Eastern Cottontail

Sylvilagus floridanus

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  • Eastern Cottontail |  Photo: Matthew Hunt
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Eastern Cottontail Photo Gallery

Basic Information

Order

Lagomorpha

Family

Leporidae

Size

Eastern Cottontails are generally between 15.5 and 19 inches in length.

Lifespan

up to 5 years

Weight

Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) facts, habitat, diet, range, rabbit pictures and more to help you learn to identify the small mammal.

Diet

Herbivore

Breeding

There is something to be said for the old adage “breeding like rabbits.” Eastern Cottontails breed continuously under the right conditions from late winter until fall. During which they can have up to 7 litters, but average 3 to 4. Sexual Maturity is reached after a few months.

Range

Eastern U.S.

Number of Offspring

3-6 bunnies

What does the Eastern Cottontail look like?

Eastern Cottontails are small mammals. They have a dense buff brown under fur and a coarser gray and black tipped outer fur. Their rump and flanks are gray and has a rufous patch their napes. Eastern Cottontails have white undercarriages and a white underside of their short tails. They molt twice per year. It’s eyes are large for their small size.

Eastern Cottontail Habitat

Forests/Meadows

Eastern Cottontail Facts

If you've done much hiking back east you’ve probably spooked an Eastern Cottontail or two and watched them bolt away. They are strict herbivores. In the summer they feed on grasses, wild strawberries and other leafy vegetation. In the winter they survive on woody vegetation such as twigs, bark and tree buds. They are most active at dawn and dusk and have a slew of predators, including but limited to raptors, foxes, weasels, coyotes and humans. They are abundant making them a popular game species for hunters and can be a nuisance to farmers and gardeners.

See also