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. By 2000, they were common and have been observed regularly since. Cottontails can also be parasitized by botfly species including Cuterebra fontinella. Sections of this page. Rabbit Rescue receives numerous calls each spring regarding wild rabbits (Easter Cottontails). Dobbyn (1994), however, says it was not reported in the southern part of the province until 1860, and prior to 1931 was unknown in Ottawa. They are notoriously prolific and if they lived in an ideal world with no predators, they would soon overpopulate. Most active at dusk and dawn; they often remain hidden during the day. This feature is not present in some cottontails, nor is it unique to the genus. It looked at us, we looked at it. Cottontail rabbitry. Cottontail Rabbit Trail is a 2,072 m moderately popular green doubletrack trail located near Oshawa Ontario. At the FWG, we often find regular runs leading from the BYG and the Bill Holland Trail into the Ravine; around the Old Field thickets, and in a number of other locations. Courtship is said to be quite energetic. Rabbits are also quite happy to forage on garden plants. Rabbits are coprophagous, meaning that they eat their own feces to better digest plant material. The "origins" of Continental's are derived from the Flemish Giant, from Flanders Belgium. Cottontail Rabbit. Cottontail rabbits are among the 20 lagomorph species in the genus Sylvilagus, found in the Americas. Fleming, JH. When you see a wild rabbit in your yard, you probably want to feed her. The cottontail's most frequent predators are various birds of prey. Cottontails may have inhabited extreme southern Ontario in pre-settlement times (Banfield 1974), but by the time settlers arrived this species was absent. At the FWG, rabbits were seen occasionally in the early days of the garden with one observation in 1991 and another in 1992. 517 likes. In suburban regions, these rabbits will keep warm near garages or under porches or cars. At FWG, raspberry thickets are a favourite hiding place. Eastern cottontail rabbits are one of the few wild animals that are known to "play" with other members of their species. They often return to the same location day after day. This is commonly found under, or around, favourite feeding spots and along their trails or runs. Their dense coat, or pelage, is a greyish-brown with black-tipped guard hairs. On the CEF, there are dozens of groundhog burrows, and there is ample evidence of rabbits using some of them. Although they can be found in very open woodlands, this is not a typical habitat. We were so surprised that the rabbit wasn’t moving until we saw why s… Rabbit watching is fun, and you may find yourself becoming quite attached to them, particularly if you get to “know” an individual by watching where it sleeps, eats, and spends the day. On sunny days, rabbits may seek the sun’s warmth where it penetrates sheltered spots. One very well-worn rabbit run I investigated in winter, led from an old groundhog burrow, in a rose thicket, to a sumac stand on which the rabbit was feeding. The Eastern Cottontail has benefitted greatly from land clearance. Eastern cottontails are fairly well adapted to surviving the cold as long as they have adequate food. When a predator passes by, rabbits will freeze, in an effort to go unnoticed. She has a dog, and although Lucy gets along fine with Bebe and Buddy the rabbits, there are times when the rabbits, who otherwise have free run of the area, want to be away from Lucy. Without the ability to breed rapidly and often, they would have little chance of thriving as a species. But you should handle a wild rabbit carefully because she may be a vector of disease or a sick one. Eastern cottontail rabbits are a native species to Canada and are one of the few wild animals that are known to “play” with other members of their species. Eastern cottontails are beautiful little animals and the young are, dare I say, absolutely adorable. Sitting on a footpath looking into the woods Cottontails are NOT the same genetically as our domestic house bunnies. True to their reputation, cottontails have a high reproductive rate, with some females raising up to seven litters per year. New England, specifically from southern Maine to southern New York. Proof is her smiling face on advertisements and boxes of candy. Perhaps the most familiar field mark is the short white puffy tail (the cotton tail). Yet we also eat them, hunt them for sport, and resort to trapping to get rid of them. Keep in mind that pellets tend to be very nutrient dense—you do not need to feed them in large quantities. They are active year-round and do not hibernate. By standing, they reach higher food and a better view. Here in southern Ontario, cottontail rabbits are the common local “bunnies,” but unlike Easter bunnies, their lives are hardly carefree. Female cottontails are more territorial than males, particularly during breeding season. Banfield (1974) describes it as an “interesting mating dance” in which “the buck chases the doe in a lively pursuit around the meadow. Twice a year they undergo a molt. Cottontail Rabbit Sylvilagus floridanus in badlands. As with a child, rabbit proof you house from cables, wires, shoes, papers or anything important or they may be chewed. One of the resident foxes soon discovered this site and caught the rabbit. The rabbits killed by dogs at FWG must have been caught in the open, away from cover. The cladogram is based on mitochondrial gene analysis. Download this stock image: Eastern Cottontail rabbit Sylvilagus floridanus in Thickson's Woods Nature Reserve in Whitby Ontario Canada - C4XCC8 from Alamy's library of millions of high resolution stock photos, illustrations and vectors. Its range expanded north as forests were cleared by settlers. Its large tail is three to five centimetres long. There are a few species within the cottontail rabbit family in America, but the eastern cottontail is the most abundant and widespread. Cottontail Rabbit Rescue 2020. The eastern cottontail is a medium-sized rabbit with long ears, large hind legs, shorter front legs, a short fluffy tail, and soft fur. The virus is already affecting species in northern Mexico, a center of lagomorph diversity that is home to rare and endangered species such as the volcano rabbit and the Davis Mountains cottontail. More familiar is the dry, brown, pellet-like scat. I snapped a pic and that was that. During the day, they usually remain sitting in a well-concealed location, blending with the landscape. The genus is widely distributed across North America, Central America, and northern and central South Ame… Since then, the once rare Eastern Cottontail has spread throughout the region, wherever suitable habitat is found. Eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus). Most (though not all) species live in nests called forms, and all have altricial young. The Eastern Cottontail frequently creates well-worn trails, particularly noticeable in winter, leading between burrows or brushpiles and a feeding area. [6], In contrast to rodents, (squirrels, etc.) It occurs across the eastern half of North America, from Canada down through Mexico and Central America. At the FWG, we have very few burrows, apart from a couple of groundhog holes and several old fox dens (see photo). As they crouch facing each other, a few inches apart, one of the pair suddenly leaps about two feet in the air and the other runs nimbly underneath it.” This usually occurs after dark and may be accompanied by squeals and grunts. which generally sit on their hind legs and hold food with their front paws while feeding; cottontail rabbits eat while on all fours. [8], Juvenile cottontail standing in anticipation of food, Cottontails are very sociable animals within their peer group, Male desert cottontail at 8 weeks, and the same cottontail at 16 months of age, The subgenera were described in the 19th century based on limited morphological data that have been shown to not be of great use, nor to depict phylogenetic relationships. Raptors such as Red-tailed Hawks (Buteo jamaicensis) and Great-horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) prey on both adults and young. Eastern Cottontails are herbivores, feeding on a variety of herbaceous plants, grasses, and shrubs. Call if selling bulk rabbits, etc. Place pelleted rabbit food out for the wild rabbits. In the United States, cottontail rabbits reside all over the country, both in colder and warmer climates. Most Sylvilagus species have stub tails with white undersides that show when they retreat; giving them their name, "cottontails". [3][4], The lifespan of a cottontail averages about two years, depending on the location. This scat is rarely seen for the rabbits quickly consume it. Baby mountain cottontail rabbits suddenly gather youtube pets for adoption at rabbit rescue in rescues south west home cottontails guinea pig rescuecottontails a hare y situation the study of eastern. Though cottontails are prolific animals that can have multiple litters in a year, few of the resulting offspring survive to adulthood. By this time, their mother is probably pregnant again and will soon be ready to give birth once more. Thickets of shrubs and stands of raspberry (Rubus) are common, and the Old Woodlot, New Woods, and birch grove provide an open wooded setting abutting field and thicket. We keep rabbits as pets, we make cuddly bunny toys, they grace endless amounts of baby paraphernalia, in short they are almost iconic. Rabbits are also incredibly fast, and are able to reach speeds of 60 to 75 kilometres per hour. Several species of cottontails inhabit North America, but here in eastern Ontario, the familiar “bunny rabbit” is the eastern cottontail ( Sylvilagus floridanus ). 1908. Cottontail rabbits are year-round residents in Pennsylvania. ), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), the leaves of young saplings, and several species of grass including especially Kentucky Blue Grass (Poa pratensis). Most of all, they rely on reaching protective shelter such as burrows or brushpiles. Varying hares have long ears and legs as well as a thick coat of fur compared to the more southern cottontail. He is a Eastern Cottontail Rabbit and is a native species to Canada and a common sight in Caledon, Ontario. If you look carefully around the FWG you may see these shallow depressions in the snow (see photo above right) or, in warmer months, in the grass. They are more distantly related to the European and other rabbits, and more distantly still to the hares. Many years ago, I heard a rabbit give a very piercing human-like scream when it was picked up. Their primary form of communication is by stamping their hind feet. Banfield (1974) says this varies from 0.5 to 9 hectares, but notes that “recent studies have indicated a larger home range, dependent to some extent on terrain and food supply, but in the neighbourhood of 8 acres [3.24 hectares].” At the FWG, our 5-hectare site could support 5 to 10 rabbits. The shallow impression created by their body weight is called a “form”. Population Dynamics of the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit STACEY PECEN1, The Pennsylvania State University, 305 Forest Resources Building, University Park, PA 16802, USA ABSTRACT Eastern cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) experience high productivity with adults averaging five young in a litter and three to four litters annually. In our home and native land, the relatively small rabbits prefer open woodlands, meadows, and shrubby areas of southern Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario… Rabbits are even found in urban parks, greenspaces, and gardens, so long as there are thickets, hedges, and places to seek cover nearby. According to The Journal of Wildlife Management, the eastern cottontail rabbit doesn’t dig its burrows. Eastern Cottontail Rabbits are a species that have adapted very well to city living and cultivated landscapes. Those that do grow very quickly and are full grown adults at three months. The upperparts vary from reddish to grayish brown sprinkled with black; when fluffed, the fur of the rump is grayish. Range and Habitat of the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit. Cottontail rabbits typically only use their nose to move and adjust the position of the food that it places directly in front of its front paws on the ground. During the summer months, cottontails primarily eat grasses, legumes, succulent annuals, weeds, as well as the occasional garden vegetable. Rabbits are also incredibly fast, and are able to reach speeds of 60 to 75 kilometers per hour. We offer a wide variety in our rabbitry from some of the most ADORABLE pets to even Meat Rabbits for a saturday night stew. I have seen some paths so well-trod they look like major rabbit highways. What should you do if you find a baby cottontail? The female may produce 3 to 5 litters a year with an average of 5 young per litter, but many newborns do not survive. The list of cottontail predators is long. It was a rabbit that hopped and was very similar to those of today, but with smaller ears and a longer tail. This page was last edited on 17 November 2020, at 16:44. While it is thought that they could live up to 7 years under ideal conditions, most rabbits, not surprisingly, don’t make it past their first year and many, according to Forsyth (1985) live no longer than 6 months.