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UNL Extension in Lancaster County

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Baby Cottontail Rabbits

Can You Guess It??

This photo was featured in the June 2012 NEBLINE Newsletter

May Can You Guess It

ANSWER: Baby Cottontail Rabbits

Cottontails flourish in much of Nebraska and can very quickly multiply if weather, habitat, or lack of predators allow. Here are some quick facts:

  • Breed: February through August
  • Gestation period: 28 days
  • Litter size: 3 to 5 young
  • Young: born naked, helpless, and with eyes closed
  • Young: remain in the nest up to 14 days
  • Adult size: 2 to 4 pounds
  • Habitat: woody and dense vegetation in rural and urban areas

Rabbits can bear two to six litters per year because females can breed immediately after giving birth and because breeding stimulates ovulation. Cottontail nests, called forms, are shallow, cup-shaped depressions lined with fur. The mother places fur over the young to help protect them. The young and their nests remain well hidden, even in closely-mowed turf.

Avoid disturbing nests of young rabbits as the mother will return to care for them at a safe time. If you suspect a rabbit has been abandoned, leave it there but keep people and domestic animals away.

For more information on Rabbits and their managements, visit http://lancaster.unl.edu/pest/rabbits.shtml

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