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Cottontail Rabbit

Sylvilagus floridanus

Origin: Eastern and South-Central United States, Southern Canada, Eastern Mexico, Central America and the northern most South America.

Lifespan: Average lifespan in the wild is about two years. The longest lived wild cottontail on record was 5 years.

Size: Adult size is 14 to 19 inches, and weighs 2 to 34 lbs.

Diet: Herbivore

  • The eat almost exclusively on vegetation.

  • Food items include bark, twigs, leaves, fruit, buds, flowers, grass seeds, sedge fruit, and rush seeds.

  • They are coprophagous (meaning they eat feces, this allows more thoroughly by passing twice through the digestive tract). They produce two types of fecal pellets, one of which is consumed. The predigestion of pellets greatly increases the nutritional value of dietary items.

  • In the winter, their diet is mostly twigs, buds, and bark of woody vegetation.

Activity: Crepuscular, most active during dawn and dusk.


  • Breeding season is from February to September.

  • Nest is a shallow hole that is filled with fur and grasses.

  • Gestation lasts 28 days. The average litter size is 3 or 4 young called kits.

  • A female rabbit can have up to seven litters in one year.

  • Babies are weaned by four to five weeks.

  • The kits move out of the nest for short tips by 12 to 16 days and are completely weaned and independent by 4-5 weeks. Litters disperse at about 7 weeks. 

  • The female does not stay with the nest. She revisits to nurse the young twice a day. She does her best to keep the nest from being found by predators.

Extra Facts:

  • Rabbits have a high mortality rate, the death rate is up to 80% a year

  • Rabbits can run up to 18 mph

  • Their front incisors never stop growing.

  • Domesticated bunnies have a very different demeanor from feral rabbits.

  • They twitch their nose when they smell. They have 100 million rectors in their noses. Twitching helps expose all of them.

  • Rabbits are not actually classified as rodents, but as Lagomorphs.

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