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Sylvilagus floridanus

(Conejo Castellano)


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Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in Albanian:

Lepuri i Florides

Common Names in Breton:

Konikl Florida

Common Names in Catalan, Valencian:

Conill de Florida

Common Names in Chinese:


Common Names in Czech:

Králík východoamerický

Common Names in Dutch:

Floridakonijn, Floridakonijn of Katoenstaart

Common Names in English:

eastern cottontail, Eastern cottontail rabbit

Common Names in Estonian:

Florida sooküülik

Common Names in Finnish:

Floridanjänis, Pumpulihäntäkaniini

Common Names in French:

Lapin , lapin à queue blanche, lapin à queue blanche, Lapin de Floride

Common Names in German:

Florida Waldkaninchen, Östliches Baumwollschwanzkaninchen

Common Names in Hungarian:

Floridai nyúl, Floridai üreginyúl

Common Names in Icelandic:


Common Names in Italian:


Common Names in Maltese:

Fenek ta' denbu qotni tal Lvant

Common Names in Mongolian:

Америкийн хөвөн сүүлт

Common Names in Polish:

Królik florydzki

Common Names in Portuguese:

Coelho cauda de algodão

Common Names in Russian:

Флоридский кролик

Common Names in Slovene:

Belorepi kunec

Common Names in Spanish:

Conejo Castellano, Conejo serrano

Common Names in Spanish, Castilian:

Conejo Castellano, Conejo de cola de algodón de Florida, Conejo serrano

Common Names in Swedish:



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Physical Description

Species Sylvilagus floridanus

Like all rabbits, the Eastern Cottontail has short front legs and long hind legs.


The long, soft fur is rusty brown in the summer and grayish brown in winter, with black guard hairs . The belly and tail are white, and the nape of the neck is rusty-red.


The Eastern Cottontail is a moderately sized rabbit, measuring from 36 - 43 cm (14.2 - 16.9 in) in total length and weighing 0.9 - 1.8 kg (2 - 4 lbs ).


The Eastern Cottontail is probably one of the most well-known and frequently observed mammals in urban and suburban landscapes in the eastern United States. A crepuscular species most active at dawn and dusk, this rabbit is often seen feeding in suburban lawns and gardens. In more natural habitats , this species inhabits forest edges , grasslands, meadows, and weedy stages of clear-cut forests.

Ecology: The historical habitat of Sylvilagus floridanus was diverse , including deserts, swamps , glades , prairies, rain forests , boreal forests, hardwood forests, and woodlands (Chapman et al. 1980). In developed areas, S. floridanus survives well in farmland, pasture, and hedgerows (Chapman and Ceballos 1990).

The diet of S. floridanus is variable, depending on the type of habitat and the season , including woody plants in the dormant season and herbaceous plants in the growing season (Chapman et al. 1980). Breeding season varies depending on elevation and latitude , with breeding activity beginning later at higher elevations and northern latitudes (Chapman et al. 1980). Average gestation time is 28 days and size at birth ranges from 3.06-5.06 cm (Lorenzo and Cervantes 2005). Litter sizes are 3-5 with 3-4 litters per year (Lorenzo and Cervantes 2005). Total length ranges from 33.5-48.5 cm (Lorenzo and Cervantes 2005).[1].

List of Habitats:


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It feeds on a variety of grasses and forbs during the warm months and on twigs and tree bark during the winter.


The Eastern Cottontail is a prolific breeder that may produce as many as 6 - 7 litters per year when food is plentiful. Gestation takes about a month, and animals may breed year-round in the South if favorable weather conditions are present. From 1 - 9 young are born in a surface nest or depression lined with dry grasses, plant fibers, and fur from the female's chest. Young are naked and blind at birth. Within 10 days their eyes have opened and their body is covered in fur. Young are able to leave the nest within 2 weeks after birth. At the age of 4 - 5 weeks, the young leave the female to live on their own.


The Eastern Cottontail is the prey of a diverse array of predators , including owls, hawks, eagles, skunks, weasels, foxes, the Coyote, the Raccoon, the Opossum, and snakes . The Eastern Cottontail will use abandoned burrows of other animals to escape predators and severe weather such as heavy rain or snow. The broadly overlapping home ranges of females vary from 2 - 6.1 hectares (5 - 15 ac), those of males being somewhat larger. Breeding females are territorial . Densities of up to five rabbits per acre have been reported. The average life span for an Eastern Cottontail is only 15 months.


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Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 15-Aug-2007

A systematic revision is necessary. According to Hall (1981) there are 24 recognized subspecies : Sylvilagus floridanus alacer, S. f. ammophilus, S. f. aztecus, S. f. chapmani, S. f. chiapensis, S. f. cognatus, S. f. connectens, S. f. costaricensis, S. f. floridanus, S. f. hesperius, S. f. hitchensi, S. f. holzneri, S. f. hondurensis, S. f. llanensis, S. f. mallurus, S. f. mearnsii, S. f. orizabae, S. f. paulsoni, S. f. restrictus, S. f. robustus, S. f. russatus, S. f. similis, S. f. subcinctus, and S. f. yucatanicus.

Chapman et al. (1980) also includes S. f. avius, S. f. continentis, S. f. cumanicus, S. f. margaritae, S. f. nelsoni, S. f. nigronuchalis, S. f. orinoci, S. f. purgatus, S. f. superciliaris, and S. f. valenciae.

The subspecies S. f. cognatus and S. f. robustus have been designated as species since the publication of Hall (1981).[1].

Similar Species

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The Swamp Rabbit is larger and generally has longer ears and hind feet. The Marsh Rabbit has a gray venter and the underside of its tail is grayish rather than the white of the Eastern Cottontail. The Swamp Rabbit and Marsh Rabbit also lack the Cottontail's distinct rusty nape patch and do not have pale whitish feet.

Members of the genus Sylvilagus

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 36 species and subspecies in this genus:

S. aquaticus (Swamp Rabbit) · S. aquaticus aquaticus (Swamp Rabbit) · S. aquaticus baileyi (Swamp Rabbit) · S. audubonii (Audubon's Cottontail) · S. audubonii audubonii (Desert Cottontail) · S. bachmani (Riparian Brush Rabbit) · S. bachmani bachmani (Brush Rabbit) · S. bachmani riparius (Brush Rabbit) · S. backmanii cinerascens (Brush Rabbit) · S. brasiliensis (Forest Rabbit) · S. cognatus (Manzano Mountain Cottontail) · S. cunicularius (Mexican Cottontail) · S. dicei (Dice’s Cottontail) · S. floridanus (Eastern Cottontail Rabbit) · S. floridanus ammophilus (Eastern Cottontail) · S. floridanus continentis (Eastern Cottontail) · S. floridanus floridanus (Eastern Cottontail) · S. floridanus hitchensi (Eastern Cottontail) · S. floridanus llanensis (An Eastern Cottontail) · S. floridanus similis (An Eastern Cottontail) · S. graysoni (Tres Marias Cottontail) · S. idahoensis (Pygmy Rabbit) · S. insonus (Omilteme Cottontail) · S. mansuetus (San Jose Brush Rabbit) · S. nuttalli (Cottontails) · S. nuttallii (Nuttall's Cottontail) · S. nuttallii grangeri (Mountain Cottontail) · S. nuttallii nuttallii (Mountain Cottontail) · S. nuttallii pinetis (Mountain Cottontail) · S. obscurus (Appalachian Cottontail) · S. palustris (Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit) · S. palustris hefneri (Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit) · S. palustris palustris (Marsh Rabbit) · S. robustus (Davis Mountain Cottontail) · S. transitionalis (New England Cottontail) · S. varynaensis (Venezuelan Lowland Rabbit)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal March 12, 2008:



  1. Mexican Association for Conservation and Study of Lagomorphs (AMCELA), Romero Malpica, F.J. & Rangel Cordero, H. 2008. Sylvilagus floridanus. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. <>. Downloaded on 05 February 2012. [back]
Last Revised: 2015-02-06