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Nature Journal - We saw a baby Eastern Cottontail Rabbit

We saw a bunny for the first time since we moved in! It was dusk time, and we saw a baby rabbit just right outside of our basement where a little grass and cover crops that we seeded finally emerged after the rains. I spotted some dry grass tucked in our front yard later on after I did all the research on the rabbit, and now I wonder if that is the home of this bunny and its family.

watercolor painting of eastern cottontail rabbit
Watercolor by Gloria M 7-09-21

Did you know:

  • Cottontails are vocal animals and can also purr by grinding their teeth to express their contentment.

  • The reason why rabbits twitch their nose is that the twiching exposes more of those 100 million receptors to the air and the smells the air contains. Humans have only five or six million receptiors. They may also twitch their noses to collect information and to regulate body temperature.

  • Eastern cottontails have eyes that protrude a bit from their heads, giving them almost 360-degree vision. However, they have a blind spot directly in front of them that is about 10 degrees wide.

  • There are two types of droppings of rabbits. New born rabbits (called kits) eat their mother's "cecotropes" expelled from her anus to get vatimins, proteins, fibers, benefitial microbes, and other nutrients. These cecotropes are not feces. They are highly nutritious gell-like pellets produced in a rabbit's cecum, a pouch located between the large and small intestines. The brown and round pellets that we see are true feces from rabbits.

  • A pair of eastern cottontails can produce 350.000 descendants in 5 years, but only 15% of babies can survive until the age of one year. Rabbits are a food source for a wide range of predators, among which foxes, hawks and owls are the most significant "natural" predators. The predation is also essential to keep the populations of cottontails under control and maintain the balance of the ecosystem.

  • Eastern cottontails are solitary animals that occupy a territory of 5 to 8 acres.

Wildlife garden tips:

1. Eastern cottontail rabbits feed on many plants, including clover, sprouts, grasses, sedges, vines and shrubs. It gets its water from the plants it eats.

2. Do not use pesticides.

3. Leave your lawn a little bit higher and welcome a variety of "weeds" to create a more natural habitat.

4. Provide a shallow water source.

5. Set up a brush pile to provide shelter.

Helpful Links:

Eastern Cottontail behaviors and senses:

How to attract wild rabbits to your yard:

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