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Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus


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Eastern Cottontail
credit: The High Fin Sperm Whale/CCSA

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Family: Leporidae, Hares and Rabbits view all from this family

Description Our most common cottontail; has relatively large ears. Upperparts are densely furred in brownish or grayish; belly and undertail are furred in white. Larger than other lowland western cottontails, relatively smaller ears than Desert Cottontail. Range extends into some western states, requiring especially careful scrutiny in Texas and New Mexico where it can easily be confused with the Manzano Mountain and Robust Cottontails, which are restricted to select mountain ranges.

Dimensions 40-50cm, 2-6cm, 800-1500g

Similar Species Different from Appalachian and New England Cottontails by: 1) often showing a white (never black) spot between ears; 2) lacking a black fringe on front edge of ears; 3) lacking a black penciled effect on back.

Habitat Scrub, shrub & brushlands, Meadows & fields, Grasslands & prairies, Forests & woodlands

Range Plains, Great Lakes, New England, Mid-Atlantic, Rocky Mountains, Southeast, Southwest, Florida, Texas, Eastern Canada, Western Canada

Discussion Common in variety of habitats including overgrown fields, meadows, and brushy areas. One additional cryptic rabbit from the mountains of southwestern New Mexico (Hidalgo, Luna, southern Grant counties), S. f. holzneri, is still considered a subspecies since its relationship to Mexican populations of Eastern Cottontails remain unclear.