Sylvilagus floridanus - (J.A. Allen, 1890)
Eastern Cottontail
Other English Common Names: eastern cottontail
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Sylvilagus floridanus (J. A. Allen, 1890) (TSN 180124)
French Common Names: lapin à queue blanche
Spanish Common Names: Conejo de Campo
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.791124
Element Code: AMAEB01040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Other Mammals
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Lagomorpha Leporidae Sylvilagus
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. Two volumes. 2,142 pp. Available online at: https://www.departments.bucknell.edu/biology/resources/msw3/
Concept Reference Code: B05WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Sylvilagus floridanus
Taxonomic Comments: Based on a study of cranial, mandibular, and dental variation, Ruedas (1998) proposed that S. floridanus robustus of Trans-Pecos Texas be recognized as a distinct species, and he suggested that some other subspecies of S. floridanus (S. f. holzneri, S. f. cognatus) also may warrant recognition as separate species. Sylvilagus robustus has been treated as a species in the past but in recent decades generally has been included as a subspecies of S. floridanus. In this database, we follow the North American mammal checklist by Baker et al. (2003) in accepting S. robustus as a valid species. Additionally, following Hoffmann and Smith (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) we recognize S. cognatus of the Manzano Mountains, New Mexico, as a distinct species.

MtDNA data indicate that hybridization is not occurring between S. floridanus and S. transitionalis/obscurus (Litvaitis 1997).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 05Apr2016
Global Status Last Changed: 05Nov1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Sep1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (01Jan2018)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alabama (S5), Arizona (S5), Arkansas (S5), Colorado (S5), Connecticut (S5), Delaware (S5), District of Columbia (S5), Florida (SNR), Georgia (S5), Idaho (SNA), Illinois (S5), Indiana (S4), Iowa (S5), Kansas (S5), Kentucky (S5), Louisiana (S5), Maryland (S5), Massachusetts (SNA), Michigan (S5), Minnesota (SNR), Mississippi (S5), Missouri (S5), Montana (S4), Nebraska (S5), New Hampshire (S5), New Jersey (S5), New Mexico (S3), New York (S5), North Carolina (S5), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (SNR), Oklahoma (S5), Oregon (SNA), Pennsylvania (S5), Rhode Island (S5), South Carolina (SNR), South Dakota (S5), Tennessee (S5), Texas (S5), Vermont (SNA), Virginia (S5), Washington (SNA), West Virginia (S5), Wisconsin (S5), Wyoming (S3)
Canada British Columbia (SNA), Manitoba (S5), Ontario (S5), Quebec (S5), Saskatchewan (S4)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Widest distribution of any SYLVILAGUS species; ranges from southern Canada into central and northwestern South America. In North America, occurs east of the Rocky Mountains.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Widest distribution of any SYLVILAGUS species; ranges from southern Canada into central and northwestern South America. In North America, occurs east of the Rocky Mountains.

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AL, AR, AZ, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, IA, IDexotic, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MAexotic, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NY, OH, OK, ORexotic, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VTexotic, WAexotic, WI, WV, WY
Canada BCexotic, MB, ON, QC, SK

Range Map
No map available.


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
WY Albany (56001), Big Horn (56003), Campbell (56005), Carbon (56007), Converse (56009), Crook (56011), Fremont (56013), Goshen (56015), Hot Springs (56017), Johnson (56019), Laramie (56021), Natrona (56025), Niobrara (56027), Park (56029), Platte (56031), Sheridan (56033), Sweetwater (56037), Weston (56045)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Popo Agie (10080003)+, Lower Wind (10080005)+, Badwater (10080006)+, Upper Bighorn (10080007)+, Nowood (10080008)+, Greybull (10080009)+, Big Horn Lake (10080010)+, Dry (10080011)+, Shoshone (10080014)+, Upper Tongue (10090101)+, Middle Fork Powder (10090201)+, Upper Powder (10090202)+, South Fork Powder (10090203)+, Salt (10090204)+, Crazy Woman (10090205)+, Clear (10090206)+, Middle Powder (10090207)+, Antelope (10120101)+, Dry Fork Cheyenne (10120102)+, Upper Cheyenne (10120103)+, Lance (10120104)+, Lightning (10120105)+, Beaver (10120107)+, Hat (10120108)+, Upper Belle Fourche (10120201)+, Lower Belle Fourche (10120202)+, Redwater (10120203)+, Niobrara Headwaters (10150002)+, Upper North Platte (10180002)+, Pathfinder-Seminoe Reservoirs (10180003)+, Medicine Bow (10180004)+, Little Medicine Bow (10180005)+, Sweetwater (10180006)+, Middle North Platte-Casper (10180007)+, Glendo Reservoir (10180008)+, Middle North Platte-Scotts Bluff (10180009)+, Upper Laramie (10180010)+, Lower Laramie (10180011)+, Horse (10180012)+, Cache La Poudre (10190007)+, Lone Tree-Owl (10190008)+, Crow (10190009)+, Upper Lodgepole (10190015)+*
14 Bitter (14040105)+, Great Divide closed basin (14040200)+, Little Snake (14050003)+, Muddy (14050004)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Very prolific. Several litters of 3-6 produced throughout much of the year. In northern regions, young usually are not born until March. Gestation lasts about a month. Sexually mature in 2-3 months.
Ecology Comments: In Wisconsin, home range varied from less than 0.4 ha to a little more than 1 ha; home range size was maximal during first winter; fall densities were 10/ha (Trent and Rungstad 1974). In Pennsylvania, annual female home range averaged about 2 ha; male range was similar except in spring and summer when it increased to average of 7-8 ha; little or no overlap of home ranges of females (Althoff and Storm 1989). Post-reproductive density was up to 27-28 per ha in Texas.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Cropland/hedgerow, Grassland/herbaceous, Old field, Shrubland/chaparral, Suburban/orchard, Woodland - Hardwood, Woodland - Mixed
Special Habitat Factors: Burrowing in or using soil, Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Early mid-successional habitats over much of continental U.S. May be found in brushy areas, open woodlands, swampy areas, stream valleys, grasslands, and suburbs. Very adaptable species. Usually absent from boreal habitats and dense woods. Nests usually are in shallow depressions in thick vegetation or in underground burrows. Does not dig burrows.
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: In summer, depends on grasses and herbs. In winter, eats seedlings, bark, twigs, and buds.
Adult Phenology: Circadian, Crepuscular
Immature Phenology: Circadian, Crepuscular
Phenology Comments: Mostly crepuscular. Two pronounced feeding periods: 3-4 hours after sunrise and from sunset to l hour after (Dalke 1941)
Length: 46 centimeters
Weight: 1800 grams
Economic Attributes
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Economic Comments: Important game animal hunted for sport and meat.
Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Cottontail Rabbits

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Separation Barriers: Major rivers and medium to large lakes. Rabbits can and do swim, and can cross frozen water bodies, so caution must be used in determining whether a water body is a true barrier; flow patterns, etc. must be taken into account.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Unsuitable habitat: urban/suburban areas, water bodies that are not complete barriers, etc.

Dispersal potential, though poorly documented in most species, is considerable. For example, a female eastern cottontail (S. floridanus) escaped from an enclosure and returned to its original capture site 3.74 km away (Hill 1967). Preliminary data for the pygmy rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis) indicate that juveniles regularly disperse a few to several kilometers (up to at least 11.8 km); average natal dispersal distances for males and females were 1.7 km and 4.7 km, respectively (Wendy Estes-Zumpf, University of Idaho, unpublished data).

Inferred Minimum Extent of Habitat Use (when actual extent is unknown): .2 km
Inferred Minimum Extent Justification: Based on an average home range size of about 3.5 hectares (Fitch 1947, Trent and Rongstad 1974, Althoff and Storm 1989).
Date: 19Oct2004
Author: Cannings, S., and G. Hammerson
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 27Feb1995
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE."

Citation for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
Patterson, B.D., G. Ceballos, W. Sechrest, M.F. Tognelli, T. Brooks, L. Luna, P. Ortega, I. Salazar, and B.E. Young. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Mammals of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Mammal Range Maps of North America:
"Data provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Bruce Patterson, Wes Sechrest, Marcelo Tognelli, Gerardo Ceballos, The Nature Conservancy-Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International-CABS, World Wildlife Fund-US, and Environment Canada-WILDSPACE."

Citation for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe. 2004. Global Amphibian Assessment. IUCN, Conservation International, and NatureServe, Washington, DC and Arlington, Virginia, USA.

Acknowledgement Statement for Amphibian Range Maps of the Western Hemisphere:
"Data developed as part of the Global Amphibian Assessment and provided by IUCN-World Conservation Union, Conservation International and NatureServe."

NOTE: Full metadata for the Bird Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/birdDistributionmapsmetadatav1.pdf.

Full metadata for the Mammal Range Maps of North America is available at:
http://www.natureserve.org/library/mammalsDistributionmetadatav1.pdf.

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