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.
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.