Fun New England Cottontail Facts For Kids

Abhijeet Modi
Oct 20, 2022 By Abhijeet Modi
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Jacob Fitzbright
Fact-checked by Gowri Rao
New England cottontail facts about New England cottontails breed.
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.3 Min

The New England cottontail rabbit is a species of cottontail rabbit found in the region of New England, USA. It is also known as gray rabbit, brush rabbit, wood rabbit, wood hare, or Cooney. It is a medium-sized rabbit that has black hair on its body.

It is almost identical to the eastern cottontail. Their population is declining rapidly because of habitat destruction.

The eastern cottontail is now more commonly found in the world than the New England cottontail. The decline in their population has made them enlisted in the list of species under the Protection of Endangered Species Act. The hunting of this species has been restricted in some countries.

It is a medium-sized rabbit and has black hair on its ears. New England cottontails have a grayish-brown pelt with a black and white tail.

It is almost identical to the Eastern cottontail. They have black hair on the anterior sides of their bodies and the tail has white undersides. The female New England cottontail is larger than the male New England cottontail.

The newborns have closed eyes when they are born and are nested for approximately 16 days. The lifespan of the New England cottontail is three years. The New England cottontail is a quiet animal, but not silent.

New England cottontails make less noise to avoid predators and are carriers of harmful diseases like rabies. Here are some interesting facts on this native breed of rabbits, afterwards, do check our other articles on rabbit facts and eastern cottontail facts.

New England Cottontail Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a New England cottontail?

The New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) is a medium-sized cottontail rabbit that belongs to the Leporidae family of mammals, like the eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus).

What class of animal does a New England cottontail belong to?

New England cottontails belong to the Mammalia class of animals, as they are mammals. These animals tend to produce an extremely loud scream when caught by a predator. Moreover, in order to confuse the predator, they run in a zig-zag pattern.

How many New England cottontail are there in the world?

As per the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, there are around 13,000 New England cottontails left in North America. Their populations are declining rapidly in different regions of North America due to the loss of habitat.

Populations of this species are still present in parts of New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine regions of the United States.

Where does a New England cottontail live?

The New England cottontails' habitat is in natural forests, woodlands, and shrublands. New England cottontails create nests that are lined with grasses and natural fur.

It is found in the regions of New England, including its historic range which happens to be its home range across New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine regions of the United States.

What is a New England cottontail's habitat?

A New England cottontail lives in forests, grasses, natural woodlands, and shrublands with higher elevations and northern latitudes. New England cottontails prefer to be in young forests that are 20-25 years old and have thick vegetation.

They like to live in woodlands also where the brushy cover offers a hiding place when confronted by a predator. As they are targeted by many predators, they tend to not venture too far away from heavy cover.

Who do New England cottontails live with?

As per the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, New England cottontails are solitary animals. They mainly live in their own territories. They may live in nearby areas but avoid living in large groups. New England cottontails come together only in the mating season.

How long does a New England cottontail live?

The lifespan of the New England cottontail is three years. However, they can live more if a good habitat is provided to them, but their populations are now declining because of habitat loss.

How do they reproduce?

The New England cottontail breeds two or three times every year especially in early fall or late summer. In late December, the testes of the male start to enlarge. The breeding season can be from January to September.

Pregnant females appear from April to August. The gestation period is 28 days and the litter size ranges from three to eight.

Generally, cottontails who live in more northern habitats have shorter gestation periods and larger litters, so they produce more litters during warmer weather. While the cottontail mating season is going on, the male cottontails form groups around the females. They carry food and good cover with them.

The newborns are naked and have closed eyes at the time of birth. They are nursed only by the female New England cottontails.

The males do not nurse the baby after the birth. The young ones live in the nest for approximately 16 days. After they leave the nest, they tend to become completely independent.

What is their conservation status?

They are listed as Vulnerable Species under the IUCN Red List. This is because they are rapidly reducing in number because of the loss of habitat since the early 1900s.

The loss of forests is affecting their population very much. The United States Fish and Welfare Services is trying to find a preferred habitat for New England cottontails. Other than vulnerable, they are also considered as an Endangered species in New Hampshire and Maine, and an Extirpated Species in Vermont and Quebec.

New England Cottontail Fun Facts

What do New England cottontails look like?

New England Cottontail

It is a medium-sized rabbit and has black hair on the ear. They have a grayish-brown pelt with a black and white tail. It is almost identical to the eastern cottontail. They have black hair on the anterior sides of their bodies. Its tail has white undersides. The female New England cottontails are larger than the males.

How cute are they?

These species of cottontail rabbits are very cute and adorable. They have soft hair on their body and are adored by animal lovers. However, they should not be caught or handled by humans as they carry harmful diseases and are not used to be handled by humans.

How do they communicate?

The New England cottontail is a quiet animal but not silent. They make less noise to avoid predators. However, they make different sounds like growling, screaming, and grunting.

How big is a New England cottontail?

It is a medium-sized animal and is 20 % smaller than the eastern cottontail. The New England cottontail differs from the eastern cottontail on the basis of tissue genetics and by the skull distinction. In terms of size, they can grow up to 36 in (91.4 cm).

How fast can a New England cottontail run?

Cottontails can run up to 18 mph (29 kph). They run in a zig-zag pattern when threatened. They use the zig-zag trick to confuse their predators.

How much does a New England cottontail weigh?

The average weight of the New England cottontail is 35.0-58.1 oz (1 - 1.64 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male New England cottontails are known as bucks and the female New England cottontail rabbits are known as does.

What would you call a baby New England cottontail?

Baby New England cottontail rabbits are known as kits or kittens.

What do they eat?

The New England cottontail prefers to eat grass, fruits, flowers, and leaves in the summer and spring seasons. In winters, it eats barks, woody plants, and twigs. They are herbivores and their food intake is based on the seasons.

Are they dangerous?

Yes, keeping New England cottontails as pets is dangerous as they are carriers of harmful diseases like rabies. They are not used to being friendly with humans. They can also bite if they are irritated. However, the most common threat from New England cottontails is infection.

Would they make a good pet?

No, these rabbits are not very used to humans as they are wild and are not comfortable in hutches. They are carriers of diseases like rabies which can be harmful to the person trying to catch or keep them. So it's better not to keep them as a pet.

Did you know...

The New England cottontail is mainly predated by domestic cats, weasels, foxes, coyotes, birds, bobcats, wolves, wolverines, and Canada lynxes. The New England cottontail runs fast and in a zig-zag pattern to confuse these predators.

What is the difference between eastern cottontail and New England cottontail?

The New England cottontail and the eastern cottontail, are very similar. They have a grayish-black body and a white tail.

Still, they can be different on the basis of some identical differences. New England cottontails have a small black spot on the forehead.

However, instead of the black spot, the eastern cottontails have a white spot. The ears of the New England cottontail are shorter in size than the ears of the eastern cottontail. Its ears have black fur on the outer side.

It is not possible to make a direct comparison in both the species, it is very hard to identify the species. Eastern cottontails and New England cottontails do not hybridize in the wild, but they do compete for habitats and territory.

Do cottontail rabbits drink water?

Cottontail rabbits rarely drink water because it is not necessary for their survival or reproduction.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including Polish lowland sheepdog facts or blackbuck facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable england cottontail coloring pages.

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Written by Abhijeet Modi

Master of Computer Science

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Abhijeet ModiMaster of Computer Science

An experienced and innovative entrepreneur and creative writer, Abhijeet holds a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Computer Application from Birla Institute of Technology, Jaipur. He co-founded an e-commerce website while developing his skills in content writing, making him an expert in creating blog posts, website content, product descriptions, landing pages, and editing articles. Passionate about pushing his limits, Abhijeet brings both technical expertise and creative flair to his work.

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Fact-checked by Gowri Rao

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

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Gowri RaoBachelor of Arts specializing in Economics

With a bachelor's degree in Economics from Krea University, Gowri is a highly skilled data analyst and an expert in regression and causation modeling. Her interests in economic trends, finance, and investment research complement her professional expertise. In addition to her professional pursuits, Gowri enjoys swimming, running, and playing the drums, and she is also a talented tutor.

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