Species of the Week: The Eastern Cottontail

Photo by Adam Kalab

This week we turn our attention to the Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus), as our #SpeciesOfTheWeek. Often found in grassy clearings and old fields adjacent to forested areas, Eastern Cottontails have rightfully established a healthy population here at Murphys Point. Cottontails range in colour from red-brown to grey-brown, but all feature the distinctive round, fluffy white tail after which they are named. Cottontails are quite agile and have very strong senses. Their large feet and powerful legs allow them to reach speeds of up to 29 km/h! They also run in a characteristic zig-zag pattern which confuses predators and throws them off their track. If you’ve ever seen a rabbit up close, you’ll notice that their noses twitch non-stop. This is because they’re picking up scents in the air — they have around one hundred million sensing receptors in their nose, making for an exceptional sense of smell! They can also see and hear almost everything in their immediate surroundings. The cupped shape of their ears helps to catch and amplify sound waves, and they can also move their ears back and forth to determine the direction of a sound. Together, all of these features help the Eastern Cottontail to escape predators, as they are prey to a long list of species.

This entry was posted in Friends of Murphys Point, Murphys Point, Murphys Point Provincial Park, Species of the Week. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s