Essay

Wild Rabbits in Florida: Types and Where You’re Likely to Find Them

Did you know that rabbits occasionally consume bark and twigs and that they build nests? We want you to be aware of the two types of rabbits that live in Florida. Rabbits are amazing animals. In their natural habitat, one is more frequent than the other, which can be a little harder to spot. The black-tailed jackrabbit, a renowned giant hare found in the Sunshine State, is another.

What survival strategies do these bunnies employ? And in what natural area are you most likely to see them? Let’s investigate! Here’s everything you need to know about Florida’s wild rabbit population.

Eastern Cottontail: Common in Florida
Favor fields, woodlands, and briar patches
Active at dusk, scouting out places covered in underbrush; distinguished by a fluffy white tail
2 to 4 pounds, brown-gray hue, up to 17 inches

In Florida, one of the most well-liked varieties of wild rabbits is the eastern cottontail. The fluffy white tail of these well-known bunnies gives them their name. Their remaining body is a shade of gray-brown. Adults who have reached adulthood tend to be smaller in size. They rarely get larger than 17 inches in length and weigh between two and four pounds.

When the sun is sinking is the ideal time of day to watch cottontails. They adore exploring places with lots of undergrowth for cover. Their favorite places to stomp are fields, woodlands, and briar patches.

These bunnies spend the day sleeping, grooming, and, of course, hiding. They must fear bobcats, wwls, coyotes, weasels, and hawks, to name a few of the predators.

Cottontails may hunker down in the undergrowth or find a protected spot under a log. They’ll sleep and take care of themselves here to kill time. On rare occasions, they may stand up on their hindlegs and place their forepaws against their chests to survey their surroundings.

Eastern cottontails consume a wide variety of plants and flora because they are herbivores. They will eat bark and twigs to survive when there isn’t much greenery nearby. They often live for three years or less in the wild.

Eastern cottontails are solitary animals, and they spend most of those three years by themselves. Males often have bigger home ranges than females, and they hop around in areas that range in size from five to eight acres.

In Florida, it’s likely that the rabbit you encounter is an eastern cottontail. Marsh rabbits live deeper in the undergrowth and are far more difficult to spot. Thus, you should count yourselves lucky if you happen to see one.

Rabbit Marsh
lives close to both fresh and saltwater
Less frequently observed
a little bit smaller than cottontails
Absent the fluffy white tail
less than four pounds in weight

Is that a cottontail or a marsh rabbit? Differentiating between these wild rabbits might be challenging. Fortunately, there is a quick identification trick—all you have to do is glance at their tail. You’re gazing at a marsh rabbit if its white, fluffy tail doesn’t resemble a large cotton ball. The tail of marsh rabbits is brown with hints of gray. In addition, marsh rabbits are sleeker and smaller than cottontail rabbits, which have more hair.

Their ability to swim is another distinction between the two species, in addition to the tail. Because they can swim well, marsh rabbits are able to survive in and around wetlands. Being able to swim is useful when trying to avoid predators like owls, alligators, foxes, and more.

Did you see a jumping or walking rabbit? You might be a marsh bunny if it was walking. This kind of bunny is unique in that it favors walking over hopping.

If you reside in Florida and there’s a body of water nearby, you might want to consider installing a trail camera. It’s likely that you’ll see some cottontail rabbits hopping around, and with any luck, you might even spot the more elusive marsh rabbit.

Jack Rabbit with a Black Tail
A hare instead of a rabbit, indigenous to Mexico and the Southeast United States
ability to run at up to 30 miles per hour
transported to Florida to train racing greyhounds
can measure 25 inches in length and weigh around 8 pounds.

We had to include the black-tailed jackrabbit even though it’s not really a rabbit. Black markings adorn the brown-gray coat of black-tailed jackrabbits, which also have black ear tips. Florida is not the native home of these hares. This species is indigenous to Mexico and the Southeast region of the United States. They were brought in to assist with greyhound racing training around a century ago.

You’ll quickly be able to distinguish between a rabbit and a hare. Hares, on the other hand, are enormous animals that can grow to be twice or even three times the size of typical rabbits. Black-tailed jackrabbits can weigh about eight pounds, whereas eastern cottontails typically weigh little more than four pounds. Additionally, a jackrabbit can easily grow to be two feet long, although a cottontail is often no larger than 17 inches.

They can run as fast as 40 mph at their peak speeds! They can elude their numerous predators thanks to their quickness. In the wild, these active animals have a five-year lifespan. A few of the creatures that consume jackrabbits are bobcats, foxes, eagles, and hawks.