The genus is widely distributed across North America, Central America and northern and … Sign up to receive the latest and greatest articles from our site automatically each week (give or take)...right to your inbox. While your bunny and her friends descend from the European rabbit, they have lost the instincts and physical traits necessary to get by in the wild. 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. While cottontails always have short brown hair, domestic rabbits can have varying hair coat colors, patterns, and lengths. They are super speedy and almost impossible to catch without a trap. Meet Cottontail, an American Rabbit for adoption, at Center Valley Animal Rescue in Quilcene, WA on Petfinder. They may not be able to find a place to dig a burrow to cool off.” She also notes how they are more susceptible to parasites. Fossil and archaeological records suggest that wild rabbits have been hunted for meat and furs since the Pleistocene Epoch (2.6 million years to 11,700 years ago). Collecting food and eating it, as well as digging burrows – all such activities are reserved for the darker, low light parts of the day, so that the risk of predators is reduced. Rabbits are fascinating members of the animal kingdom. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just an area for your rabbits to get daily exercise. Their prolific breeding habits and easy adaptability to different living conditions makes them a rather ravaging little pest. Some members of the Eastern cottontail sub-species have a white splotch or small patch on the forehead. In America, 13 sub-species of the cottontail exist. Step 3. They may also emit a high-pitched scream. Adult cottontails range from 2-4 lbs., averaging 3 lbs. Pet rabbits are an entirely different species than the cottontail rabbits that are native to the United States. How to Raise Domestic San Juan & Cottontail Rabbits Step 1. Another trick up their sleeves, is to “freeze” or be perfectly still for some time. And can even die after some weeks. If you have a pet rabbit and no longer want it, take it to an animal adoption center or find a home for it by advertising or putting up signs in local pet shops and animal clinics. At a minimum, releasing Eastern cottontail rabbits would greatly complicate ongoing restoration efforts for New England cottontail. If the rabbit has ears hanging down, as in a lop-eared rabbit, it is domestic. Is that rabbit safe to eat? 6789 Quail Hill Pkwy, Suite 211 Irvine CA 92603. Cottontails wean and release about 3-4 weeks and jackrabbits much later (9+ weeks), whereas domestic rabbits are 6 weeks. These cookies do not store any personal information. Their cute and cuddly demeanor has given them a plush toy image and not too bright reputation but rabbits are actually quite smart and can run rings around both humans and their animal counterparts. You also have the option to opt-out of these cookies. My pet Cottontail rabbit, i was doing yard work a while back and found her as a baby. Many animal shelters aren’t equipped with pet rabbit supplies to care for exotic pets, but they may be able to point you in the direction of a rabbit rescue. Physical Traits of a Domestic Rabbit … During the day, they hide in undergrowth or bushes and try their best to keep a very low profile. Whether a purely wild or human populated area, the cottontail knows how to live. Ears can be upright or flop over and they have a much more full or round body shape,” Dr. Wilkinson explains. If you manage to catch a glimpse of this grass and shrub dweller, keep still and do not approach it, so you can observe it better. Their occurrence is distributed across America, from the dry and desert regions of Arizona, Texas and New Mexico to the Hudson River area and New England. “Unfortunately most found domestic rabbits are intentionally released rather than escaped. The courtship rituals of these little fellows is quite amusing. Rabbits have long been considered a quiet pet, and it is true that they are not known for loud noises that bother the neighbors. Common predators of cottontails are foxes, coyotes, owls, hawks, snakes, mink, weasels and skunks. They are herbivores, so grasses, herbs, tubers, roots and shoots or leafy veggies make up their diet. They mark a designated area or ground of their own in the mating season and will fight with other rabbits from their warren, both males and females to defend their territory. Sylvilagus includes 13 wild rabbit … This website uses cookies to improve your experience. The exception to this rule is the Brush rabbit, who has a grayer tail shade. Ears are black tipped. If there are any patches of color (including white), he is domestic. Rabbit is one of the easiest game animals for novices to work with, because of its compact size. Dr. Wilkinson points out how pet rabbits are especially at risk in hot weather. Even the most adventurous bunnies don’t stand a chance if released into the wild. Indoor bunnies just aren’t prepared for outdoor hazards. However, this feature is not present in all cottontails nor is it unique to the genus. Step 2. Their body is round and long. Cottontails are also fond of human garden produce like growing peas, lettuce and carrots (of course!). Cottontail rabbits are called that because the underside of their tails -- which curls up against the lower back -- is white, just like a small piece of cotton. The indoor buns we’re used to come in different shapes and sizes. have a lifespan of about one year—possibly three, if they're very, very clever. According to Stacey Leonatti Wilkinson, DVM, DABVP from Avian and Exotic Animal Hospital of Georgia, “Native cottontails are always small (around 2-3 pounds) with a brown coat (agouti pattern). The eastern cottontail rabbit is a midsize rabbit that generally resides throughout eastern North America, from Canada to Mexico. Domestic (European) rabbits have 22 pairs of chromosomes, cottontails have 21" So the answer is technically yes, it could result in hybrid babies, though it's very extremely unlikely any … Cottontail rabbits eat a wide variety of plant foods including grasses, sedges, sprouts, leaves, fruits, buds, and bark. What should you do if you see a domesticated rabbit running loose? Reddish brown, light or sandy brown, gray, grayish brown are the common shades. Its close cousin, the swamp rabbit, is also … They prefer areas with at least some shrubbery or undergrowth to hide under. Most species are a little over a foot long, and weigh just a few pounds.These rabbits have moderately long ears, though not as long as those of jackrabbits or hares, and large round eyes. Our site includes quite a bit of content, so if you're having an issue finding what you're looking for, go on ahead and use that search feature there! The cottontail bunny eats plants, is most active at dusk and dawn, and provides a major link in food webs. If a domestic rabbit that is "set free" survives for a year, it's due to sheer luck. Have you seen a suspected pet rabbit running wild? tops. Is that bunny outside a wild cottontail or a neighbor’s lost BFF? Most people have their hearts in the right place, but they aren't banking on those odds when they turn their rabbit loose. There are 14 breeds of rabbit found in the U.S. though, none of which are domesticated. And note the white puffy tail, when it flees! Hence, they can ruin garden landscapes, parks, orchids and plantations. Some of the sub-species that fall under the cottontail breed are: Out of these the Swamp Rabbit (Sylvilagus aquaticus) is the largest and the Brush Rabbit (Sylvilagus bachmani) is the smallest subspecies. The Eastern cottontail rabbit is the most prolific and widespread sub-species of the cottontail species. We have been running the rescue for 13 years and have had over 600 bunnies come through the rescue. “When it’s over 80 degrees, rabbits are extremely prone to heat stroke. We also use third-party cookies that help us analyze and understand how you use this website. While domestic rabbits are social and prefer to live in groups, the wild rabbits are more likely to do their own thing anyway. If the person who finds the rabbit cannot keep it and cannot locate the owner, then the best option is to find it a home,” Dr. Wilkinson admits. 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