Invasive Animal

Eastern cottontail rabbit

Sylvilagus floridanus

About This Species

Eastern cottontail rabbits are native to Eastern and Central North America from the Great Lakes down to Central America and Northern South America. They were introduced to the Sooke in 1964 and have since spread throughout Eastern Vancouver Island from Victoria to Campbell River.

Eastern cottontails live up to 15 month. They reproduce rapidly, capable of 3-4 litters during their lives, with up to 8 offspring per litter.

Eastern cottontails eat a range of vegetation, including young trees. They are considered a serious threat to sensitive Garry Oak habitats on Vancouver Island and are also known to feed on several at-risk plant species such as Golden paintbrush, Yellow montane violet, and White-top aster.

How to Identify

Eastern cottontail rabbits have grey-brown fur with rusty-red patches between the ears and shoulders. Their tails are brown on top and white underneath. Adult rabbits are typically 44 cm long.

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Take Action

Prevention is the best approach.

prevention tips

European cottontail rabbits often use the invasive shrubs Scotch broom (Cystius scoparisu) and English hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna) as shelter. Removing these plants from your property will make it less appealing to these rabbits.

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