Courtship is said to be quite energetic. But you should handle a wild rabbit carefully because she may be a vector of disease or a sick one. At FWG, raspberry thickets are a favourite hiding place. The "origins" of Continental's are derived from the Flemish Giant, from Flanders Belgium. What should you do if you find a baby cottontail? Many people who find baby rabbits outside, do not see the mom and automatically assume that they have been abandoned. More typically, a female will raise four litters between March and September, with an average of five young per litter. Around the Old Field habitat, there is a good thick growth of this species, although as winter wears on, the canes tend to get beaten down by the snow and the safety factor diminishes. 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. A North American Cottontail rabbit spotted in Waterloo, Ontario. Range and Habitat of the Eastern Cottontail Rabbit. Rabbits are also quite happy to forage on garden plants. The eastern cottontail is a medium-sized rabbit with long ears, large hind legs, shorter front legs, a short fluffy tail, and soft fur. It occurs across the eastern half of North America, from Canada down through Mexico and Central America. 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. Unlike hares, rabbits prefer living on the edge. Solitary animals that they are, Banfield (1974) says that the young will only stick together for the first 7 weeks before heading off alone. During the day, they usually remain sitting in a well-concealed location, blending with the landscape. Cottontails are NOT the same genetically as our domestic house bunnies. The Cottontail Rabbit Sylvilagus floridanus thrives in the arid, dry western desert habitat, and its drab. Best bet is to put up a few fliers around a farm market. Rabbits are also incredibly fast, and are able to reach speeds of 60 to 75 kilometers per hour. The upperparts vary from reddish to grayish brown sprinkled with black; when fluffed, the fur of the rump is grayish. Rabbit populations are cyclical, peaking and then “crashing” every 7 to 10 years. It was an unnerving sound. 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. 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. They often return to the same location day after day. These nests are well concealed under shrubs or tall grass but can be very vulnerable to disturbance from dogs and humans. The only time a cottontail uses its front paws while feeding is when vegetation is above its head on a living plant, at which point the cottontail will lift its paw to bend the branch to bring the food within reach. It is also thought that “the redigestion of food may be important for the survival of an herbivore that must often interrupt its feeding to flee a predator” (Massachusetts Audubon 2007). The first excretion, moist and greenish in colour is of partially digested food. 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. It is abundant in Midwest North America, and has been found in New Mexico and Arizona. After that, they were either absent or not noticed, until about 1996 when we saw one around the Backyard Garden. Here you may also see where the animal has made numerous side trips to investigate a food source, but always heading back to the protective cover. The cottontail's most frequent predators are various birds of prey. Fleming, JH. 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