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Animal-Tracks-2004

Animal-Tracks-2004

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Published by: MoreMoseySpeed on Feb 03, 2012
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12/26/2014

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Sylvilagus bachmani

Brush Rabbit Tracks

Natural History of Brush Rabbits

Brush rabbits are cottontails, rabbits with
white cottony tails. They are found in
brushy areas. They are active dusk and
dawn, but are primarily nocturnal.
Sometimes, the young are active in the
daytime.

Brush rabbits don't venture too far from cover.

Brush rabbits do not dig burrows like
European rabbits do. When escaping
from predators, they will retreat into
dense brush. They hide by day in brush
piles and grassy depressions, resting in
forms of their own construction.

Brush rabbits are small, weighing only
two to four pounds. Like all rabbits, they
are prolific. They can have five litters of
up to seven young per year. The young
are born with their eyes closed and lack
fur. The mother hides them in a nest,
which she covers with a blanket of grass
before she leaves to feed. The babies are
mature in four or five months.

They eat woody vegetation in the winter,
including bark, twigs, buds, Douglas fir,
and salal. During the summer, the diet is
more varied. They eat grasses, berries,
plantain, clover, and other plants. Scat is
a round pellet, ¼ to 1/3 inch in diameter.

Common predators include foxes,
coyotes, gopher snakes, and bobcats.

Tracks are often indistinct due to the hair
on the bottom of the feet. Tracks are in
groups of four prints, with the cluster
usually measuring six to nine inches
long.

This brush rabbit froze at my approach, another
survival strategy. Movement will attract predators.

Brush rabbit tracks in sand, Humboldt Redwoods State Park, California. The tracks are indistinct
due to the dry sand and the hair on the bottom of the feet. Trail pattern and size of tracks were
clues used to identify these prints.

Front foot of a brush rabbit.
Hair cover makes tracks indistinct.

Hind foot of a brush rabbit.
There are four toes on each foot,
but they are hard to distinguish.

Personal Notes on Brush Rabbits

One of the areas where I frequently visit and track has brush rabbits. I've noticed
that their populations fluctuate. One year there will be many brush rabbit tracks,
and the next year or two there may be few or none. The tracks never seem to be
far from the underbrush and easy cover. They will venture no farther than that
because they need to be able to quickly run back into the protective brush if a fox
happens by. Perhaps the high numbers of foxes at this location can be attributed
to the numbers of rabbits.

Got a rabbit story? E-mail me and tell me about it.

tracker777@hotmail.com

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Copyright © 1997-2003. Text, drawings, and photos by Kim A. Cabrera

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Copyright © 1997-2003. Kim A. Cabrera - Desert Moon Design

Page updated: Saturday, November 23, 2002.

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