Eastern cottontail Facts

Eastern cottontail Facts
Eastern cottontail is small mammal that belongs to the family of rabbits. There are around 35 subspecies of eastern cottontails that can be found in the eastern parts of North, Central and South America. Eastern cottontail prefers open spaces. It usually inhabits fields, meadows, swamps, deserts, prairies and farms (where it can produce significant damage). Eastern cottontails are popular game animals. Recreational hunters kill millions of eastern cottontails each year. Despite that, population of eastern cottontails is large and stable.
Interesting Eastern cottontail Facts:
Eastern cottontail can reach 15.5 to 18.75 inches in length and 28 to 54 ounces of weight. Females are slightly larger than males.
Eastern cottontail has brown, reddish-brown or grey backs and white belly. Unlike other rabbits, eastern cottontails do not change color of the fur into white during the winter.
Eastern cottontail has large eyes, long ears, short front legs, long hind legs and large feet whose soles are covered with fur. Body ends with small, fluffy tail, which resembles a cotton ball, hence the name - cottontail.
Eastern cottontail can be active at dusk and dawn (crepuscular) or during the night (nocturnal).
Eastern cottontail is a herbivore (plant-eater). It eats grass and herbs in the wild, and lettuce and pea in the gardens. Bark, twigs and buds are the only source of food during the winter.
Eastern cottontail produces two types of feces. First type is soft and green due to high content of undigested plants. Eastern cottontail swallows it again to digest it more thoroughly and to extract remaining nutrients.
Eastern cottontail hides in dense thicket during the day. It uses keen eyesight and excellent sense of smell and hearing to identify potential predators.
Main predators of eastern cottontails are snakes, owls, hawks, cats, foxes, weasels and coyotes.
Eastern cottontail can reach the speed of 18 miles per hour and move in a zigzag manner to escape from the predators.
Eastern cottontail is solitary animal that occupies territory of 5 to 8 acres.
Mating season of eastern cottontails lasts from January to September. They mate three to four times per year.
Pregnancy in female lasts 25 to 35 days and ends with 3 to 8 babies (usually 7). They spend first days of their life in the shallow nest in the ground.
Mother visits the nest each day to nurse the babies. Young eastern cottontails develop quickly. They begin independent life at the age or 4 to 5 weeks and start to breed at the age of 2 to 3 months.
Pair of eastern cottontails can produce 350.000 descendents in 5 years, but only 15% of babies will manage to survive until the age of one year. High mortality is a limiting factor for the growth of population
Eastern cottontail can survive up to 3 years in the wild.

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