Wednesday, November 28, 2007

What Do Rabbits Do In Winter?

The cottontail rabbit is a familiar wild animal that can be found living alongside people almost everywhere, in the city or the countryside. In the summer these rabbits find food easily - nibbling on clover, green grass and other green plants, even raiding the neighbor's garden to eat the plants there!

Rabbits are most active at dawn and dusk. This is the best time to see them. They spend the remainder of the day resting in hollows or shallow nests in the ground called forms. In summer these nests are made in tall grass or brush. You might find a rabbit nesting in an unmowed lawn, meadow or under a bush. In the winter, the rabbit will seek out a place with protection from snow or wind. Overhead cover such as a bush protects the rabbit from birds of prey. Rabbits frequently use woodchuck, skunk or badger burrows during winter months and sunbathe in any nearby sunny spots.

During times in the winter with little snow rabbits eat grasses and other plants they can find. The bark of young trees and shrubs is eaten when snow covers other plant foods. You might want to help out the rabbits in your neighborhood by scattering apple peels, carrot tops or lettuce leaves on the snow in your yard.

You can sometimes tell that a rabbit lives nearby if you see small shrubs or tree seedlings nipped off just above the snow. You may see piles of their round, dark colored droppings. It's easy to identify a rabbit's tracks or footprints. When hopping, the hind feet land first with the front foot prints appearing inside the back feet's prints. Like this:

Click Here for a rabbit coloring page that you could also use for painting or as the beginning of a rabbit collage.