Sunday, February 23, 2014

Creature Feature #128: Cottontail

The Cottontail Genus comprises of 17 species of rabbit widespread across America. They are named for their fluffy white tail - which is not found in all species - and are otherwise well camouflaged. When danger threatens, the Cottontail runs in an erratic zigzag fashion, flashing his tail. This not only warns any other rabbits that danger is about, but also can act to confuse the predator. Instead of focusing on the  main body of the bunny, it focuses instead on the white patch and as the rabbit ducks and weaves, this can appear and disappear  just as suddenly. Cottontails favour open grassy areas with decent cover. Various species have colonised the mountains, the deserts and everywhere in between. Unlike their European cousins, Cottontails do not live in warrens - they spend their days sheltering in shallow depressions under cover and come out at night to forage. Babies are born in a shallow nest -  could a "form" - no deeper than 12 cm.

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