Cottontail Rabbit Education

November 22, 2014

     The Cottontail Rabbit is ubiquitous; from the Latin ubiquitarius, meaning to be present everywhere.  Which may or may not be true, depending upon where you live in America you may have a little Cottontail Rabbit in your yard or park.  We of course have them in the Wind River Canyon, here in Wyoming; but it's not always easy to spot them, even when you show someone a bunny, and they still don't see him.  And there's a very good reason that this very successful species is not so easy to see; they are the fast food of predators throughout North America, and they are trying not to be seen.  

     Every animal that lives in the Wind River Canyon, that's a meat-eater, really loves a good Cottontail Rabbit; and they're very low in cholesterol.  Rabbit is a food source in much of the western world, except for here in our country.  But you can blame our distaste for rabbit on our love of Bugs Bunny; even the great Chef Julia Child didn't quite understand the Americans not wanting to eat that "poor little bunny."  But Bugs is so could you eat him?

    Here are a few numbers to ponder, as I did recently; Cottontail Rabbits can breed 3 or 4 times a year! and have between 3 and 8 bunnies per litter; Cottontails mature very quickly, and are ready to be on their own by 4 or 5 weeks and are sexually mature in three months!  That means in three years I'm going to have....a hell of a lot of rabbits!  Yet, we never have more than a few bunnies around this creek----where do they all go?  

     I just read data that shows only 15% of Cottontail Rabbits survive the first year; so now you know where all the rabbits have gone; around the canyon they are the fodder for Golden Eagles, Ermine, Mountain Lions (we've seen tracks close to our cabin), Hawks and Owls of all kinds, and snakes that are huge and mean and yucky.  I suspect around this part of the Wind River Canyon they are taken by the large snakes I cannot stand, and things I cannot see late on the dark nights here in deepest Wyoming. 

    When I was a child, growing up in the 'burbs of Cleveland, I had rabbit German-style with sour cream, and I remember it as being pretty good.  But I still can't figure where all the rabbits disappear to around here, cause I'm not eating them.  I do hear that in one of Paris' famously expensive cafes there's a Rabbit pizza on the menu; probably not for us Bugs Bunny loving Americans........... Cottontail Rabbit @ 20 Below Zero-Wind River Canyon, WyomingTwenty Below Zero! in the Wind River Canyon, Wyoming and a Cottontail Rabbit hides in the snow.

    This photograph of a Cottontail Rabbit was taken @ 20 below zero, with cold fingers early in the morning here in the Wind River Canyon, just as the Sun broke the eastern rim....which happens at 11:30 in the winter!  Our Winter Sunlight only lasts till 3:15......come on Spring!

     The first Bald Eagle of Winter flew over our place the other day, now the fun begins again; they are magnificent and deserve to be our nations symbol, and it's a real privilege to be able to try and photograph these truly wild fisherman of the Wind River Canyon.

Photography, Digital Darkroom, and Writing by Michael John Balog ~ Thank You for reading my blog.....and Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  And until next week, "Keep your camera ready."







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