Rabbit

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The cottontail rabbit is very abundant in Wisconsin, receiving its name from its short, fluffy tail, which is white and appears like a cotton ball. They are commonly seen moving around using slow, short hops and jumps, saving their speed to escape predators.

Fast Facts

Color Rabbits range in color from a light brown to a darker gray.
Size rabbit-footprints

Adults are between 14-18″ long, and weigh up to four pounds. Rabbit tracks are under 1″ in the front and around 3″ in the back. The big rear feet hit the ground in front of the two small front feet as the rabbit moves, leaving a trail that looks like a series of “C”s or “V”s made by the feet.

Appearance The rabbit’s long ears give it the ability to hear noises from all directions, helping them hear predators coming.

Diet

The diet of the rabbit includes vegetation, veggies, grass, herbs, buds, sprouts, and shoots of woody plants including, alfalfa, clover, peas, beans and grass.

Habitat

Rabbits usually place their nests in plain view, sometimes in the middle of a yard, brush piles, or long grass with fur over and around the nest. Other places include wooded, thick brush areas, farmland, orchards, back yards, or hollow logs.

Life Cycle

Mating occurs from February to August. The female makes a nest by scraping out a shallow depression in the ground and lining it with grass and her own fur. Females are able to mate almost immediately after giving birth, which allows them to have two to three litters per year with three to six young in each. Young cottontails are born naked, blind, and almost totally helpless, weighing only about one ounce and measuring just four inches in length. They get very little attention from their mother, as she only returns occasionally to the nest to nurse them, but they develop rapidly. Their eyes are open at two weeks, and at four or five weeks, they are weaned and independent. The life expectancy is four to six months old in the wild.

Damage & Disease

The most damage rabbits cause is eating out of gardens and destroying yards with digging. In regards to diseases, rabbits can be infested by a number of parasites, including ticks and mites.

Prevention & Control

Rabbit Prevention

Like many pests, the best way to get rid of them is to make changes to your home and property to eliminate hiding places for rabbits. This means doing things like:

  • Removing brush piles, weed patches, stone piles and other debris.
  • Sealing up areas beneath your deck or porch.
Rabbit Control

Much of wildlife control is knowing and understanding the habitat and behavior of the animal. For rabbits, Batzner uses live trapping with brussel sprouts, carrots and lettuce.

If you’re having problems with rabbits around your home or business, contact a pest control professional for expert removal services.