In some parts of Oregon, the Brush Rabbit and the introduced Eastern Cottontail have interbred. It’s so un… Eastern cottontails, Nuttall’s cottontail, snowshoe hares, jackrabbits, as well as white-tailed and black-tailed rabbits are all illegal to keep as pets. There is a rusty patch on the tail. After which it is consumed and digested a second time. The young are eaten by mink, skunks, long-tailed weasels, gopher snakes, and domestic cats; young in nests are vulnerable to weed-wackers, lawn mowers, hay mowers, and other agricultural equipment. The resulting hybrid is small like the Brush Rabbit and has a white cottontail of the Eastern. The Snoqualmie Valley is home to four: The Snowshoe Hare, Pika, Eastern Cottontail and, to a lesser extent, the Domestic Rabbit. 4). (Available from: University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, 202 Natural Resources Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583-0819; phone: 402-472-2188; also see Internet Sites below.). Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, 1994. They can be found in the United States from the East Coast to the Great Plains. Vehicles also kill many rabbits (Fig. Kentucky has three species of rabbits, but only the eastern cottontail is found statewide. I know of a few spots around here in southeast Washington to score a cottontail once in a while. Washington State is home to eight species of these animals. The most well-known include: Nuttall’s cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus nuttallii) Domestic European rabbits (Oryctolagus) Black-tail jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) Whitetail jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii) Snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) Eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) The breeding season for rabbits begins in mid February and can continue through late summer. A property owner or the owner's immediate family, employee, or tenant may kill or trap the above species on that property if they are damaging crops or domestic animals (RCW 77.36.030). Its appearance differs from that of a hare in that it has a brownish-gray coloring around the head and neck. The Nuttall's cottontail (rabbit) (Sylvilagus nuttallii,  averages 14 inches in length, is gray or brownish-gray, and has a relatively short, inconspicuous white tail. It is common to provide perches for owls and hawks in some commercial areas to control rabbits, hares, and small rodents. Plants may also be protected with commercially available or homemade taste repellents that render the treated plant inedible. Deer damage can be identified easily: It occurs above 2 feet and, because deer have no upper front teeth and must twist and pull when browsing, they leave a ragged break. Placed over the seedlings, they provide protection from animals as well as late frosts. Rabbits' survival depends on their sitting still for long periods, a trait they've likely developed to avoid being seen by predators who watch for movement. Its range reduced by about 86 percent to five smaller populations across New England and eastern New York. 1) was introduced to several areas in Washington as a game animal beginning in the 1930s. The claws occasionally register, and on hard ground this may be the only sign of a passing rabbit or hare. The Eastern cottontail (rabbit) (Sylvilagus floridanus)(Fig. Snoqualmie, WA 98065. The America Pika is a rodentlike animal about the size of a large hamster. Tularemia can be acquired through ingesting undercooked rabbit meat or handling a dead or sick animal. eastern cottontail rabbits and released six pair on Dry Creek, about four miles north of Colfax, Washington, and re- leased 6 pair in the vicinity of Pullman. Once RHDV2 gets into our wild rabbit populations it will be very difficult to manage or eliminate. The state … Cottontail rabbits are year-round residents in Pennsylvania. The first time, in the early 20th century to a rabbit reserve, most died off during a harsh winter. Rabbits and hares are more likely to go under a fence than over it. It averages 17 inches in length and is light brown in color; the white underside of its 2-inch tail is readily visible when the rabbit runs. For COVID-19-related closures, restrictions, and updates see the WDFW COVID-19/Coronavirus response page. It is commonly seen along roads, brushy fencerows, and blackberry thickets in and around areas where it has been introduced. Eastern cottontail rabbit sitting up being alert in the grass in springtime during the day Full grown eastern cottontail rabbit sitting up and alert in green grass in the backyard on a sunny day in spring The cottontail bunny is a midsize rabbit and a herbivore, and female cottontails average three to four litters per year. For bait, use fresh vegetables in summer; apples, carrots, or bread in winter. The eastern cottontail is chunky, red-brown or gray-brown in appearance, with large hind feet, long ears, and a short, fluffy white tail. Single- or double-door type wire live traps that are 9 inches high, 9 inches wide, and 26 inches long are effective at catching rabbits. In some cases, protecting individual plants may be more practical than excluding from an entire area. The population is at tolerable level these days but with rabbits who knows how long that will last. Washington State is home to eight of these species—six native species: Nuttall’s Cottontail, Pygmy Rabbit, Pika, Snowshoe Hare, Black-tailed Jackrabbit and White-tailed Jackrabbit and two non-native or introduced species: Eastern Cottontail and Domestic Rabbit. Trapping also may not be legal in some cities; check with local authorities. The body is lighter color with a white underside on the tail. To prevent this, place the bottom of the fence 6 inches underground, stake the bottom of the fence flush to the ground, or line the bottom of the fence with rock, bricks, fence posts, or similar items. The second time in the 1930’s when a breeding operation failed. For detailed additional information on trapping rabbits, see Trapping Wildlife. This time of year the pesky Lagomorph tortures my dog, tears up my garden, reproduces freely and poops indiscriminately….which the dog promptly eats as if it’s a delicacy from a five star restaurant. 2). The Eastern cottontail (rabbit) (Sylvilagus floridanus)(Fig. The animals typically become disoriented, which results in them getting hit by a car or eaten by a predator. 1234 Snoqualmie Parkway In areas covered with snow, young plants may be clipped off at snow height, and the smooth, thin bark of trees and shrubs may be completely girdled. Inspect the fence regularly to make sure animals have not dug or pushed their way under it, or worked their way over it. A wide variety of classified ads Buy, rent, sell and find anything - cottontail rabbits listings. The species has 91 members, with Washington State being home to eight. In other words, most all of Western Washington. Eastern cottontail rabbits reside throughout the eastern United States and parts of Canada and Mexico. Lastly, we have the Domestic rabbit aka the European rabbit or Belgian hare. The back of the neck is bright rust-colored. These rabbits are a mottled brown, often with a white stripe on their forehead, whitish feet and a short tail that is white on the underside. Most of the lagomorphs in Washington State are found in the Cascades and East, but two can be seen on the Western slopes of the Cascades. The Domestic (European) rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) is another introduced species. Many tactics were used to control the swelling population but no one can point to the one thing that caused a big die off around 1979. This rabbit is seen throughout the state, especially in semi-open areas that have thick, low cover such as brush piles and hedges. cottontail rabbits in Washington at AmericanListed.com – Classifieds across Washington. A hunting license and open season are required to hunt them. A dog can help keep rabbits away, especially if it is outside and awake at night. It is any member of the mammalian order made up of rabbits, hares and pikas. Attach the protective wire to the fence at enough points to prevent sagging, and follow the above recommendations to prevent rabbits and hares from pushing through from underneath. The large feet of the snowshoe hare make a good sound thump, and often when a family group is together, one will be lookout and thump a warning when something suspicious approaches. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. They prefer forests, thickets, swamps and mountainous areas as habitats. Brush Rabbits are found along the Pacific coast from Washington … There are no rabbit’s native to Western Washington. Where soil conditions and food supplies permit, domestic rabbits live in groups in large, complex burrow systems called “warrens” (Fig. Like the hare, they are solitary, except to breed. The young are weaned w… In such cases, no permit is necessary for the use of live (cage) traps. Another form of control is to remove brush piles, weed patches, rock piles, and other debris where rabbits live and hide. Inspect these barriers regularly to keep the area inside the barriers clean of leaves, weeds, and other debris, which can hide damage caused by mice and voles. It finds this refuge in the form of the sagebrush plant or in the burrows that it makes in deep, soft soil. Eastern cottontail (rabbit) (Sylvilagus floridanus) The Eastern cottontail was introduced to several areas in Washington as a game animal beginning in the 1930s. Rabbits and hares roll in dust baths to help rid themselves of external parasites. Place the trap near cover where rabbits feed or rest, or where they gain entry under a fence. Visual scare tactics include mylar tape and mylar party balloons located above areas of potential damage, and pinwheels and other devices located at ground level. Lagomorphs inhabit every country in the world except for Antarctica and more than half of the worlds rabbit population live in North America. Use tight-fitting gates and keep them closed as much as possible. Rabbits, hares, voles, muskrats, nutrias, and beavers are some of the species that can be infected with the bacterial disease tularemia (see "Public Health Concerns" in Beavers). Sylvilagus floridanus. The cottontail is one of the most common small mammals in Minnesota. Adult cottontails average 17 inches long and weigh from 2-4 pounds with females tending to be slightly heavier. Their young, like the Pika, are altricial and require considerable attention for their first two weeks of life. Humans can contract tularemia by ingesting undercooked rabbit meat or by handling a dead or sick rabbit.” Zoonotic diseases, gotta love them…. After a thirty-day gestational period Pika’s give birth to a litter of 2 to 5. If you cannot resolve a conflict by other means—such as removing the attractant, installing a barrier, applying a scare tactic—a final alternative is to trap the rabbit. Its underside fur is white. Female domestic rabbits (and our rare Pygmy rabbits) excavate burrows for their shelter and den site. Daily inspections will be necessary during the first three weeks after installation. Indeed, the most common way to find a rabbit's or hare's resting site is by accidentally scaring the animal from it. 2 slides. Bury the bottom of the cylinders 3 inches below the soil line and brace them away from the plants so animals cannot press against the cylinder and nibble through the mesh. The egg-shaped little animal is active all year round feeding on dried vegetation they have stored away in haypiles. Trapping is the last option because it presents many problems for both the animals and the trapper. Electric netting (a type of electric fence) is also suitable for rabbit exclusion. The Eastern Cottontail was introduced as a game animal during the 1930’s. Trapping and moving wild rabbits several miles away has appeal as a method of resolving conflicts because it is perceived as giving the "problem animal" a second chance in a new home. This could result in sections becoming inoperative, which may be difficult to detect. For safety considerations, shooting is generally limited to rural situations and is considered too hazardous in more populated areas, even if legal. Maser, Chris. Wonderful fact-filled and enjoyable article! Wildlife biologist and professor at the University of Washington, Aaron Wirsing, is an expert on the growing rabbit population. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Rabbits may live two or more years in the wild, but when predators are numerous and weather conditions are extreme, they seldom live more than a year. They have large hind feet with furry soles which prevents them from sinking in the snow and protects them from the cold. Because of its small size, it is easy prey for many predators, and requires plenty of protective areas in which to hide. A rabbit or hare captured by a predator emits a loud, high-pitched scream. There are several species of cottontail rabbit, but the eastern cottontail is the most common. The Nuttall's cottontail rabbit, Eastern cottontail rabbit, and snowshoe hare are classified as game animals. A rabbit's appetite can get it into trouble with gardeners, landscapers, orchardists, and foresters throughout the year. 1) was introduced to several areas in Washington as a game animal beginning in the 1930s. For rabbits, a 2-foot tall fence, constructed with 1-inch mesh chicken wire and supported by sturdy stakes or posts every 4 to 6 feet will exclude the animals from an enclosed area. Rabbits differ from hares in that female rabbits give birth to blind, hairless young that require considerable attention for their first two weeks of life. Animals on the move are highly stressed because they are insecure until they know the safe places they can bolt to. Tall blackberry thickets are a favorite shelter, and nicely pruned little tunnels can be seen leading into these thickets. Note: When preferred foods become scarce, there are few species that rabbits will not eat. Anyone handling a rabbit or hare should wear rubber gloves and wash his or her hands well when finished. More typically, a female will raise four litters between March and September, with an average of five young per litter. Famous for their reproductive abilities, rabbits have a 30-day gestation (pregnancy) period, and have several litters containing four to eight young each year. It appears sporadically around North America; there were isolated cases of RHDV2 in domestic rabbits in Pennsylvania and Ohio in 2018, and cases in domestic and wild rabbits in British Columbia and Washington State in 2018- 2020. Verts, B. J., and Leslie N. Carraway. Active year round, Snowshoe hares are the diet of choice for Canada Lynx and their populations are closely linked. The eastern cottontail rabbits range from gray to reddish-brown, but their “cotton ball” tail makes them distinctive, hence the name. It is found in sagebrush areas, weed and tall-grass patches, and orchards throughout eastern Washington. Western Washington lacked a native lagomorph (the rabbit, hare, and pika family) at low elevation before this. Populations of swamp rabbits and Appalachian cottontails are much smaller, and found regionally. Once rabbits and hares are used to feeding in an area, all control tactics become less effective. I did my fare share of hunting rabbits while growing up in the mid-west but haven't done much in a long, long time. These nests are difficult to detect, even in grassy lawns, so the young are prone to injury from lawnmowers and other gardening accessories. If maintenance is poor, rabbits can do considerable damage to electric netting fences by chewing through the wires. Cottontail rabbits play important roles in their ecosystems. All Lagomorphs are herbivores, they deal with their fibrous diets by a process known as hindgut fermentation where some of their food is digested immediately and some goes through a longer process to extract more nutrients. Increasing the above-ground height to 3 feet will prevent them from jumping a fence. Two of the native rabbit species in the area are the pygmy rabbit and the nuttall’s cottontail. Range. Encouraging natural predators of rabbits and hares—or at least not interfering with them—may aid in reducing plant damage. Shooting has traditionally been the primary form of controlling rabbits and is effective in eliminating small, isolated groups of animals. Rabbits commonly feed and travel along human paths, rural roads, and roadsides. LivingSnoqualmie.com Electric netting is intended for temporary use at any one site, making it ideal for seasonal gardens. These are small areas of sand or dry soil, about a foot (30 cm) in diameter, that have been cleared of vegetation, possibly through the animals' scratching or through repeated use. It was six times the size of the four-pound cottontails of today, had smaller eyes and ears, dug for its food and didn’t hop. Hares are born fully furred with their eyes open, and can hop about within hours of their birth. Fences: If you have a pet rabbit and no longer want it, take it to an animal adoption center or find a home for it by advertising or putting up signs in local pet shops and animal clinics.” There is concern that domestic rabbits could introduce diseases such as Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease to the wild population or mate with wild rabbits harming the populations. You can read more about the San Juan Island bunnies here. The pygmy rabbit (Sylvilagus idahoensis) is the smallest rabbit species in North America and unfortunately, it’s also endangered. An Eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridus) sitting under a privet hedge. If they remain in the new area, they may cause similar problems there, or transmit diseases to other animals in the area. They typically inhabit forests as well as deserts and scrublands, and should not be domesticated in-house. Washington is also home to three species of hares: the snowshoe hare and two others, called “jackrabbits.”. Ultrasonic units, which rely on sound waves to repel rabbits, have not been proven effective. It averages 17 inches in length and is light brown in color; the white underside of its 2-inch tail is readily visible when the rabbit runs. Many repellents cannot be used on plants or plant parts to be eaten by humans. It is best to use a larger trap than used on rabbits. In Eastern Washington there are the Nuttall’s Cottontail, Pygmy Rabbit, Pika, Black-tailed Jackrabbit and White-tailed Jackrabbit. It is slate-gray with a buff-colored tail and is found in the dense sagebrush and rabbitbrush areas of south-central Washington (where fewer than 50 of these rabbits exist). Eastern cottontails were introduced to Washington State (native to the eastern half of the US) for sports hunting and are now fairly common in the area — but both rabbits are non-native. A walk or drive through the neighborhood can give you an idea of what plants are less palatable to these animals. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife notes that domestic rabbits in the wild always have an upswing in population around Easter and remind citizens that: “Domestic animals should never be abandoned to fend for themselves. Usually solitary animals, their young can disperse as young as one month old. Weighing in at two to three pounds, like most all lagomorphs, they are bountiful breeders and have two to three litters of up to seven young between April and August. The domestic rabbit is considerably larger than other Washington rabbits, measuring 20 to 30 inches in length. In that time the mother stays away from the nest, only returning at dusk and dawn to nurse her young to keep predators at bay. An eastern cottontail rabbit in its element. In winter, their diet shifts to buds, twigs, bark, conifer needles, and practically any green plant. This charismatic little rabbit measures just 12 inches from nose to tail and doesn’t weigh more than a pound at full maturity. Next up is the critter we most see in the valley, the Eastern Cottontail. Transporting animals without the proper permit is also unlawful in most cases. In all cases, follow the label directions for the repellent you are using. When pursued by these predators, Cottontails run and jump in a zigzag pattern to break up their scent. Much like the sage grouse, the pygmy rabbit relies on sagebrush not only for protection but for more than 90% of its diet. Adapted to life in areas that rarely get above freezing, the pika can overheat and die when exposed to temperatures as low as 78 degrees. Eastern Cottontail Rabbit. 2). I'm wondering where else in the state has good rabbit hunting. Seen most often in the San Juan Islands, they are spreading to other areas in Western Washington where they have been released. Once a rabbit gets into a fenced area, it may not be able to get out without being directed to a gate or other opening. Land Mammals of Oregon. Tularemia. True to their reputation, cottontails have a high reproductive rate, with some females raising up to seven litters per year. Newly planted vegetables can be protected using commercially sold cloches or 1-gallon plastic milk containers that have the bottom cut out. 7). Individual plants can also be protected with a variety of commercially available protectors, including nylon mesh and plastic tubes; aluminum foil has been double-wrapped around small trees with effective results. Rabbits and hares are most active at dawn and dusk. Tough little animals, they can live up to seven years in alpine areas where mountain meadows meet rocky terrain. Although most of the lagomorph species in Washington are found in the Cascades and to the east, the most common seen in western Washington are Snowshoe Hares … During the summer months to prepare for winter, they will collect a pile of extra wildflowers and grasses and lay them out in the sun. They pass the day under brush, branches or in a burrow. Considered a high elevation species, they have been found at low elevations near sea level in the Columbia River Gorge, and in Snohomish and Skagit counties as low as 1150 feet. The story is that domestic rabbits were introduced twice to the Islands. Because their eyes shine yellow or red in a flashlight beam, they are easily seen at night. Francisella tularensis (Tularemia or Rabbit Fever) is a naturally occurring disease carried by wild rabbits and the insects which feed on them such as deerflies and ticks 1.People are at risk of catching this illness by way of skinning and/or eating contaminated rabbits or … During the day, rabbits rest under overhanging limbs, brambles, brush piles, old farm implements, and junk. These bunnies have been joined by … In 2011 a gigantic fossil was unearthed on the small island Mallorca, off the coast of Spain. WASHINGTON - At least a few of the once nearly endangered New England cottontail rabbits have found a home at Steep Rock Association's Macricostas Preserve, tests show. Females of most rabbit species create a shallow, bowl like nest called a “form,” and line it with leaves, grass, and fur plucked from their bellies. They live in colonies but are territorial of their dens and chirp and whistle to define the boundaries with their neighbor Pikas. Most Snowshoe Hares in Washington remain a dark brown with a tail that is dusky to white on the underside. The cottontail is a favorite food of many predators. 5). When the numbers fluctuate on one animal, the other animal experiences the same fate. Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. Before that if you wanted to see one, you’d have to travel to Eastern Washington. The ancestor of all 80 varieties of domestic rabbits, this multicolored rabbit is the largest of all at 20 to 30 inches long. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Hares do not burrow or build nests because their young are precocial: born in an advanced state and able to feed themselves almost immediately. The following are suggestions for preventing conflicts. It isn't fair to the animals already living there to release another competitor into their home range to the detriment of both of them. Place some bait just outside the trap and spray the inside with apple juice to increase effectiveness. However, urban and suburban rabbits are often unafraid of such devices and other rabbits quickly get used to them. 6). The oldest complete rabbit fossil, found in 2008 in India, dates back 53 million years to the Eocene Epoch. If a place "in the wild" is perfect for rabbits, they are probably already there. Lethal control may become necessary when all efforts to dissuade problem rabbits fail. The Snowshoe Hare spends most of its time up in the Cascades where you might see them on a summer hike or their distinctive large footed tracks in the winter. Where deep snow is common, fences will need to be higher, or adjusted to exclude animals during winter. Scientific name: Sylvilagus floridanus. Larger hares (jackrabbits) ordinarily will not jump a 2-foot fence unless chased by dogs or otherwise frightened. It was a rabbit that hopped and was very similar to those of today, but with smaller ears and a longer tail. It is designed for ease of installation and frequent repositioning. In many cases, moving rabbits will not solve the original problem because others will replace them and cause similar conflicts. The cottontail is crepuscular and most active at dusk, dawn and at night. The upperparts vary from reddish to grayish brown sprinkled with black; when fluffed, the fur of the rump is grayish. Heavily used rabbit trails look like 4-to 5-inch wide paths in grass, dirt, decaying vegetation, and snow. Two species of rabbits are native to Washington and two others have been introduced to the area. Domestic rabbits on the San Juan Islands of Washington tested positive in 2019 and 2010 after positive cases were discovered in British Columbia, Canada beginning in 2018. After they are dried, to prevent mold, the plants are stored until winter. In Eastern Washington there are the Nuttall’s Cottontail, Pygmy Rabbit, Pika, Black-tailed Jackrabbit and White-tailed Jackrabbit. Pikas do not proliferate as quickly as hares or rabbits, breeding once or twice a year. Droppings are generally spherical, sometimes slightly oblong or irregular, but never acorn- or capsule-shaped like those of deer and elk. Females create shallow nests that they line with leaves, grass and fur. (Information for this Species Page was derived in part from research gathered by Edward Lee for Biology 220W in Spring 2000 at Penn State New Kensington) The eastern cottontail rabbit is one of the most common mammals of both the natural and the human generated ecosystems of … Also known as the European rabbit or Belgian hare, this single species is the ancestor of all domestic rabbits (about 80 varieties!). Pygmy Rabbit (Brachylagus idahoensis) Snowshoe Hare (Lepus americanus) Black-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus californicus) White-tailed Jackrabbit (Lepus townsendii) European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) Nuttall's Cottontail (Sylvilagus nuttallii) Return to the Mammals of Washington home page For about two weeks, the mother rabbit stays away from the nest so as not to show predators the location of the young, returning only at dusk and dawn to nurse and lick her young clean. The number of rabbits in a given area will increase and decrease in a cycle connected with predator populations and food availability. If fencing and other barriers are impractical or undesirable, or if damage is so slight that fencing is not cost-effective, scare devices can provide temporary control. The cottontail was introduced to Washington about a century ago to be hunted for food and sport. Apply repellents before damage occurs and reapply frequently, especially after a rain, heavy dew, sprinkler irrigation, or when new growth occurs. Thanks. To capture hares (jackrabbits) in open terrain, use a double-door trap with weighted doors to prevent escape. Fences provide the most long-term and effective way to protect plantings from rabbit damage. Since then they have adapted to all types of habitats and you can see these bunnies in city parks, forests and your backyard. Domestic European rabbits, which tunnel extensively, can cause trouble when the rabbits are released. It has black, white, brown, or multicolored fur, and is most frequently seen in the San Juan Islands where it was first introduced in 1900, although it is spreading into other areas where it has been released. However, a special trapping permit is required from the Department of Fish and Wildlife for the use of all other types of traps. 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