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Cottontail Rabbits, Did You Know?
June 10, 2019
The streak is over.
For the first time in eight months, my part of Michigan finally reached 80 degrees (F.).
Twice this past weekend.
Yes, it has been a cool, cloudy and wet spring.
So much so that many of my plantings have died or are suffering.
We will probably beg for rain in a couple of weeks.
Cottonwood trees are in full release mode.
The air and ground looks like it is snowing.
Brandy received her first official poodle cut.
At the bottom of this letter are her before and after pictures.
Other than that, we are in good health, as far as it can be good.
Always busy, and really right now, as there are so many things going on.
That includes graduation open-houses, and weddings to attend.
You get my drift, don't you?
Everyone adores a bunny, until they start munching on your prized gardens.
Still, they are part of wildlife and gardening.
Pictured are some shots I took several years ago, and probably shared them in a past newsletter.
I show babies from just a couple days old on up to a day before they left the nest.
I also share a picture of a nursing bunny in my driveway a few years back.
(Rabbit nest in the yard.)
Cottontails aren't the sharpest tool in the shed.
They will make a nest just about anywhere.
Including the middle of your yard.
In one case, right where I tie my dog(s).
I had no clue until Pookie was holding a baby in his mouth.
Mamma moved the rest of the litter later that evening.
Often the nest may go unnoticed.
Cottontails dig a small hole, line it with dead grasses and then their own belly fur.
They cover it with dead grass, later they give birth to bald, blind and deaf babies.
Mother rabbit comes by in the evening and night to feed her fat and protein rich milk to her young.
Rabbit kits grow quickly, read on and you will understand why.
(Nursing Rabbit in my Driveway six years ago.)
Cottontail rabbits are wild rabbits found all over North and South America.
In the United States, cottontail rabbits reside all over the country, both in colder and warmer climates.
Although sometimes considered a pest by farmers, they are quite adaptable and will move on to live in a more suitable area if no food is available where they are.
Cottontail rabbits are called that because the underside of their tails, which curls up against the lower back, is white just like a small piece of cotton.
This is true regardless of the color of the rabbit, which can vary from gray to reddish brown, according to National Geographic.
Cottontail rabbits are tiny little things, ranging in size from 15.5 to 18.75 inches, and weighing as little as 28 ounces, although bucks can weigh as much as 54 ounces (does are smaller).
Cottontail rabbits are almost completely mute animals.(Another rabbit nest.)
They communicate with each other by thumping with their back feet against the ground.
However, they have been known for screaming and screeching quite loudly when scared or if caught by a predator.
Another interesting fact is that cottontail rabbits tend to have a quite small home range.
According to the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, most rabbits live in an area that's about 9 acres in size.
(Three day old kit.)
Some Cottontail facts:
Cottontail rabbits are prey for a variety of predators — coyotes, owls, hawks, foxes, skunks, raccoons, snakes, weasels, opossums, cats and dogs.
They usually freeze at the first sight of danger and run as a last resort, but when they do run, they can run fast.
Cottontail rabbits can run up to 18 miles per hour for a half mile, and they run in a zig-zag pattern to confuse predators.
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.
When people mimic rabbits, they usually twitch their noses.
Rabbits twitch their noses when they smell.
They have 100 million scent receptors in their noses, and twitching helps expose all of them.
(Five day old bunny, notice how fast they are growing.)
Male rabbits are sexually mature at only one month old, and females as early as four months.
A female can produce a litter of up to eight kits, or kittens, every 30 days, although the average is four-five kits per litter.
Kits will leave the nest at 12-14 days and are independent at our weeks of age (mother is usually ready to birth another litter).
The mother rabbit is fertile again within 24 hours of giving birth, and she can lay as many as five litters in one breeding season.
In many regions, the first litter or two is able to reproduce that season.
(Eight day old bunny.)
Many people aren’t a fan of eating greens, often the complaint is that they are boring.
However, rabbits have 17,000 taste buds on average (humans have 2,000-8,000 ), so they can sense a larger array of flavors.
Eastern cottontails feed on buds, clover, grasses, dandelion heads, flower blossoms, legumes, lettuce and even fruit — or whatever is yummy in your garden!
There are several perennials and annuals rabbits wont touch.
Salvias and sage, iris, Monarda, Agastache, and many more.
Rabbits are crepuscular, meaning they are active at dawn and dusk, because they are most likely to avoid predators during these times.(12 day old babies, I didn't want to handle them at this age, as they are prone to leave the nest early. Yes, that is experience speaking.)
The reason rabbits have so many offspring is because most are lucky to live one year.
Rabbits have a potential to live eight-10 years, but at least 50 percent don’t survive to leave the nest.
Some statistics say as few as 15 percent survive one year.
Rapid reproduction because they are prey to so many different predators.
Well, it is time fly for now.
before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.
"It is good to dream, but it is better to dream and work.
Faith is mighty,
Thomas Robert Gaines
I've read something similar.
Oh yeah, the Word of God.
"What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?
So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."
James 2: 14-17
"Treat the earth well:
It was not given to you by your parents,
It was loaned to you by your children.
We do not inherit the Earth from our
Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."
Ancient Indian Proverb.
Your friend indeed,
Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.
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