Rabbits are separated from the hares by their proportionately shorter ears and hind legs. Their young are born
blind, naked, and helpless, with their eyes tightly closed, in a carefully constructed nest. Cottontails are one
of the most abundant mammals in the nation. A favorite target of hunters in the East, they have been widely studied
Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus
Description: Brownish on back with tan on lower back and rump; cinnamon on sides extends down to white under parts;
outside of ears are darker than back and whitish inside; white powder puff tail; 14 to 17 inches long; 2 to 4 pounds.
Similar species: Nuttall's cottontail-smaller size; lighter color; shorter ears. Desert cottontail-smaller in size;
lighter color; longer ears. Jackrabbits and snowshoe hare-much larger.
Habitat/Distribution: Brushy areas, weed patches, and other areas with varied vegetation where soil is rich. Found
in foothills along eastern edge of region, not found in RMNP.
Food: Summer-tender herbaceous plants; Winter-twigs and bark of young trees.
Active most of the night, cottontails spend their days resting in a small depression, called a "form,"
hidden in tall grass, in thick brush, or beneath a brush pile. Young are born anytime from March to September in
a slight depression in the ground hidden by grasses. Adults may have three or four litters per year in good habitat.