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Rabbit: Sylvilagus floridanus

Appearance:

The cottontail is grayish-brown with a distinctive white "powder puff" tail. It measures 14 to 17 inches in length and weighs two to four pounds. The marsh rabbit is slightly smaller, darker brown, and has coarser hair than the cottontail. It has a small inconspicuous tail that is dingy white on the underside. Marsh rabbits will often walk rather than hop as most rabbits do. 

Habitat:

The cottontail rabbit prefers heavy brush, strips of forest, weed and briar patches, abandoned fields, and fringe areas of cultivated fields.

Behavior:

Found throughout Florida, cottontails are most active in the early morning and at night. Rabbits are herbivores and during the warmer months their main food is green plant parts. When green vegetation is not available, rabbits will eat young woody shoots and bark.

The breeding season is nearly year-round, but mainly February through September. The young are born from March through September after a gestation period of 26 to 30 days.  Females may have three to four litters with four to seven young in a single year.

Additional Information:

Two species of rabbits occur in Florida, the Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) and the marsh rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris).


Image Credit: Craig Faulhaber



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