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Eastern Cottontail

Sylvilagus floridanus

Photo:Mont St-Hilaire Nature Center
Eastern Cottontail. Photo:Mont St-Hilaire Nature Center

Unlike its kin, the eastern cottontail does not become white in the winter time. Instead it remains brown and hides in thickets where it is concealed from predators. This is a nocturnal creature which leads a solitary lifestyle. It is estimated each eastern cottontail requires up to three hectares of its own. The cottontail finds shelter in the meadows, orchards and shrubby areas, and does not like forested regions. In summer and early fall, the eastern cottontail will feed on plant material such as fruits and leaves. Once frost appears the cottontails shift to feeding on bark, twigs, and buds of shrubs and young trees. The cottontail has been recorded in both southern Quebec and Ontario as well as parts of Manitoba and British Columbia. Theses animals serve a vital function in the environment, as they convert plant material into meat which is later passed on to predators.

Map of Eastern Cottontail in Canada
Distribution of Eastern Cottontail in Canada

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