Peak Nuisance Period: Anytime of Year
Common Nuisance Situations:
- Eat flowers, vegetables, and agricultural crops.
- Can girdle young trees and shrubs (ornamental and fruit).
- Disease risks: tularemia.
Description: Rabbits are typically 14 to 18 inches long and weigh 2 to 4 lbs. Rabbits have long ears and large, powerful hind legs. Each foot has 5 toes with one greatly reduced in size. They move on the tips of their toes. There fur is long and soft and can be brown, grey or buff. The tail is a little plume of brownish fur. Rabbits do not hibernate or migrate. They are nocturnal and crepuscular. They may feed during the day in summer, under or near thick cover.
Diet: Rabbits are herbivores. In the winter, they often eat the bark, twigs, and buds of ornamental shrubs and fruit trees because everything else is covered by snow. In the spring and summer, they switch to vegetables, field crops, flowers, and other succulent green plants. It’s probably easier to list what rabbits won’t eat than what they will, because they’ll eat many kinds of plants. They don’t dig up carrots or flower bulbs and don’t like tomatoes.
Habitat: Rabbits prefer brushy fence rows, field edges, overgrown pastures, sapling stands, and shrub or perennial borders in landscaped backyards. They don’t need a water source because they can get what they need from snow or dew. Can reach densities of 3–5/acre; more, if the habitat is favorable. They don’t dig holes, but will take refuge in a skunk or woodchuck burrow in bad weather—always staying right near the entry. Normally they rest in small depressions in the grass.
Breeding: Rabbits breed late February through September. Gestation is variable but averages 28 days. Females have up to six litters per year, giving birth to as many as 35 young. Females may breed again as soon as they’ve given birth. Typical litter size is 4 to 5. However, you may see as few as 2 and as many as 8.