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Mountain Cottontail

Scientific Name:

Sylvilagus nuttallii




Slopes, mountainsides, deserts, and riverbanks that have grasses, willows, and sagebrush


Western United States


Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is


to the Truckee Meadows.


Mountain Cottontails weigh around 2 pounds as an adult, females will generally weigh more than males. The coloration on their upper bodies runs from brown to gray, but the underside (belly) is white. Mountain Cottontail ears are rounded and short. Red to brownish hair covers their legs. Their whiskers match their belly; usually white.

Fast Facts:

  • Mountain Cottontail are generally solitary

  • Mountain Cottontail only molt (lose their fur) once a year

  • Female Mountain Cottontail can have up to four litters per year with a gestational period (pregnancy) of about a month

  • Most litters of a Cottontail have anywhere from 3 to 8 young rabbits

  • Young Mountain Cottontail rabbits are weaned around 30 days

  • When a predator scares a Mountain Cottontail, the rabbit will quickly hop away to find a “safe” place to hide, where it will stop and keep its ears raised in order to try and make sure the predator doesn't follow. If followed, they try to trick the predator by running in a semicircular path

  • Mountain Cottontail will eat and do the majority of their activity at night

  • Mountain Cottontail mainly eat grasses, but the environment will determine if the rabbit has to eat other food types like sagebrush or juniper/juniper berries

  • Mountain Cottontail predators include hawks, eagles, owls, rattlesnakes, coyotes, and big cats like mountain lions and bobcats



Pamela Del Porto (research & content)

Rachel Carroll (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

March 27, 2024 at 1:48:22 AM

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