Cottontail rabbit

genus of mammals

Cottontail rabbits live in America. They are any of several North, Central and South American rabbit species of the genus Sylvilagus.[2][3]

Cottontail rabbits[1]
Eastern cottontail (Sylvilagus floridanus). Cottontail Rabbits eat grass, ferns, and leaves.
Scientific classification

Gray, 1867

16, see text



Most cottontail rabbits of the genus have a short tail with a white underside that shows when they are running away.[4] This gives them their name, "cottontails." However, this feature is not present in all cottontails. Some can be different.

The cottontail rabbit lives most across North America, Central America, and South America. Most species live in nests called forms.

Cottontail rabbits do not get the disease myxomatosis as easily as European rabbits.[5]


The visible cottontail of a desert rabbit
  • Genus Sylvilagus
    • Subgenus Tapeti
      • Swamp Rabbit, Sylvilagus aquaticus
      • Tapeti, Sylvilagus brasiliensis
      • Dice's Cottontail, Sylvilagus dicei
      • Omilteme Cottontail, Sylvilagus insonus
      • Marsh Rabbit, Sylvilagus palustris
        • Lower Keys Marsh Rabbit, Sylvilagus palustris hefneri (named after Hugh Hefner)[6]
        • Upper Keys Marsh Rabbit, Sylvilagus palustris paludicola
        • Marsh Rabbit, Sylvilagus palustris palustris
      • Venezuelan Lowland Rabbit, Sylvilagus varynaensis
    • Subgenus Sylvilagus
      • Desert Cottontail, Sylvilagus audubonii
      • Manzano Mountain Cottontail, Sylvilagus cognatus
      • Mexican Cottontail, Sylvilagus cunicularius
        • Sylvilagus cunicularius cunicularius
        • Sylvilagus cunicularius insolitus
        • Sylvilagus cunicularius pacificus
      • Eastern Cottontail, Sylvilagus floridanus
        • Sylvilagus floridanus alacer
        • Sylvilagus floridanus ammophilus
        • Sylvilagus floridanus avius
        • Sylvilagus floridanus aztecus
        • Sylvilagus floridanus chapmani
        • Sylvilagus floridanus chiapensis
        • Sylvilagus floridanus cognatus
        • Sylvilagus floridanus connectens
        • Sylvilagus floridanus continentis
        • Sylvilagus floridanus costaricensis
        • Sylvilagus floridanus cumanicus
        • Sylvilagus floridanus floridanus
        • Sylvilagus floridanus hesperius
        • Sylvilagus floridanus hitchensi
        • Sylvilagus flordanus holzneri
        • Sylvilagus floridanus hondurensis
        • Sylvilagus floridanus llanensis
        • Sylvilagus floridanus mallurus
        • Sylvilagus floridanus margaritae
        • Sylvilagus floridanus mearnsi
        • Sylvilagus floridanus nelsoni
        • Sylvilagus floridanus nigronuchalis
        • Sylvilagus floridanus orinoci
        • Sylvilagus floridanus orizabae
        • Sylvilagus floridanus paulsoni
        • Sylvilagus floridanus purgatus
        • Sylvilagus floridanus restrictus
        • Sylvilagus floridanus russatus
        • Sylvilagus floridanus similis
        • Sylvilagus floridanus subcinctus
        • Sylvilagus floridanus superciliaris
        • Sylvilagus floridanus valenciae
        • Sylvilagus floridanus yucatanicus
      • Tres Marias Rabbit, Sylvilagus graysoni
        • Sylvilagus graysoni graysoni
        • Sylvilagus graysoni badistes
      • Mountain Cottontail, Sylvilagus nuttallii
        • Sylvilagus nuttallii nuttallii
        • Sylvilagus nuttallii pinetis
        • Sylvilagus nuttallii grangeri
      • Appalachian Cottontail or rarely Allegheny Cottontail, Sylvilagus obscurus
      • Robust Cottontail, Sylvilagus robustus
      • New England Cottontail, Sylvilagus transitionalis
    • Subgenus Microlagus
      • Brush Rabbit, Sylvilagus bachmani
        • Sylvilagus bachmani bachmani
        • Sylvilagus bachmani cinerascens
        • Sylvilagus bachmani peninsularis
        • Sylvilagus bachmani cerrosensis
        • Sylvilagus bachmani ubericolor
        • Sylvilagus bachmani exiguus
        • Sylvilagus bachmani mariposae
        • Sylvilagus bachmani virgulti
        • Sylvilagus bachmani howelli
        • Sylvilagus bachmani macrorhinus
        • Sylvilagus bachmani riparius
        • Sylvilagus bachmani tehamae
        • Sylvilagus bachmani rosaphagus
      • San Jose Brush Rabbit, Sylvilagus mansuetus


  1. Hoffmann, Robert S.; Smith, Andrew T. (2005). Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 207–211. ISBN 0-801-88221-4.
  2. "cottontail (mammal genus) -- Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 3 May 2010.
  3. "Eastern Cottontail Rabbit | National Geographic". Animals. 2011-05-10. Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  4. "Basic Information Sheet: Cottontail Rabbit". LafeberVet. 2014-09-28. Retrieved 2021-03-20.
  5. Carter, G.Rr; Wise, D.J. (2006). "Poxviridae". A Concise Review of Veterinary Virology. Archived from the original on 2005-06-26. Retrieved 2006-06-13.
  6. 'Hefner' bunnies get help as population dwindles, May 20 2007,, Retrieved May 20 2007