Desert Cottontail Rabbit

Sylvilagus audubonii

Scientific Name

Desert Cottontail Rabbit:  
Sylvilagus audubonii

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

Desert Cottontails are found throughout much of southwestern North America, from Montana down to central Mexico and west to the Pacific coast.

Natural Habitat

Desert Cottontails inhabit arid regions, including woodlands and grasslands.

Physical Characteristics

  • Desert Cottontails are a medium-sized rabbit, weighing only a couple of ounces, with females being larger than males. They have relatively long ears and all have bushy white “cotton” tails. Their coloring ranges from buff-brown and black on top (dorsal) and white below (ventral). Like all rabbits, they are quick on their feet.

Quick Facts

  1. Desert Cottontails can run 15 miles per hour.

  2. Unlike other cottontails, they have been known to climb sloping trees and thick brambles.

  3. Desert Cottontail females are larger than the males and are sexually mature by 3 months of age!



Conservation Status

Least Concern: The Desert Cottontail Rabbit is common or abundant and is likely to survive in the wild.

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Desert Cottontails eat grass and some fruits, nuts and vegetables when available. In human care they receive carrots, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and free choice Timothy hay.