Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

Basic Information

The eastern cottontail can be found in meadows, and shrubby areas in the eastern and south-central United States. Its diet includes grasses, fruits, and vegetables in the spring and summer, and twigs, bark, dogwoods, and maple trees in the winter. Their predators include hawks, owls, coyotes, wolves, skunks, and bobcats. Cottontails mate from February to September and have shallow ground nests lined with grass and fur. They can breed up to three to four times a year with three to eight young in a litter. The young are called kits or kittens and are born naked, blind, and completely helpless. They weigh around one ounce and measure four inches at birth. The babies will be completely self sufficient after four to five weeks. Only 15% of the babies will survive the first year, accounting for a high reproductive rate. Female rabbits reach mating age after three months.

Fun Facts

  • The eastern cottontail rabbit is most active at night
  • When being chased, the rabbit runs in a zigzag pattern making it harder to follow and allowing the animal chasing it to loose its scent
  • The eastern cottontail can run up to 18 miles per hour