Protecting and enhancing the natural values of Salt Spring Island and its surrounding waters


Eastern Cottontail

Eastern Cottontail

Eastern Cottontail Sylvilagus floridanus

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. It has big eyes and a tail that is puffy white on the underside. In the winter its fur may be more gray than brown. These rabbits were introduced to Salt Spring in the 2000’s. The eastern cottontail prefers habitats that are between woody areas and open land. It can be found in bushy areas, fields, woodlands, swamps and thickets. They eat all types of vegetation, fruits, garden vegetables and bark. The eastern cottontails is solitary and very territorial. It is mostly nocturnal, but it sometimes will come out in the early morning and at dusk and sometimes during the day on dark days. The eastern cottontail can leap distances of between 10 and 15 feet. It will sometimes stand on its hind feet to watch for predators.Females can have three or four litters of 1-9 young a year. Eastern cottontails are ready to mate when they are three months old. Their fecundity makes them a difficult invasive species to combat.

Photo by Minnie the Pookie