Eastern Cottontail

Eastern Cottontail

Eastern Cottontail

Eastern Cottontail Range Map (N & S America)
Eastern Cottontail Range Map (N & S America)
Latin Name Sylvilagus floridanus
Conservation Status Least Concern
Location North & South America
Colour Red/Brown or Grey/Brown
Length 38 - 49 cms (15 - 19.5 inches)
Tail 2.5 - 7 cms (1 - 2.75 inches)
Weight 1 - 1.5 Kgs (2.25 - 3.25 lbs)
Life Expectancy 3 - 5 Yrs

Main Characteristics

The Eastern Cottontail is one of the most common rabbits in North America. They have a body length between 38 and 49 cms (15 - 19.5 inches), a tail length between 2.5 and 7 cms (1 - 2.75 inches) and they weigh between 1 and 1.5 kgs (2.25 - 3.25 lbs).

They are red/brown or grey/brown in colour with a white coloured underside. On the nape of their neck they have a brown patch and young rabbits have a white blaze on their forehead. Their eyes and ears are both large and they have excellent senses of sight, smell and hearing.

Eastern Cottontails can run at speeds of 29 km/hr (18 mph) and to escape their predators they will either freeze, dash away in a zig-zag pattern to an area of cover or slink along close to the ground.


Eastern Cottontails can be found in the meadows, agricultural areas, orchards and woodlands of North and South America. They are solitary and they occupy a home range of 5 - 8 acres. They are active during the night and spend their days hidden under a log or in a thicket.


Eastern Cottontails mainly feed on grasses, clover and fruits during the summer and bark, twigs and buds during the winter months.


Eastern Cottontails breed from February to September and they can have up to 7 litters per year, although 3 - 4 is more common. After a gestation period of 25 - 28 days, they will give birth to an average of 5 young, but they can have up to 12 young per litter.

At birth the young rabbits weigh between 25 and 30 g (0.9 - 1.1 oz) and they are blind and hairless. They rapidly grow and when they are 4 - 5 days old they can open their eyes. They can leave the nest at 14 days old and they are weaned at 16 - 22 days old.

Eastern Cottontails reach sexual maturity at 2 - 3 months old.


Predators of Eastern Cottontails include humans, coyotes, red foxes, weasels, owls and birds of prey.


Subspecies of the Eastern Cottontail include:

Sylvilagus floridanus alacer
Sylvilagus floridanus holzneri
Sylvilagus floridanus chapmani
Sylvilagus floridanus floridanus
Sylvilagus floridanus mallurus
Sylvilagus floridanus aztecus
Sylvilagus floridanus connectens
Sylvilagus floridanus hondurensis
Sylvilagus floridanus macrocorpus
Sylvilagus floridanus orizabae
Sylvilagus floridanus yucatanicus
Sylvilagus floridanus aviu
Sylvilagus floridanus cumanicus
Sylvilagus floridanus margaritae
Sylvilagus floridanus nigronuchalis
Sylvilagus floridanus orinoci
Sylvilagus floridanus purgatus
Sylvilagus floridanus superciliaris

Interesting Facts

Eastern Cottontails are one of the most common species of rabbit in North America.

Similar Animals

New England Cottontail
Mexican Cottontail
Desert Cottontail
Robust Cottontail
Appalachian Cottontail
Swamp Rabbit
Brush Rabbit
Marsh Rabbit

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