Why The White Butt?
The cottontail rabbits are among the 16 lagomorph species in the genus Sylvilagus, found in the Americas.
Cottontails have very keen sight and hearing. When danger is sensed, the animal will usually freeze in place until the danger has passed, but they will flush readily if approached too closely. Rabbits normally move slowly in short hops or jumps, but when frightened they can achieve speeds up to 18 miles per hour over a short distance. They often zig-zag to confuse a pursuing predator. Although they do not take to the water often, rabbits are good swimmers. They will thump the ground with their hind feet regularly, probably as a means of communication. When playing, breeding, or fighting they often make low purring, growling, or grunting sounds. If captured by a predator, the animal may produce a loud, shrill scream.
In appearance most cottontail rabbits closely resemble the wild European Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). Most members of the genus have a stub tail with a white underside that shows when they are retreating, giving them their name "cottontails."
Cottontails can breed at eighty days old, then mate again soon after giving birth. Adults live to about two years old.
Females give birth in shallow ground nests, to young so helpless that perhaps only 15 percent survive their first year. Fortunately, rabbits breed three or four times every year and produce three to eight young each time. Young rabbits mature quickly and are self-sufficient after only four or five weeks. They are sexually mature after only two or three months, so populations are able to grow with staggering speed.