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Cottontail Rabbit Habitat

Cottontail Rabbit Habitat

The cottontail rabbit gets its name from its fluffy tail that resembles nothing less than a cotton ball. Get some quick facts on the habitat of this creature of the wild.
PetPonder Staff
The regions of the North and South America are populated with cottontail rabbits. There are about 16 species of these mammals known to man, among which, the 'Eastern cottontail rabbit' is known to be very common. These mammals can be found in varied colors, ranging from reddish brown to gray, with their underparts being white. There are some varying physical characteristics amongst the different species of this animal. The given content not only covers the information on the habitat of the cottontail, but also other aspects related to its survival in the wild.
Where Do Cottontails Live?
When we say 'habitat', we are referring to a location that suits best to the basic needs of a living organism. By basic needs, it essentially means the availability of food, adequate resources for protection from predators, and reproduction. Generally, places such as the boundaries of open spaces which can be fields, meadows, farms, etc., provide for an ideal living place for these animals. Even edges of forests, wood thickets, fence rows and fringes of marshy areas can be inhabited by these rabbits. In such areas, these mammals can have easy access to their food necessities such as tender grass and herbs, peas, beans, and lettuce. These foods, however, make up for the menu for these animals during summers. And when the mercury starts dropping (during winters) the cottontails feed mainly on bark, twigs, buds of shrubs and young trees thus, making their diet coarser.
Cottontail Rabbits ~ Some Quick Facts
  • Cottontail rabbits are nocturnal when it comes to foraging. During the daytime they seek vegetation close to their hiding places.
  • When distracted, they tend to escape by running in a zigzag manner. In some cases, researchers have noticed that these animals can reach up to a top speed of 18 miles (29 kilometers) an hour, especially when outrunning a predator.
  • An important fact that is related to the reproduction of these animals is, if the mother gives birth to say about 10 baby rabbits, it is most likely that only 2 of them would survive their first year. However, this does not have any significant effect on their population as rabbits are able to breed three to four times a year. February to September is the time when the mating season for these animals prevails.
  • Baby rabbits reach their maturity after a mere two to three months time. This is the reason for the high growth rate of rabbit population.
  • When cottontails sense threat they act as if frozen, so that the predator cannot sense their movement.
  • Communication between these animals happen by thumping on the grounds with their large hind feet.
  • In the wild, the average life span of these four-legged animals is less than 3 years.
  • The different species of the cottontails are as follows:
Common Name Scientific Name
Appalachian Cottontail Sylvilagus obscurus
Brush Rabbit Sylvilagus bachmani
Desert Cottontail Sylvilagus audubonii
Dice's Cottontail Sylvilagus dicei
Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus
Manzano Mountain Cottontail Sylvilagus cognatus
Marsh Rabbit Sylvilagus palustris
Mexican Cottontail Sylvilagus cunicularius
Mountain Cottontail Sylvilagus nuttallii
New England Cottontail Sylvilagus transitionalis
Omilteme Cottontail Sylvilagus insonus
Robust Cottontail Sylvilagus robustus
Swamp Rabbit Sylvilagus aquaticus
Tapeti Sylvilagus brasiliensis
Tres Marias Rabbit Sylvilagus graysoni

And to conclude, the best time to watch a cottontail rabbit is during the wee hours of the morning and right before the sun sets. They prefer being inconspicuous and stay hidden during the middle of the day.