article and photo by Rose Collison
Cottontail rabbits can be found throughout most of Michigan but less common in the northern portions of the state. Cottontails prefer areas with ample vegetation and hiding places such as brush piles and thickets.
Summertime foods include grasses, clover, and garden vegetables. In the winter, they eat twigs, buds, and bark of many shrubs. Breeding can take place between March and September and adult females could have up to three litters a year. Rabbits can breed at 2-3 months old. Females from the first spring litter can breed that same summer. Baby rabbits are born about a month later with little hair and their eyes closed.
A cottontail’s litter is usually three to eight babies. The mother only visits her nest once or twice a day to nurse her young. After about three weeks the young rabbits are weaned and on their own. Many predators seek cottontails as prey such as coyote, fox, hawks, and owls.