Sunday, April 24, 2011

Eastern Cottontail

Sylvilagus floridanus
The Eastern Cottontail Rabbit is one of the most common rabbit species in North America, though they can also be found in parts of Central and South America as well. They are a crepuscular species, meaning they are most active at dusk and dawn, and they prefer to live in habitats that are not quite fully forested, but that aren't completely open either.

Eastern Cottontails are very, very territorial and don't like being around each other much outside of the mating season, which involves males both fighting each other, and performing displays for females. These Rabbits reach sexual maturity when they are only 2-3 months old, and females can have as many as 3-4 litters a year, sometimes more! The high reproduction rate is necessary though, since Cottontails have what seems like an endless number of predators, and nearly 80% of adult rabbits are killed each year.

The Rabbits have a few ways to escape from those who hunt them. They can jump distances of 10-15ft (3-4.5m) and when they run, they do so in a zig-zag pattern to try and break the trail. They can reach speeds of up to 18mph (29kph).

Eastern Cottontails are herbivores that both graze and browse. They are not very picky about the vegetation that they eat, which can cause problem when they go after crops and gardens.

IUCN Status :  Least Concern
Location : North America, parts of Central and South America
Size : Body length 17in (43cm), Weight 3lbs (1.3kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Lagomorpha
Family : Leporidae -- Genus : Sylvilagus -- Species : S. floridanus

1 comment:

  1. I had one of these rabbits languishing in my yard last year. I don't know if it was just cooling itself because of the heat or if it was ill. It was around all summer so I doubt the illness theory. Now that the grass is getting green, there is a big brown spot where the rabbit sat. I wonder why.

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