U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service



Scott R. Craven, Extension Wildlife Specialist, Department of Wildlife Ecology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Madison, Wisconsin 53706

Document Type Article


Rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) usually can be accepted as interesting additions to the backyard or rural landscape if control techniques are applied correctly. Under some unusual circumstances, control of damage may be difficult. There are 13 species of cottontail rabbits (genus Sylvilagus), nine of which are found in various sections of North America north of Mexico. The eastern cottontail’s range includes the entire United States east of the Rocky Mountains and introductions further west. Cottontails do not distribute themselves evenly across the landscape. Rabbits live only 12 to 15 months, and probably only one rabbit in 100 lives to see its third fall, yet they make the most of the time available to them. The appetite of a rabbit can cause problems every season of the year. In most states, rabbits are classified as game animals and are protected as such at all times except during the legal hunting season.