Happy Easter, if that’s something you celebrate.
Wishing everyone a Happy Easter or a happy weekend!
If you do see an Easter Bunny this weekend, he will probably be one of these guys. Sylvilagus floridanus (eastern cottontail) on the University of Michigan Animal Diversity Web explains (in part) that:
Eastern cottontails are solitary animals, and they tend to be intolerant of each other. Their home range is dependent on terrain and food supply. It is usually between 5 and 8 acres, increasing during the breeding season. Males generally have a larger home range than females. The eastern cottontail has keen senses of sight, smell and hearing. It is crepuscular (active at dawn & dusk) and nocturnal, and is active all winter. During daylight hours, the eastern cottontail remains crouched in a hollow under a log or in a thicket or brushpile. Here it naps and grooms itself. The cottontail sometimes checks the surroundings by standing on its hind legs with its forepaws tucked next to its chest.
Escape methods of the eastern cottontail include freezing and/or “flushing” (Chapman et al., 1980). Flushing consists of escaping to cover by a rapid and zig-zag series of bounds. The cottontail is a quick runner and can reach speeds up to 18 miles per hour. Vocalizations of the eastern cottontail include distress cries (to startle an enemy and warn others of danger), squeals (during copulation) and grunts (if predators approach a nesting doe and her litter). Eastern cottontails are short-lived; most do not survive beyond their third year. Enemies include hawks, owls, foxes, coyotes, weasels and man.
…The eastern cottontail is a vegetarian, with the majority of its diet made up of complex carbohydrates and cellulose. The digestion of these substances is made possible by caecal fermentation. The cottontail must reingest fecal pellets to reabsorb nutrients from its food after this process. Their diet varies between seasons due to availability. In the summer, green plants are favored. About 50% of the cottontail’s intake is grasses, including bluegrass and wild rye. Other summer favorites are wild strawberry, clover and garden vegetables. In the winter, the cottontail subsists on woody plant parts, including the twigs, bark and buds of oak, dogwood, sumac, maple and birch.
Click through to ADW for more (including pictures). Also see the Michigan DNR page on Eastern Cottontail and the BioKids cottontail page at UM, which appears to have exactly the same information as ADW, proving that I am not smarter than a 4th grader.
John started adding pics to the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr about a month ago. He has some really great animal shots – so good in fact that I wonder if he has some Doolittle blood! See his photo on black and see more in his Animal Photography slideshow.
More Michigan animals on Michigan in Pictures.