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Fast Fact: Cottontail Rabbits

Updated: Mar 2, 2022

Cottontail rabbits look like they have cotton balls for tails, which is exactly how they got their name. The eastern cottontail rabbit is one of only two rabbit species that lives in Illinois. The other is the swamp rabbit, but it lives only in the southern portion of the state.

Female cottontails can have several litters of babies each year, and it’s not uncommon to stumble on a nest of baby rabbits. Don’t worry. The mother did not abandon her babies; she will be back.

To help keep the babies safe from predators, female cottontails visit their nests only twice a day to feed them, usually in the morning and the evening. The babies are old enough to leave the nest when they are about three weeks old.

(Photo via Shutterstock)


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