Sylvilagus nuttallii - (Bachman, 1837)
Mountain Cottontail
Other English Common Names: Nuttall's Cottontail, mountain cottontail
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Sylvilagus nuttallii (Bachman, 1837) (TSN 180126)
French Common Names: lapin de Nuttall
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.103067
Element Code: AMAEB01060
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). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Sylvilagus nuttallii
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 (09Jan2017)

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 Arizona (S3), California (SNR), Colorado (S5), Idaho (S4), Montana (S4), Navajo Nation (S4S5), Nevada (S5), New Mexico (S4), North Dakota (SX), Oregon (S4), South Dakota (S4), Utah (S5), Washington (S5), Wyoming (S5)
Canada Alberta (S5), British Columbia (S3), Saskatchewan (S4S5)

Other Statuses

Implied Status under the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC):PS:SC
Comments on COSEWIC: Subspecies nuttallii is designated Special Concern.
IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Western North America, from eastern slopes of Cascade-Sierra Nevada Range east to western North Dakota and Black Hills, and from southern Canada south to Arizona and New Mexico. Recently appears to have been replaced by S. FLORIDANUS in much, if not all, of southwstern North Dakota (Chapman 1975)

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Limited in Canada primarily by loss of habitat to human settlement, agriculture, and cattle grazing (Carter and Merkens, 1994 COSEWIC report).

Short-term Trend Comments: Secure and stable in Alberta and Saskatchewan; apparently stable or increasing in British Columbia (Carter and Merkens, 1994 COSEWIC report).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Western North America, from eastern slopes of Cascade-Sierra Nevada Range east to western North Dakota and Black Hills, and from southern Canada south to Arizona and New Mexico. Recently appears to have been replaced by S. FLORIDANUS in much, if not all, of southwstern North Dakota (Chapman 1975)

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 AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NDextirpated, NM, NN, NV, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY
Canada AB, BC, SK

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: Sechrest, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
ND Billings (38007)*, Grant (38037)*, Slope (38087)*
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
10 Middle Little Missouri (10110203)+*, Upper Cannonball (10130204)+*
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Breeds late winter spring and summer. Gestation period lasts 28-30 days (Chapman 1975). Females may produce 4-5 litters of 4-5 young per year (Jones et al. 1983).
Ecology Comments: Predators include bobcats, coyotes, great horned and long-eared owls. Gopher snake and western rattlesnake are important predators on juveniles in some areas (Diller and Johnson 1988). Population density ranged from 19 to 254 per 100 ha in Oregon (Verts et al. 1984); density in sagebrush 23-43 per 100 ha in southern British Columbia.
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Desert, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer
Habitat Comments: Brushy, rocky areas; found in dense sagebrush, streamside thickets and brushy forest edges. Uses burrows and forms. May sometimes climb into junipers (Verts et al. 1984).
Adult Food Habits: Herbivore
Immature Food Habits: Herbivore
Food Comments: Grasses and other herbaceous and woody vegetation, including sagebrush and juniper. Usually feeds in or near cover.
Adult Phenology: Crepuscular
Immature Phenology: Crepuscular
Phenology Comments: May be active at any time of the day or night, but like other cottontails, is primarily crepuscular. Active throughout the year.
Length: 39 centimeters
Weight: 1032 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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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: 19Sep1994
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).

References
Help
  • Althoff, D. P., and G. L. Storm. 1989. Daytime spatial characteristics of cottontial rabbits in central Pennsylvania. Journal of Mammalogy 70:820-824.

  • Armstrong, D.M. 1972. Distribution of Mammals in Colorado. Monograph of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas. University of Kansas Printing Service, Lawrence. 415 pp.

  • B.C. Ministry of Environment. 2013g. Management plan for the Nuttalls Cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttallii) in British Columbia. B.C. Ministry of Environment, Victoria, BC. 16 pp.

  • Banfield, A. W. F. 1974. The mammals of Canada. University of Toronto Press, Toronto, Canada. 438 pp.

  • Beck, W.H. 1958. A guide to Saskatchewan mammals. Special Publication No. 1. Saskatchewan Natural History Society, Regina, Saskatchewan.

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  • COSEWIC. 2006u. COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Nuttall's Cottontail nuttallii subspecies Sylvilagus nuttallii nuttallii in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. vi +23pp.

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  • Carter, D. and M. Merkens. 1994. Updated status report on the Nuttall's Cottontail SYLVILAGUS NUTTALLII NUTTALLI and SYLVILAGUS NUTTALLII PINETIS in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). 35 pp.

  • Carter, D., A. Harestad, and F.L. Bunnell. 1993. Status of Nuttall's Cottontail in British Columbia. B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Wildl. Branch. Working Rep. WR-56. 33pp.

  • Carter, D., A. Harestad, and F.L. Bunnell. 1993. Status of Nuttall's cottontail in British Columbia. British Columbia. Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks. Wildlife Branch Wildlife Working Report WR-56, 26p.

  • Carter, D., and M. Merkens. 1994. Status report on the Nuttall's Cottontail, Sylvilagus nuttallii nuttallii and Sylvilagus nuttallii grangeri in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildl. in Can., Ottawa. 35pp.

  • Chapman, J. A. 1971. Orientation and homing of the brush rabbit (SYLVILAGUS BACHMANI). Journal of Mammalogy 52:686-699.

  • Chapman, J. A. 1975. SYLVILAGUS NUTTALLII. Mammalian Species, 56:1-3.

  • Chapman, J.A., J.G. Hockman, and W.R. Edwards. 1982. Cottontails. Pages 83-123 in J.A. Chapman and G.A. Feldhamer, eds. Wild Mammals of North America. John Hopkins Univ. Press. Baltimore, MD. 1147pp.

  • Clark, Tim W. and Mark R. Stromberg. 1987. Mammals in Wyoming. University Press of Kansas. Lawrence, Kansas.

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  • Connell, J. H. 1954. Home range and mobility of brush rabbits in California chaparral. Journal of Mammalogy 35:392-405.

  • Coombs, E. M. [no date-1977?]. Wildlife observations of the hot desert region, Washington County, Utah, with emphasis on reptilian species and their habitat in relation to livestock grazing. A report to the Cedar City District, BLM by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

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  • Environment Canada. 2014p. Management Plan for the Nuttall?s Cottontail nuttallii subspecies (Sylvilagus nuttallii nuttallii) in Canada. Species at Risk Act Management Plan Series. Environment Canada, Ottawa. III p. + Annex

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  • Nagorsen, D. 1998. Mammals. in B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Resour. Inventory Branch. 1998. The Vertebrates of British Columbia: Scientific and English Names. Standards for Components of British Columbia's Biodiversity, No. 2. Version. 2.0. Resour. Inventory Comm. Victoria, BC. 119pp.

  • Nagorsen, D. W. 2005b. The rodents and lagomorphs of British Columbia. Royal B.C. Mus. Handb., Victoria, BC. (In press). 410pp.

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  • Nagorsen, D.W. 2005. Update COSEWIC status report on Nuttall's Cottontail, Nuttall's subspecies S. n. nuttallii. Provisional Draft, prepared for the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildl. in Can.

  • Nowak, R. M. 1991. Walker's mammals of the world. Fifth edition. Vols. I and II. Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, Baltimore. 1629 pp.

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  • Powers, R.A., and B.J. Verts. 1971. Reproduction in the mountain cottontail rabbit in Oregon. J. Wildl. Manage. 35:605-613.

  • Shields, P. W. 1960. Movement patterns of brush rabbits in northwestern California. Journal of Wildlife Management 24:381-386.

  • Stevens, V., and S. Lofts. 1988. Species Notes for Mammals. Vol. 1 in A.P. Harcombe, tech. ed. Wildlife Habitat Handbooks for the Southern Interior Ecoprovince. B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Wildl. Branch. Tech. Rep. R-15. 174pp.

  • Sullivan, T.P. 1983. Population ecology and conservation of the Mountain Cottontail and White-tailed Jackrabbit in southern British Columbia. Research Plan. Unpubl. rep., B.C. Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Penticton. 10pp.

  • Sullivan, T.P. 1985. Population ecology and conservation of the mountain cottontail and white-tailed jackrabbit in southern British Columbia. Progress Report 1984-1985. Unpublished report, BC Ministry of Environment, Lands and Parks, Penticton, BC. 20pp.

  • Sullivan, T.P., B. Jones, and D.S. Sullivan. 1989. Population ecology and conservation of the Mountain Cottontail, Sylvilagus nuttallii nuttallii in southern British Columbia. Can. Field-Nat. 103:335-340.

  • Trent, T.T. and O.S. Rongstad. 1974. Home range and survival of cottontail rabbits in southwestern Wisconsin. Journal of Wildlife Management 38:459-472.

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  • Warman, L., S. Roberston, A. Haney, and M. Sarell. 1998. Habitat capability and suitability models for 34 wildlife species using terrestrial ecosystem mapping (1:20,000) in the south Okanagan and lower Similkameen study area and forest inventory mapping (1:200,000) in the Penticton Forest District. Wildl. Branch, Minist. Environ., Lands and Parks, Penticton, BC. 32 pp.+app.

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