And while we're happy that the Eastern is doing well, make no mistake: our only native rabbit - the New England Cottontail - is not. The New England cottontail is the region’s only native rabbit. Mexico (Chapman and Litvaitis 2003). In New England, we have two species of cottontail. Eastern Cottontail. The New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis), also called the gray rabbit, brush rabbit, wood hare, wood rabbit, or cooney, is a species of cottontail rabbit represented by fragmented populations in areas of New England, specifically from southern Maine to southern New York. New Hampshire Wildlife Action Plan Appendix A Mammals-117 General Strategy: Currently there are no known sympatric populations of the eastern cottontail and NEC in NH. In 2017, the first Eastern cottontails showed up in Maine, on Badgers Island in Kittery, indicating the species is nosing its way across the border, i.e. The New England cottontail has wavy nasal sutures and small non-fused supraorbital process. The Eastern Cottontail is not native and was introduced to the region in the early 1900s, primarily for hunting purposes. Other species, like the eastern cottontail, live in a wide variety of habitats. The eastern cottontail has speckled brown-gray fur above, reddish-brown fur around its neck and shoulders and lighter fur around its nose and on its undersides. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northeast Region) Show More Show Less 2 of 8 An eastern cottontail is processed Putnam County. The Eastern cottontail thrives in a wider variety of habitats than the New England cottontail, which depends on shrinking patches of young forestland and thickets for protection from predators. - NatureWorks There are several characteristics and methods we use to determine what species of rabbit we see: An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide – maryholland505@gmail.com 2. New England cottontails need large patches of dense thicket habitat, often a minimum of 10 to 20 acres in size. Biologists from the New England Cottontail Captive Breeding Working Group (NECCBWG) have teamed up to restore populations by breeding these rabbits in captivity and releasing them in their natural habitat. Some commonly occupied ecosystems include prairies, grassy clearings, farmland, marshes, and lightly wooded forests. Photo: James "Jim" Marshall The only native cottontail east of the Hudson River in New York is the New England cottontail. Eastern cottontails have larger eyes than New England cottontails, which helps them detect predators more easily. However, the species range has contracted by more than 80 percent since 1960. However, its range has been greatly reduced in the state due to habitat loss and competition with the more abundant Eastern cottontail. Images immediately surrounding this one show a more clearly defined cottontail. New York: Implications for Habitat Restoration Principal Investigators: Jonathan Cohen, Chris Whipps, Sadie Ryan Graduate Students: Amanda Cheeseman, Ph.D. Emily Gavard, M.S. Over several decades, New England cottontail populations dwindled as these habitats were cleared for development or matured into older and taller woods, reducing ground-level shelter and food for rabbits. Subspecies There are no recognized subspecies of the New England Cottontail. The New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) is a narrow niche specialist that relies on the dense understory vegetation of early successional or shrubland habitats [].These ephemeral habitats have declined steeply in recent decades in the Northeastern United States [2,3,4].As a result, many shrubland species, including the New England cottontail, face severe population declines []. The eastern cottontail is not native to New England The rare New England cottontail, a threatened species of native rabbit once abundant throughout the New England region, is getting much needed help. New England Cottontail. New England's only native rabbit, the New England cottontail, faced significant habitat loss over half a century. Amanda Cheeseman, left, studies cottontail rabbits in New York's Lower Hudson Valley. The New England cottontail relies on young forests and shrublands for its survival, while the eastern cottontail has adapted to a wider variety of habitats. 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