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An Overview Of the Relationship Between Cottontails and Domestic Bunnies and Rabbits

By Tom Seest

Can Domestic Rabbits Breed with Cottontails?

The first question you need to ask yourself before getting a Cottontail is whether it can breed with your domestic rabbits. The answer to that is probably no. Cottontails are not genetically compatible and are not friendly with domestic rabbits. The second question is based on whether the animals can live together.

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Are Cottontails Friendly With Domestic Rabbits?

Cottontail rabbits aren’t friendly with domestic rabbits for two main reasons. First, they’re very different species, which means they’re unable to communicate or understand each other. They are also not very social and are fearful. Also, they can be very difficult to catch.
Cottontails are most likely to live in the woods, where they forage for food. They also enjoy the garden fare. During the day, they prefer to hide under shrubbery. During the night, Cottontails are active and will hunt for food and insects. They can run up to 18 miles per hour!
Cottontails breed almost year-round. They give birth to several litters a year, and their litters average five babies. Their mothers dig a shallow hole and line the nest with plant material and their own fur. The females usually visit their babies once or twice per day, during the early morning or evening hours. After the first few weeks, they leave the nest to protect their young from predators. Cottontail babies nurse for a few weeks. This is far shorter than the two months needed by domestic rabbit babies.
Domesticated rabbits are much different from their wild counterparts. They’re generally smaller, weighing between two and ten pounds. They also have different coats. Some have long hair and softer fur, while others are more utilitarian.

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Are Cottontails Genetically Compatible With Domestic Rabbits?

The recent discovery of an increased number of genetically similar Cottontails and domestic rabbits has created a controversy. Whether Cottontails are genetically compatible with domestic rabbits has been disputed by biologists and geneticists alike. While Cottontails are genetically incompatible with domestic rabbits, they do share some characteristics with domestic rabbits.
New Hampshire researchers studied the reintroduction of Cottontails in New England. They analyzed genetic material from fecal pellets and the parentage of wild-born offspring. They also studied the reintroduced cottontails using radiotelemetry.
Cottontails and domestic rabbits do not interbreed because they are not genetically compatible. Domestic rabbits are more social than their wild cousins and cannot survive in a wild environment. While domestic rabbits are social, Cottontails prefer solitary living and are not genetically compatible with domestic rabbits.
Despite their good hearing and vision, Cottontails are not genetically compatible with domestic cats. They are capable of raising baby Cottontails. Unlike domestic rabbits, Cottontails can be raised by humans. During the transition period, they become more curious and don’t want to hide from humans.

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Do Cottontail Rabbits Breed All Year?

Eastern Cottontail rabbits are prolific breeders, producing as many as eight or more kits a year. They can reach a gestation period of 30 days, and typically give birth to four to five kits per litter. While breeding activity can take place throughout the year, most litters take place between March and August. They are more likely to give birth in dense vegetation or tall grasses.
Domestic rabbits can breed with cottontails nearly all year, but they may not be ready to breed for two months. Cottontails are typically nocturnal, giving birth mainly at night. A typical litter will have five to six young, each of which will nurse from their mother for the first two weeks. Young cottontails mature much faster than domestic rabbits and reach sexual maturity at two or three months.
Eastern Cottontails are crepuscular, meaning they spend most of the day hidden, only occasionally popping out to eat. Despite having few sweat glands, they manage to keep themselves cool by expanding the blood vessels in their ears and panting. They also cool themselves by lying on cool soil.

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How Long do Cottontails and Domestic Rabbits Live?

Domestic rabbits are compatible with Cottontails and can breed with them for up to three years. Cottontails are prolific breeders. They can produce litters of two to nine young. The gestation period is 28 days. Female Cottontails can have up to four litters a year. The young stay in the nest for two weeks before venturing out.
Cottontail rabbits reach sexual maturity at one year old. They can have a litter three to four times a year. Depending on the environment, the litter size can range from three to eight babies. The young are born helpless and dependent on their mothers until they are two weeks old, at which time they can start foraging for food.
The Eastern Cottontail rabbit is found in most of the Eastern United States and southern Mexico. They are common in suburban and urban areas. The species’ populations are at their highest in areas with abundant food and cover. Dry upland areas are prime habitats for Cottontails, although they are also capable of adapting to other habitats. The breeding season lasts from January to August, with most births taking place between March and August.
Cottontails are extremely adaptable to life on the streets, and they can survive for 1-3 years in the wild. They will breed with domestic rabbits for up to three years if you provide them with proper nutrition. The diets of Cottontails are similar to those of domestic rabbits, which are used to eating timothy hay and rabbit food. In some areas, Cottontails may be difficult to find without help, so you should provide a nutritious diet for them.

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Do Cottontails Breed In Captivity?

While the breeding season for Cottontails is nearly year-round, young rabbits are born in March and September after a 26 to 30-day gestation period. Female rabbits can have three to four litters of four to seven young in a single year. There are two species of cottontails in Florida: the Eastern Cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus) and the Marsh Cottontail (Sylvilagua palustris).
Whether or not Cottontails can breed year-round in captivity is a matter of choice and preparation. The mother cottontail excavates a shallow depression in the ground and lines it with plant material and her own fur. The mother then visits the nest one or two times a day. After two to three weeks, she leaves to protect her babies from predators. The babies nurse for two to three weeks. They become independent by the time they are four or five weeks old.
Eastern Cottontails eat a variety of plants and vegetables, as well as fruits, twigs, and bark. They also eat fecal pellets.

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Are Cottontails Good Breeders?

Although domestic rabbits and Cottontails are prolific breeder pets, it is important to keep them out of harm’s way. The habitats of cottontails and rabbits are quite different. Eastern Cottontails are mainly found in meadows and open fields, while New England Cottontails thrive in dense, tangled forests. During the early spring, the rabbits begin mating and the mating season lasts until the end of September. Young Cottontails begin mating as early as February and can continue mating through September. During this period, dominant males drive off competing bucks. You may also see scattered bits of fur, which are often mistaken for predator kills.
While domestic rabbits and Cottontails are prolific breeder pets, they are still not as common as they used to be. Approximately 44 percent of Cottontail rabbits die within the first month, and only about 20 to 25 percent survive for more than a year. Therefore, if you want to raise a rabbit, you’ll need to invest in quality habitats for both rabbits and Cottontails.
Cottontail rabbits are prolific breeders, particularly in Texas and North America. Female Cottontails typically begin breeding after two months of age and can produce three to four litters in a single year. They are capable of having as many as seven litters. The Cottontail rabbit gets its name from its fluffy white tail.

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Are Cottontails Friendly With Domestic Rabbits?

Cottontail rabbits are not friendly to domestic rabbits, despite their similar appearance. These rabbits are fierce hunters and are not at all tame. They have powerful feet and kicking ability, and can actually cause real damage. They are also fearful and rarely relaxed, so they are always on the defensive and with flight senses on high alert.
Domesticated rabbits have solid colors and distinct fur patterns, while their wild counterparts are speckled brownish-red across the top half of their bodies. They are also faster than domestic rabbits, reaching speeds of 70 km/h. Cottontails are more solitary than domestic ones, and they do not interact with each other.
You can help your wild rabbit get along better by giving it some space. You can set up a cage outside with a door open and leave food and water for it. You can also place the cage under a bush. Cottontail rabbits prefer the shade of trees and other vegetation.
Cottontails are common throughout the United States. They can be found in most counties, but are more common in mountainous areas. They are also found in central and northern South America. The species can often be seen in backyards.

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