The eastern cottontail has speckled brown-gray fur above, reddish-brown fur around its neck and shoulders and lighter fur around its nose and on its undersides. The most common cottontail in southern New England is the eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus). Amanda Cheeseman, left, studies cottontail rabbits in New York's Lower Hudson Valley. New England Cottontails have light brown coats and look strikingly similar to the more populous Eastern Cottontail Rabbit, which is designated “Least Concern” by the IUCN. It has big eyes and a tail that is puffy white on the underside. And while we're happy that the Eastern is doing well, make no mistake: our only native rabbit - the New England Cottontail - is not. Biologists from the New England Cottontail Captive Breeding Working Group (NECCBWG) have teamed up to restore populations by breeding these rabbits in captivity and releasing them in their natural habitat. In Rhode Island, outside the gates of the zoo where the New England Cottontails are being bred, the native rabbits have been all but pushed out by the Eastern cottontail. It was also the inspiration for author Thornton W. Burgess’ “The Adventures of Peter Cottontail.” The New England cottontail depends on young forests, or early successional habitat, which has … There are several characteristics and methods we use to determine what species of rabbit we see: In 2017, the first Eastern cottontails showed up in Maine, on Badgers Island in Kittery, indicating the species is nosing its way across the border, i.e. New England Cottontail Survey. The eastern cottontail differs only slightly, with a paler coat, a cinnamon-rust nape, and a narrow black margin extending along the front edge and tip of the ear. General: Slightly smaller than the more-abundant Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), the New England cottontail weighs 2.2 to 3 pounds and is 15 to 17 inches long.New England cottontails live in scattered populations east of the Hudson River in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine. See accompanying note on distinguishing between the New England versus an eastern cottontail.] Eastern cottontails have larger eyes than New England cottontails, which helps them detect predators more easily. 1 of 8 A New England cottontail is processed Putnam County. Today, eastern cottontails now dominate many young forests and shrublands, to the detriment of the New England cottontail in the native species’ six-state range. Subspecies There are no recognized subspecies of the New England Cottontail. The Eastern Cottontail is not native and was introduced to the region in the early 1900s, primarily for hunting purposes. New England Cottontail. An encounter between a juvenile New England Cottontail and an Eastern Chipmunk, filmed in Huntington MA, May 16,2020. The New England cottontail relies on young forests and shrublands for its survival, while the eastern cottontail has adapted to a wider variety of habitats. This is the species of cottontail typically seen feeding on lawns and in other open areas. Other species, like the eastern cottontail, live in a wide variety of habitats. Eastern Cottontail. New England Cottontail Is Making a Comeback Scientists hope to release up to 500 of the rabbits a year into the overgrown farms and brushy fields of New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine The eastern cottontail was introduced into New England as a game species in the early 1900s and has since become the dominant rabbit in New Hampshire. It is the only rabbit native to this area, and it's an important part of our natural heritage. There are a wide variety of species, and a wide variety of habitats, but … Monitor the range of eastern cottontail to determine if they are moving into focus areas where habitat management is occurring. DNA testing is usually the preferred method for positively identifying between Eastern and New England cottontails. The Appalachian cottontail (Sylvilagus obscurus) is a species of cottontail rabbit in the family Leporidae.It is a rare species found in the upland areas of the eastern United States.The species was only recognized as separate from the New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) in 1992. Remnant New England cottontail populations are found today in < 14% of the species’ historical range and occur in five geographically and genetically distinct populations located in southern Maine and southeastern New Hampshire, central New Hampshire, eastern Massachusetts on Cape Cod, eastern Connecticut and Rhode Island, and western Connecticut and New York . The New England cottontail closely resembles the eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), but it tends to be a little smaller and darker. New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan Appendix A Mammals-117 General Strategy: Currently there are no known sympatric populations of the eastern cottontail and NEC in NH. New England Cottontails will give birth to approximately 3 - 4 litters of young each year. The New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis), also called the gray rabbit, brush rabbit, wood hare, wood rabbit, or cooney, is a species of cottontail rabbit represented by fragmented populations in areas of New England, specifically from southern Maine to southern New York. [Single cottontail rabbit: in this image, blurred due to motion, the long ears, overall size, and long hind legs all are indicative of a cottontail. Posts about Eastern Cottontail written by Mary Holland. Mexico (Chapman and Litvaitis 2003). Over several decades, New England cottontail populations dwindled as these habitats were cleared for development or matured into older and taller woods, reducing ground-level shelter and food for rabbits. Habitat: Early successional habitat, shrublands, shrub wetlands . However, the species range has contracted by more than 80 percent since 1960. However, its range has been greatly reduced in the state due to habitat loss and competition with the more abundant Eastern cottontail. Its range reduced by about 86 percent to five smaller populations across New England and eastern New York. New England's only native rabbit, the New England cottontail, faced significant habitat loss over half a century. The eastern cottontail is not native to New England Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region) Show More Show Less 2 of 8 An eastern cottontail is processed Putnam County. Not to be confused with the introduced and invasive Eastern Cottontail that is ubiquitous to suburban backyards and the like, the rare and declining New England Cottontail is currently known to occur in only 104 sites from southern Connecticut to Maine. (U.S. the Piscataqua River. The rare New England cottontail, a threatened species of native rabbit once abundant throughout the New England region, is getting much needed help. New England cottontail remains the only rabbit. Images immediately surrounding this one show a more clearly defined cottontail. In New England, we have two species of cottontail. Thanks to many rabbit captures and much research, we have been able to find ways to discern New England and eastern cottontails. That is a misconception that comes from confusing the New England cottontail with the more common eastern cottontail, which is not native to the region. Its historic range has decreased by 85%, mainly due to habitat loss. Photo: James "Jim" Marshall The only native cottontail east of the Hudson River in New York is the New England cottontail. The New England cottontail is also found in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New York east of the Hudson River. What makes the New England and eastern cottontail different? DEC Collaborators: Dan Rosenblatt, Paul Novak Goals Effects of invasive vegetation and eastern cottontail on New England cottontail restoration The New England cottontail has wavy nasal sutures and small non-fused supraorbital process. Once common throughout most of New England and eastern New York, the New England cottontail population has declined. Unlike the common and nonnative eastern cottontails, New England cottontail rabbits seek protection in very dense thickets associated with young forests, shrublands, and coastal barrens. The Eastern cottontail thrives in a wider variety of habitats than the New England cottontail, which depends on shrinking patches of young forestland and thickets for protection from predators. To the north is the domain of the snowshoe hare; to the south lives the Eastern cottontail, which was introduced to New England in the early twentieth century and is now more common. In the winter its fur may be more gray than brown. The New England cottontail rabbit, also known as the brush rabbit, woods rabbit, or coney, occupies only 14% of its native range from southeastern New York to southern Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. The New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis), also called the gray rabbit, brush rabbit, wood hare, wood rabbit, or cooney, is a species of cottontail rabbit represented by fragmented populations in areas of New England, specifically from southern Maine to southern New York. The ears are shorter and rounder, with the outer edge possessing a broad, black stripe which does not blend gradually into the browner color of the ear as in the eastern cottontail. New England cottontails need large patches of dense thicket habitat, often a minimum of 10 to 20 acres in size. The New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) is a narrow niche specialist that relies on the dense understory vegetation of early successional or shrubland habitats [].These ephemeral habitats have declined steeply in recent decades in the Northeastern United States [2,3,4].As a result, many shrubland species, including the New England cottontail, face severe population declines []. The New England cottontail lives in parts of New England and eastern New York. Over the last 50 years the range of this once-common rabbit has shrunk and its population has dwindled. 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