Thursday, January 9, 2014

Desert Cottontail

Sylvilagus audubonii
Also known as the Audubon's Cottontail, the Desert Cottontail is a rabbit that lives in the dry, desert-like habitats of western North American (though they can also be found in some pine forests as well!)

Desert Cottontails typically live in small groups, foraging together for grasses, vegetables, and even cacti. They drink very little water, if any, as they can get all they need from the plants that they eat.

Interestingly, the Desert Cottontail is one of those unusual mammals where the females are larger than the males... if only just barely. Like most rabbits, these guys breed several times a year, though have fewer litters, and fewer offspring per litter, than many of their cousins. A female will normally breed 5 times a year, each time having a gestation period of about 4 weeks. 3 young are usually born at once, and they grow quickly, leaving the nest at 2 weeks and being fully independent at 5 (leaving mom to breed again!)

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Western North America
Size : Length up to 17in (43cm), Weight up to 3.3lbs (1.5kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Lagomorpha
Family : Leporidae -- Genus : Sylvilagus -- Species : S. audubonii
Image :  Howcheng

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