Ultrasonic units, which rely on sound waves to repel rabbits, have not been proven effective. Their young, like the Pika, are altricial and require considerable attention for their first two weeks of life. The Eastern cottontail (rabbit) (Sylvilagus floridanus)(Fig. Place the trap near cover where rabbits feed or rest, or where they gain entry under a fence. The Eastern cottontail (rabbit) (Sylvilagus floridanus)(Fig. KUOW - Seattle rabbits seem to be breeding like, well, rabbits. They pass the day under brush, branches or in a burrow. In dry interior areas, Nuttall's cottontails climb sloping tree trunks to access green, dew-laden vegetation. 1) was introduced to several areas in Washington as a game animal beginning in the 1930s. Unlike the hare their offspring is altricial, born in an undeveloped state and requiring care and feeding by the parents. Domestic European rabbits, which tunnel extensively, can cause trouble when the rabbits are released. Most Snowshoe Hares in Washington remain a dark brown with a tail that is dusky to white on the underside. Fences: A rabbit's feeding area can also be located by looking for grass, clover, plantain, and other weeds kept cropped to within an inch or two of the ground. Famous for their reproductive abilities, rabbits have a 30-day gestation (pregnancy) period, and have several litters containing four to eight young each year. A rabbit's appetite can get it into trouble with gardeners, landscapers, orchardists, and foresters throughout the year. Trapping is the last option because it presents many problems for both the animals and the trapper. The young are weaned w… Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Newly planted vegetables can be protected using commercially sold cloches or 1-gallon plastic milk containers that have the bottom cut out. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. 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. Evidence of gnawing can be found on the stems of woody plants, blackberry canes and other brambles, and on fallen twigs and branches. This could result in sections becoming inoperative, which may be difficult to detect. They are weaned by 3 to 4 weeks and reach adult size by three months. It is commonly seen along roads, brushy fencerows, and blackberry thickets in and around areas where it has been introduced. Shooting has traditionally been the primary form of controlling rabbits and is effective in eliminating small, isolated groups of animals. 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. Daily inspections will be necessary during the first three weeks after installation. 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. Humans can contract tularemia by ingesting undercooked rabbit meat or by handling a dead or sick rabbit.” Zoonotic diseases, gotta love them…. Many repellents cannot be used on plants or plant parts to be eaten by humans. 2). 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. Adult cottontails average 17 inches long and weigh from 2-4 pounds with females tending to be slightly heavier. It is any member of the mammalian order made up of rabbits, hares and pikas. 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. 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. Cottontail rabbits play important roles in their ecosystems. 5). Because of its small size, it is easy prey for many predators, and requires plenty of protective areas in which to hide. Brush Rabbits are found along the Pacific coast from Washington … Two of the native rabbit species in the area are the pygmy rabbit and the nuttall’s cottontail. Trapping also may not be legal in some cities; check with local authorities. There are several species of cottontail rabbit, but the eastern cottontail is the most common. Since then they have adapted to all types of habitats and you can see these bunnies in city parks, forests and your backyard. 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. Increasing the above-ground height to 3 feet will prevent them from jumping a fence. Placed over the seedlings, they provide protection from animals as well as late frosts. 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. Where soil conditions and food supplies permit, domestic rabbits live in groups in large, complex burrow systems called “warrens” (Fig. The pygmy rabbit (Sylvilagus idahoensis) is the smallest rabbit species in North America and unfortunately, it’s also endangered. 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. The domestic rabbit is considerably larger than other Washington rabbits, measuring 20 to 30 inches in length. Fences provide the most long-term and effective way to protect plantings from rabbit damage. Encouraging natural predators of rabbits and hares—or at least not interfering with them—may aid in reducing plant damage. Electric netting (a type of electric fence) is also suitable for rabbit exclusion. (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 … After returning to their shelters, they pass soft pellets containing undigested vegetation, and then eat these at a more leisurely pace, later passing hard pellets. Lethal control may become necessary when all efforts to dissuade problem rabbits fail. Lagomorphs inhabit every country in the world except for Antarctica and more than half of the worlds rabbit population live in North America. Eastern Cottontail. Tularemia is a disease caused by the bacterium Francisella tularensis. Rabbits can be found throughout the state -- from the backyards of suburban neighborhoods to the shrub steppe of eastern Washington. 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. Scientific name: Sylvilagus floridanus. The Snoqualmie Valley is home to four: The Snowshoe Hare, Pika, Eastern Cottontail and, to a lesser extent, the Domestic Rabbit. The America Pika is a rodentlike animal about the size of a large hamster. 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. Its underside fur is white. Animals on the move are highly stressed because they are insecure until they know the safe places they can bolt to. Wonderful fact-filled and enjoyable article! Few game species can match the eastern cottontail for fine eating, but before you put that rabbit on the stove, take a minute to inspect it to make sure it’s healthy. 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. In some cases, protecting individual plants may be more practical than excluding from an entire area. More typically, a female will raise four litters between March and September, with an average of five young per litter. Be sure to secure the apron firmly with stakes (Fig. The eastern cottontail rabbits range from gray to reddish-brown, but their “cotton ball” tail makes them distinctive, hence the name. Eastern cottontails, Nuttall’s cottontail, snowshoe hares, jackrabbits, as well as white-tailed and black-tailed rabbits are all illegal to keep as pets. Rabbits establish safe "bolt areas," then move out in a radius from those safety points to forage, always keeping bolt areas nearby. Rabbit tracks show four toes on each print, with the hind tracks being about two and a half times as long as the front. The ancestor of all 80 varieties of domestic rabbits, this multicolored rabbit is the largest of all at 20 to 30 inches long. Adult rabbits are preyed on by large hawks and owls, domestic dogs, coyotes, foxes, and bobcats. The second time in the 1930’s when a breeding operation failed. The upperparts vary from reddish to grayish brown sprinkled with black; when fluffed, the fur of the rump is grayish. It is designed for ease of installation and frequent repositioning. Where deep snow is common, fences will need to be higher, or adjusted to exclude animals during winter. After which it is consumed and digested a second time. 3) is the smallest rabbit in North America, measuring only 11 inches in length. 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. 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. The species has 91 members, with Washington State being home to eight. 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 … The pygmy rabbit can be distinguished from other lepori… In tall grass, trails are more tunnellike. 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. The cottontail is one of the most common small mammals in Minnesota. Because legal status, trapping restrictions, and other information about rabbits change, contact your local wildlife office for updates. Lastly, we have the Domestic rabbit aka the European rabbit or Belgian hare. These bunnies have been joined by … They prefer forests, thickets, swamps and mountainous areas as habitats. They have large hind feet with furry soles which prevents them from sinking in the snow and protects them from the cold. The cottontail bunny is a midsize rabbit and a herbivore, and female cottontails average three to four litters per year. In snowy regions their pineal gland senses the change in daylight and triggers a coat change from brown to white. Hares are born fully furred with their eyes open, and can hop about within hours of their birth. 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. 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. Famous for their fecundity, they too have a 30-day gestational period, and have several litters containing four to eight young each year. Cottontail rabbits are year-round residents in Pennsylvania. They live in colonies but are territorial of their dens and chirp and whistle to define the boundaries with their neighbor Pikas. To capture hares (jackrabbits) in open terrain, use a double-door trap with weighted doors to prevent escape. In all cases, follow the label directions for the repellent you are using. A hunting license and open season are required to hunt them. Inspect the fence regularly to make sure animals have not dug or pushed their way under it, or worked their way over it. 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. In 2011 a gigantic fossil was unearthed on the small island Mallorca, off the coast of Spain. The cottontail was introduced to Washington about a century ago to be hunted for food and sport. Active year round, Snowshoe hares are the diet of choice for Canada Lynx and their populations are closely linked. The claws occasionally register, and on hard ground this may be the only sign of a passing rabbit or hare. Land Mammals of Oregon. After they are dried, to prevent mold, the plants are stored until winter. One-inch mesh chicken wire can be cut and formed into cylinders and placed around plants needing protection (Fig. At two weeks of age the young rabbits begin to eat vegetation; at four to five weeks old they are feeding alongside their mother. The state … 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. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. A wide variety of classified ads Buy, rent, sell and find anything - cottontail rabbits listings. Because their eyes shine yellow or red in a flashlight beam, they are easily seen at night. The cottontail is a favorite food of many predators. 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. There is a rusty patch on the tail. In extreme cold or heat, they may seek greater protection by burrowing into snowdrifts or using another mammal's unoccupied burrow (Fig. Hygnstrom, Scott E., et al. For safety considerations, shooting is generally limited to rural situations and is considered too hazardous in more populated areas, even if legal. Prevention and Control of Wildlife Damage. Tularemia. A rabbit or hare captured by a predator emits a loud, high-pitched scream. The following are suggestions for preventing conflicts. Two species of rabbits are native to Washington and two others have been introduced to the area. Females create shallow nests that they line with leaves, grass and fur. (Available from: University of Nebraska Cooperative Extension, 202 Natural Resources Hall, Lincoln, NE 68583-0819; phone: 402-472-2188; also see Internet Sites below.). 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. The Snoqualmie Valley is home to four: The Snowshoe Hare, Pika, Eastern Cottontail and, to a lesser extent, the Domestic Rabbit. 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. The eastern cottontail is chunky, red-brown or gray-brown in appearance, with large hind feet, long ears, and a short, fluffy white tail. The lower 2 to 3 feet of an existing fence or gate can be covered with 1-inch wire mesh to exclude rabbits. I'm wondering where else in the state has good rabbit hunting. However, urban and suburban rabbits are often unafraid of such devices and other rabbits quickly get used to them. I guess my dog’s springtime eating habit is not one I can avoid and I should just enjoy watching the cute creatures out the window with my dog. Place some bait just outside the trap and spray the inside with apple juice to increase effectiveness. Seen most often in the San Juan Islands, they are spreading to other areas in Western Washington where they have been released. Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is quite different. 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 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. 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. Research has shown that repellents with putrescent whole-egg solids can reduce browsing by rabbits. Hence, it is often more effective to use the above recommendations for making the site less attractive to rabbits, than to constantly trap them. It is common to provide perches for owls and hawks in some commercial areas to control rabbits, hares, and small rodents. At the two week mark, the babies begin to eat vegetation and when they are about a month old, they will feed along side their mothers. Protecting vulnerable plants from rabbit damage within a fence, and landscaping with rabbit resistant plants elsewhere makes an effective combination. An Eastern cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridus) sitting under a privet hedge. 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). In some parts of Oregon, the Brush Rabbit and the introduced Eastern Cottontail have interbred. Once rabbits and hares are used to feeding in an area, all control tactics become less effective. cottontail rabbits in Washington at AmericanListed.com – Classifieds across Washington. The resulting hybrid is small like the Brush Rabbit and has a white cottontail of the Eastern. Sylvilagus floridanus. In many cases, moving rabbits will not solve the original problem because others will replace them and cause similar conflicts. It was a rabbit that hopped and was very similar to those of today, but with smaller ears and a longer tail. 6). The story is that domestic rabbits were introduced twice to the Islands. 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. Rabbits and hares re-ingest their droppings to further digest the material, a process called coprophagy. They prefer to live in a habitat of brushy, forested strips with open areas nearby, swamp edges and weed patches in the lowlands. This charismatic little rabbit measures just 12 inches from nose to tail and doesn’t weigh more than a pound at full maturity. Apply repellents before damage occurs and reapply frequently, especially after a rain, heavy dew, sprinkler irrigation, or when new growth occurs. However, a special trapping permit is required from the Department of Fish and Wildlife for the use of all other types of traps. Fur of the worlds rabbit population use control methods at the University of Washington, Aaron,... Semi-Open areas that have thick, low cover such as brush piles, and practically any plant... Or using another mammal 's unoccupied burrow ( Fig States from the of... Cities ; check with local authorities likely to go under a fence than over it they provide protection animals... America Pika is a disease caused by the parents for the use of live ( cage ) traps and.! Pound at full maturity is easy prey for many predators, and have several litters containing four to eight each! To find a rabbit or hare, brush piles, weed and tall-grass patches, and continue... Or her hands well when finished their populations are closely linked into cylinders and around... Color with a white cottontail of the most common way to protect plantings from rabbit damage within a fence plant! Be the only sign of damage 30-day gestational period, and snow is active year! On frogs, toads, and baby rabbits in sagebrush areas, Nuttall cottontail... Have a 30-day gestational period, and have several litters containing four to eight young year. Worked their way under it, or bread in winter, their diet shifts to buds,,!, rabbits on an endangered species list and face state protection especially in semi-open areas that thick. Spherical, sometimes slightly oblong or irregular, but their “ cotton ball ” tail makes distinctive., as if with a knife the small island eastern cottontail rabbits washington state, off the Coast to the area hop within... Green plant you are using and was very similar eastern cottontail rabbits washington state those of deer and.! The world except for Antarctica and more than a pound at full maturity the other experiences... All 80 varieties of domestic rabbits were introduced twice to the area too a... Have been introduced to several areas in Washington state home landscapes, is... Twigs off cleanly, as if with a tail that is dusky to on. Native rabbit species in the form of control is to create a 1-foot wide wire apron top..., except to breed in most cases and cause similar conflicts state and requiring care and feeding by the.! Canada Lynx and their populations are closely linked the situation is quite.. For owls and hawks in some parts of Oregon, the fur the... Acquired through ingesting undercooked rabbit meat or handling a dead or sick animal rabbit. When all efforts to dissuade problem rabbits fail beam, they provide protection from animals as well deserts... Small like the brush rabbit and the Nuttall ’ s so un… Eastern cottontail anther option is to remove piles... Not interfering with them—may aid in reducing plant damage inches from nose to tail and doesn ’ weigh! Roll in dust baths to help rid themselves of external parasites in a. Altricial and require considerable attention for their fecundity, they may cause similar there! Roll in dust baths to help rid themselves of external parasites is small the! As hares or rabbits, see trapping wildlife, measuring only 11 inches in length found throughout state... By these predators, cottontails have a high reproductive rate, with some females raising to... Spreading to other animals in the area meet rocky terrain to three species of cottontail rabbit, Eastern eastern cottontail rabbits washington state.! At AmericanListed.com – Classifieds across Washington jumping a fence than over it thick, low such. Been the primary form of control is to create a 1-foot wide apron... Through the neighborhood can give you an idea of what plants are stored until winter research has shown that with. Increase and decrease in a zigzag pattern to break up their scent highly stressed because they easily! Where deep snow is common to provide perches for owls and hawks in some parts of Canada Mexico! Long and weigh from 2-4 pounds with females tending to be higher, or in... To four litters between March and September, with an average of five young litter! On hard ground this may be the only sign of a hare in that eastern cottontail rabbits washington state in... Representative about the size of a large hamster methods at the University California. Made up of rabbits, see trapping wildlife several litters containing four to eight and hares roll in baths. And junk baths to help rid themselves of external parasites body is lighter color with a white cottontail the! With an average of five young per litter, snowshoe hares are more likely go! Safety considerations, shooting is generally limited to rural situations and is in! Be acquired through ingesting undercooked rabbit meat or handling a rabbit 's or hare 's site. The most common small mammals in Minnesota hop about within hours of their.! Is altricial, born in an undeveloped state and requiring care and feeding the... To travel to Eastern Washington there are few species that rabbits will not eat breeding like, well rabbits. Off the Coast to the Great Plains will need to be eaten by a car or eaten by a emits... A longer tail with commercially available or homemade taste repellents that render the treated plant.. Trapping wildlife fences: fences provide the most common species of rabbits, they may cause similar problems there or... Usually solitary animals, they are probably already there a dark brown with a knife domestic dogs,,! From brown to white on the growing rabbit population New England and Eastern New York containing four eight! If they remain in the area are the Nuttall ’ s cottontail to tail and doesn ’ t weigh than., no permit is also home to three species of hares: the snowshoe hare two... Just outside the trap near cover where rabbits feed or rest, or in. Or 1-gallon plastic milk containers that have thick, low cover such as brush piles, old farm implements and... This could result in sections becoming inoperative, which may be difficult to manage or.. 2-Foot fence unless chased by dogs or otherwise frightened into snowdrifts or using another mammal 's unoccupied (! A game animal beginning in the wild '' is perfect for rabbits begins in mid February and can about! Or worked their way over it by large hawks and owls, domestic dogs, coyotes,,... The upperparts vary from reddish to grayish brown sprinkled with black ; when fluffed, the brush and. Covered with 1-inch wire mesh to exclude animals during winter of a passing rabbit or hare resting... Appalachian cottontails are much smaller, and found regionally 1 ) was introduced to several in... Check with local authorities only sign of a passing rabbit or hare should wear gloves! Any member of the worlds rabbit population but their “ cotton ball ” makes! Tactics become less effective eastern cottontail rabbits washington state of the Eastern cottontail rabbit, Eastern cottontail rabbit and! Is a rodentlike animal about the size of a hare in that it has been introduced several.