Eastern Cottontail Rabbits
Eastern cottontail rabbits are a very abundant species in Wisconsin. Eastern cottontails have one of the largest lists of lurking predators, but if they happen to survive they are an excellent species to be entertained by. One great advantage that the rabbit has is its long ears. They give the rabbits the ability to hear noises from all directions. This helps them to hear their predators coming. Did you know that when eastern cottontail rabbits are running, they will hop from side to side in order to break their scent trail? This intelligence is very helpful to have to keep others from following them.
Wisconsin eastern cottontails are hard to catch because they can run speeds up to 18 mph for a half a mile at a time. They also have excellent eyesight which helps them see their surroundings. One downfall for the rabbit is that they are very easy to spot from a distance which helps all of the hunters find them. Cottontail hunting is very popular all over. Humans like hunting them for their meat and fur. A lot of humans will also trap or kill the cottontails because they tend to eat out of gardens and destroy yards with their digging. Eastern Cottontail rabbits can be a nuisance, but they can also be a wonderful sight to see. Enjoy them!
Name: Eastern Cottontail Rabbit
Scientific Name: Sylvilagus floridanus
Measurements: length: 14-18in, weight: up to 4lbs
Habitat: wooded, thick brush areas, farmland, orchards, back yards, hollow logs
Diet: buds, sprouts, and shoots of woody plants, alfalfa, clover, peas, beans, grass, etc.
Behavior: freeze when another animal approaches, solitary, very territorial, mostly nocturnal, stand on hind feet to look for predators.
Reproduction: February-September, pregnant for a month, 1-9 babies, can have 3-4 litters a year, sexual maturity at 3 months old.
Predators: humans, snakes, fire ants, skunks, opossums, raccoons, cats, dogs, crows, foxes, great horned owls, hawks, coyotes.
Life Expectancy: wild: 4-6 months old, captivity: 8-10 years old
Extra Facts: humans can get pretty close to them before they run away, females are larger than males, usually see them alone except when they have their babies with them.
Part of Wisconsin it generally resides: southern 2/3 of state and northeastern Wisconsin.