Friday, July 15, 2011

Peter Rabbit

The Eastern Cottontail is likely something everyone has seen in their backyard.  They are the most common of the three main species of rabbit and hare found in Southern Ontario.  The other two are the European Hare and the White-tailed Jackrabbit.  Both are much bigger than the Cottontail and most often found in the wild, and quite shy of humans.  

Eastern Cottontail

But the Cottontail has made suburban settings home quite easily, and those living in this setting are less frightened of people.  Being a nocturnal animal, this rabbit comes by almost every evening at dusk, and is not terribly worried with someone approaching to a point.  They rely on their quick speed and agility to get away, running quickly and then zig-zagging to try and throw off the pursuer which could be from the ground or the sky.  Main predators in the wild are foxes, coyotes, and birds of prey.

Something interesting rabbits will do... To prepare for harder times or to store food in a protected area, rabbits will force themselves to eat large quantities really quickly.  With it going through their system very quickly, they will find a protected place under some brush or brambles, and make a  pile of very green droppings which are hardly digested.  They can then return later to eat these.  

Big eyes!

Rabbits are well known for how quickly they can reproduce.  They can breed year round, but in Southern Ontario, usually only do so during the warmer months.  Baby rabbits are called kittens, and get to nurse only at dawn and dusk. Rabbits will breed a couple days after having babies.  According to eNature, together with their offspring, if a single pair of rabbits didn't have any of their young die, in five years they would multiply to about 350,000!  Thankfully, in the wild most rabbits don't live beyond a year or so.

Well, I'm off on vacation!  Heading to the cottage in Bancroft with some of my family for a week.  We'll miss the ones who can't come.  Always a great place to be... hopefully good weather will lead to lots of swimming, canoeing, snorkeling, camp fires, and great times with the kids and adults.  Maybe even a few pictures. :)  

1 comment:

  1. Very nice. Just like the family i have in my garden.... we feed them carrots all winter so they stick around lol!!


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