Desert Cottontail

Cottontail rabbits are named for their tails, which look like a cotton ball.  They are light colored, usually tan or gray and they have a whitish underbody.  You can often see them scampering across Idaho roads at night or in the early morning hours, the coolest times of the day.  You can usually spot their white tails first. When scared, a cottontail can run up to twenty miles per hour in a zigzag pattern to escape predators. 

Desert Cottontail
A young desert cottontail

 
Habitat: Cottontails especially like to live in grassland and shrubland areas, as well as in riparian areas (on the banks of a natural watercourse, such as creeks, rivers, lakes, etc.) and in pinyon-juniper forests. BLM-managed lands feature many of these habitats.

Food:  
They are herbivores, meaning that they eat only plants. Cottontails love grasses, flowering plants, shrubs, and will even eat cacti. Because they are often desert-dwelling creatures, they get most of their water from the plants they eat or from dew that forms on plants. These cute little creatures are coprophagic, meaning that they eat their own feces. They do this because the main source of their diet is grass, and grass is difficult to digest. So, after eating, they eat the first round of their pellets because they contain a lot of nutrients.      

Fun Facts: These little rabbits’ tails function as an alarm signal to other rabbits. When one of them raises its tail, the large white patch of cottony fur is exposed, which sends the signal to other rabbits that there is danger nearby.   

desert cottontail
Desert cottontail


Wildlife 

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Herbivore Mammals

Jackrabbit 
Pygmy rabbit 
Desert cottontail 
Beaver 
Eastern gray squirrel 
Red squirrel 
Chipmunk 
Deer mouse
Kangaroo rat 
Meadow vole 
Mule deer 
Elk 
Bighorn sheep 
American pronghorn 
Moose  


Carnivore Mammals

Bobcat 
American badger 
River otter 
Red fox 
Long-tailed weasel 
Coyote 
Grizzly bear 
Mountain lion   


Amphibians

 Salamanders 

  Long-toed salamander 
  Idaho giant salamander  
  Coeur d'Alene salamander

 Frogs and Toads  

  American bullfrog 
  Columbia spotted frog 
  Western toad 
  Northern leopard frog 
  Pacific tree frog 
  Great Basin spadefoot 

Reptiles 

Snakes

Painted turtle 
Northern alligator lizard 
Mohave black-collared lizard 
Short-horned lizard 
Desert horned lizard 
Sagebrush lizard 
Western fence lizard 
Western skink 
Side-blotched lizard 
Longnosed leopard lizard 
Western whiptail 

 

Bats 

Western pipistrelle 
Western small-footed myotis 
Little brown bat 
Yuma myotis 
Townsend's big-eared bat 
Hoary bat 
Silver-haired bat 
Fringed myotis 
Pallid bat

Sensitive Species (not a complete list) 

Greater sage-grouse 
Pygmy rabbit 
No. Idaho ground squirrel 
So. Idaho ground squirrel
Canada lynx 
Grizzly bear 
Selkirk Mtns. woodland caribou 
Kootenai White River sturgeon 
Bull trout 
Sockeye salmon 
Chinook salmon 
Steelhead trout 
Yellow-billed cuckoo


Birds

     Waterfowl 
     Raptors
     Songbirds

Fish