Western Brush Rabbit
- A cottontail rabbit, smaller than most other species of cottontails.
- Back and side fur is light brown to gray in coloration, underside usually white.
- Tail is white on top, underside is gray; smaller tail than desert cottontail’s.
- Short, wide, dark ears, used for species identification.
- From Columbia River in Oregon to southern tip of Baja California, Mexico.
- From the coast to the eastern parts of the Sierra Nevada and the Cascade mountain ranges.
- Lives in dense, brushy cover and chaparral so it can hide.
- Lives in oak and conifer forests, grasslands, and brush.
- In California, breeding season is from December until June.
- They do not form pair bonds.
- Soon after giving birth, many females breed again, often having 3-4 litters a year.
- Pregnancy lasts 27 days, and litters are usually 2-4 young.
- The young bunnies are born blind, and open their eyes on the 10th day. They are dependent on their mother, who comes to the nest to feed them at night.
- The young are weaned and leave the nest on the 14th day.
- Young bunnies are mature at 4-5 months and can mate the next breeding season.
- Grasses, leaves, forbs, blackberries, wild rose.
- Their favorite food is green clover.
- They eat their cecotropes (nutrient-rich droppings) to get proteins, minerals, and vitamins essential for their heath.
- Bobcats, coyotes, gray foxes, weasels, raptors, snakes.
- Their top speed is 25 miles per hour! They often run in zig zags at top speed to escape predators.
- They almost never come out of hiding before sunset, though they are sometimes seen basking in the sun on a warm afternoon.
- They are solitary animals, living in their own home ranges. They do not dig their own burrows, but use the burrows of other animals.
Sources: Animalia; Ojai Valley and Conservancy; Monterey Mammals
Photo: Marlin Harms